Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Breakup - Part 5

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

After writing Part 4 of this story, I went back in my old files and pulled out the tests from my first dressage schooling show. I was surprised to see that I had actually performed Training Level tests 3 and 4. Now it seems overly brave of me to have tried tests 3 and 4 instead of 1 and 2 at my first show. But that's exactly what I had done.

Sadly, I didn't write down my placing in the class, so I have no idea if I went home with a ribbon or not. What I will tell you is the judge was a very well respected judge in our area. She was, however, notoriously generous with her scoring, especially at schooling shows.

On Training Level test 3 we scored a 63.85%. We got all 6's and 7's, with the exception of the stretchy trot circle where we got a 4. Her comments were mostly more bend needed in most of the movements, with no change seen in the stretchy circle. Test 4 was a 63.20%, with one 4 (damn that stretchy trot circle!), one 5, the rest 6's and 7's. On this one she wanted more bend again, and at the bottom commented "Errors speak for themselves. Very obedient."

I was thrilled. I had been told that anything over 60% was great. Basically the scoring for dressage is as follows - each movement in the test gets an individual score from 0 to 10. The numbers are totaled and then divided by the total number possible to get the %. The scoring is listed below -

0 - not performed
1 - very bad
2 - bad
3 - fairly bad
4 - insufficient
5 - sufficient
6 - satisfactory
7 - fairly good
8 - good
9 - very good
10 - excellent

Although 0's are not common, you will occasionally see them one tests. 10's however, are extremely rare. Kaswyn has never gotten a 10, but I think he has gotten one 9. He's has many 8's, lots of 5's, 6's and 7's, some fours, and even some 3's, 2's, and 0's.

With the first show behind us, I decided to join the local dressage club and keep showing in the schooling shows. Our scores ranged from 52% to 60%, and it was always a learning experience. It seemed like Kaswyn was really enjoying it too. He loved getting in the trailer to go someplace, and always seemed excited when we got wherever we were going. He was always happy to work and never got sour or crabby. We were having a blast.

Then it was time for our first USDF recognized show. Again Paula thought it was too soon, and that we needed more training. I didn't agree, since we were only doing Training Level. That's what it was for, right? Training? Also, I had checked the Arabian Horse Association rules for Regional dressage qualifications and found out what I had to do to qualify for Regionals at an open show. I think at that time I needed two scores of 57% or better from two different judges at two different shows. Regionals were at the end of June, and luckily there were many open shows in our area in the spring and early summer, so I thought I could do it. Because what I really wanted to do was show my horse in dressage at Arabian Regionals. We had shown at Regionals for Hunter Pleasure, and we didn't make Top 5, although we did make one judge's card. Not bad for a home trained 5 year old horse ridden by an amateur nobody. However I really wanted that Top 5, and I thought dressage might be the discipline where we could pull that off.

So I entered our first Open show. I know Paula was more nervous than I was. On the contrary, I was excited. I felt that we had been making real progress. My plan was to go to two shows and get our qualifications over with. Big hopes, yes, but I had faith in Kaswyn that he had it in him to get those scores. Paula cautioned me that the judges at schooling shows tended to be much more generous with their scores so as to not discourage the riders, so I shouldn't expect as high of scores at the open show. With that in mind, we headed to our first open show.

To be continued...

Part 6


Anonymous said...

I think a low 60's is pretty darn respectable- even at a schooling show. When I was a kid I showed Hunters. When I switched to dressage/eventing I'm quite positive that I spent many many years int he 50's range. I did get the Big E at my first dressage schooling show because no one told me that you couldn't cluck to your horse in the test. Yup- as a typical hunter rider in the 70's I spent plenty of 'ring time' clucking to my horse to get a canter.

I don't think I was consistently in the mid 60's until I got some real dressage lessons in college.

Rising Rainbow said...

OK, OK you're keeping us hanging out there like someone else I know!

I can't wait to hear the next installment.

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr