Last Sunday I got up at 3:50am, to be precise, to drive two hours northwest to Grand Haven Stable for Audi's first show of 2011. This was only his second time at a recognized show and his third time in an actual Dressage arena- I unfortunately don't get to practice in a regulation Dressage arena on a regular basis. When we arrived at the show grounds it was probably 20 degrees cooler than it was back home and with the wind it made for a big change in climate. Since the weather was so brisk I decided that I would have to allow even more time for a proper warm up or 'simmer down.' Audi had some tension and showed off a few of his superb acrobatic moves in the warm up but once we got in the ring he felt more at ease. He certainly seemed content to leave all the horses in the warm up ring for the show ring. Our first test was also Audi's first time showing First Level. We got a 69.459% for First Level Test 2 and that meant a qualifying score for the CBLM's and a first place ribbon for the class. With more strength and polish we should be able to pull together an even better performance.
Audi seemed a little bit more relaxed in the warm up arena the second time around. He was still showing off his 'fancy' moves, but this time he felt a bit more confident- his leaping and head twirling kept me sitting up straight that's for sure! He was ready for the show ring about 5 minutes too early and despite some leaps and bucks in the canter departs it was a nice test. The judges comments sum-up the test perfectly (see photo). We got a 71.429% for another first place ribbon and yet another qualifying score for the CBLM's. One of the highlights for me was getting a "9" on the stretchy circle. I didn't like how I rode it in the first test. I knew Audi was capable of showing more reach and made a point of riding the movement differently and it was reflected in the score. We also won a high percentage ribbon for the day so that was icing on the cake!
My primary goal now is to develop better adjustability for the lengthening and shortening and to also develop the strength and straightness he needs to advance in the collected work.