The Good: On August 1st, we trailered all the way down to Concord, Massachusetts, to compete at the Bear Spot Farm dressage show. Taking DeJure, we braided up and headed for their gorgeous indoor/warmup. We had a simple warmup, with a small scare of lameness that went away as we went along, then climbed the trail up to the outdoor’s plateau. In the said ring, DJ and I completed our very first Second Level test!!!! We were judged by ‘r’-level judge Merrilyn Griffin, and achieved a score of 67.727%, placing us 3rd.
The Bad: Unfortunately, DJ came out of her stall lame later that night, and we decided to scratch the second day. She seemed pleased with herself, however, that she got to show off at least a little bit of more fancy work; no more of this silly First Level!
The Ugly: On Monday, we trailered Atara down to ride in the Gary Rockwell clinic. We had been given the opportunity to ride for him in December of 2014 (see older post here), but had to cancel due to lameness. So we decided to bring the redhead instead.
I would like to say that it all went very well, that Atara was amazing, that I learned so much in my ride, and that everyone had a fantastic time. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Even though it could have been worse (much worse), I did not feel that t was terribly productive. It was 100 degrees with no wind, high humidity, after a long show and week, and I was on the red rocket (I say with love). We did not have enough time in our warm up, and I think that we focused on the opposite of what I think would have been a better idea. Instead of working on lateral work and canter transitions, I would have preferred to have gotten a warmed up and connected trot, and then went on to work. With Atara, I have found that if you try to work on more complicated exercises before getting an established regularity and relaxation in the walk and trot, it only becomes worse, and once she “leaves the building”, it is near impossible to fix it.
However, over these two short years, I have become very comfortable with the idea that not all experiences have to be good for you to learn a lot. I can take out just as much (and often more) of a “bad” experience than a “good” one. In good experience, everything goes according to plan. It’s when things don’t go according to plan when you can learn to plan and (mentally and physically) prepare for hardships; this is what you carry with you for the long run.