Biasini and I rode our first Intermediare 1 test. It was not as I had imagined it. But more of that later.
I woke up and thought: “Oh my….I’ve got to go out there and do it all again.” It felt like I had a mountain to climb. Then I remembered.
Two days before the show we heard that a friend of my husband’s was back in hospital. He had spent four months in hospital and we had been happy to hear, a couple of weeks ago, that he was able to go home. But it did not last. Now he was back in hospital. They cannot get him stabilized.
I said to myself: “I am so lucky. I am healthy, well, able to get up in the Florida sunshine and ride.” I said a prayer for our friend and sprang out of bed!
THE TEST ON FRIDAY
Recently Biasini has been going very well so I was optimistic. I knew there are always things that can crop up in the arena but I did not plan for what actually happened. Brigadier General Bully Biasini turned up. Cripes! He has not made an appearance in almost a year! This is not about Biasini being nervous or spooky or me being nervous in the ring. The Brigadier Bully likes to take over. He likes to pull, not listen and tell me: “This is how we do the test!” So we had mistakes. I went off course. The full pirouettes were a shambles. The five three tempis ( changes of canter lead every third stride) were good but the two tempis ( change of lead every second stride) were a Heinz 57 of changes.
I had the debrief with my coach Lou after I finished. He told me I had been too polite at the beginning of the test and Brigadier Bully had just filled that vacuum of authority. We went over the test, the good and not so good. I did not get a good score. But the judge did reward the things we did right with good marks and marked down the things that were a mess. Fair enough!
THE TEST ON SATURDAY
Having put my truly blessed life into perspective I arrived at White Fences Equestrian determined to do better. Before tacking up I talked to Lou and we came up with some strategies. First and foremost I had to ride the horse that turned up in the ring and not expect the horse that turns up in training at home.
We did a highly focused and rapid fire warm up. Just after I had executed a line of 8 two tempi changes I saw my coach from home, Belinda Trussell, had arrived. She knew I’d had a tough ride the day before and came to give me moral support.
I rode into the ring and we began the test. The trot work went well. The extended walk was good. Then the canter. We navigated the half pass zig zag . The extended canter. Then the five three tempis. Clean! The two full pirouettes…..good! The seven two tempis…clean! Yes! Transition to trot. Extended trot across the diagonal. He was springing off the ground like a gazelle. Final halt and salute. I gave Biasini a big pat.
This time I did my debrief with Belinda as Lou had another student to coach. “This was redemption!” she said. I agreed.
But dressage is a subjectively judged sport. Sometimes a judge will not like something about a horse and rider combination and the marks will reflect that. We got a poor score. I was disappointed but I have learned that this is dressage. This is how it goes sometimes. I told Biasini in his stall that he had tried hard and judging is what it is.
What matters most is we went in and rode through that Intermediare 1 test and we did it. We did it all.
Onwards ever onwards! Thank you to Lou Denizard and to Belinda Trussell for your support .
Thank you to Kara Riley-King for the photos taken Saturday. It was a hot day and jackets were excused. I will have more photos soon.