Another month and more competition prep... I think soon will be a time for putting our feet up and chilling out!
The end of July was the first rounds of the Area Festivals and August sees us at the Summer Regionals trying to get that all important National Qualification.
In our quest to practice the advance medium test before the festivals we travelled to a couple of new venues. The heat is not Stanley's favourite but given the excessive summer weather he has actually tried really hard.
At Cherwell he managed to pull off two good tests. Medium 73 we won on a score of 69.26% (God forbid we actually ever make it to 70!). We stepped out of our comfort zone for the Advance Medium and had a go at the festival test. The good bits were super and we nailed those awful pirouettes in both tests - miracles do happen! As the judge said it's a pity our changes are a work in progress (at least they appeared today even if they were late and rather wobbly to start). We finished the fifth and final one on a 6.5 though! – “As it is expensive where marks are concerned”.
Still, we got some good marks including an 8 from a list 1 judge, so I was very pleased with a score of 65% not too far behind some very smart horses!
After couple of lessons we took a long drive down to Windmill Farm for more ‘new venue spook busting’ and another shot at a couple of Advance Mediums.
For the first time I really felt like he kept his power and connection through all the movements, especially in trot. Yes, he still needs to get stronger and sit and take more weight behind for really big marks but... imagine my surprise when I saw the scoreboard after the AM 85 and we broke that 70% barrier! We still haven't managed it at Medium. A list 2 judge and on the whole a sheet full of 7 and 7.5s with just the occasional oops moment!
In the AM 91 test he felt tired by the end but still kept more engagement and was really focussed. Again lots of fabulous marks until the end where again we got the comment… “Shame about the lost marks near the end of the test.” However this time it wasn't due to our interesting changes – they are still interesting but slightly better this time ranging from 4-7! - but more due to the rider on top who had a complete brain fade and ended up freestyling some interesting lines in roughly the right direction! Throwing away precious marks is really frustrating! Still 68.2% meant we left with a big smile on our faces!
No more time for training it was straight on to the Area Festivals and hoping that our changes would come together on the day!
As you can see from the photo someone had an absolute ball! Luckily he saved his party tricks for the prize giving.
I was really pleased with the test. I felt it could have had more forward tendency but the work was smooth and accurate and 4 out of 5 changes were significantly improved! We finished second in the Advance Medium Bronze qualifying for the semi-finals! We are still new at this level and it certainly wasn't mistake free, but it makes the future even more exciting.
What a month we have had! My horse just tries so hard and I am so lucky to have him looking and feeling on top form. Next stop for us is the regionals... let's hope we can forget the changes for Medium level and pull out a good test! We will keep you informed next month!
Hannah & Stanley