Thursday January 31
And we’re off! Departing Silver Drache Farm in Palm City Florida and on the road down to White Fences Equestrian Center. My Florida coach Lou Denizard had three students competing in the first National rated White Fences show of 2019. We arrived and set up the stalls in the tent stabling; bedding, water buckets, hay nets etc. Then each of us had a lesson with Lou. Lou was also competing with a horse so he rode first and then taught the rest of us.
Friday February 1
My ride time was 2:40 pm. Very civilized. I had also arranged to get some help to hand walk Biasini and clean out his stall in the morning. I always have index cards with my arrival time at the show, time for braiding, time for snack, time to sit and compose myself and go over my test in the 6 inch arena of my head! I like to do my own braiding as I find it very relaxing and it is a nice time to spend with Biasini before our test. I always put on a fly sheet and fly mask so he can also relax and not be bothered by flies. Here he is braided and ready to show.
We started our warm up with ten minutes of walking around the grounds of the show. White Fences is a lovely place with three competition arenas and two warm up arenas as well as a large grass area some people use for warm ups.
We did our warm up with Lou speaking to me over an intercom system. All the coaches use these now, gone are the days when there was a cacophony of coaches, at the sides of the warm ups, all shouting directions to their students.
Our test went well. Biasini was a strong “competition” horse but I was able to keep him with me. Lou has told me that I have to show leadership from the first trot steps after the halt . If I do not Biasini will say to himself: “There’s no one in charge up there so I better take over.” I did have some not so good moments in the test; the zig zag was off to a good start and then went off kilter. I also had a mistake in the two’s ( changes of canter lead every second stride.) I was annoyed about that because it was at the last of the seven changes. Frustrating! But it was my error as through the entire sequence I was not keeping him together enough and also using too much leg aid. For the twos I only need light finger aids and he does the changes.
I was very happy with the test and knew I had a few places I could tidy things up and do better the next day. The judge gave me the highest score I have ever had in a recognized show and I was placed 2nd of the Adult Amateurs. The class had amateurs and professionals and though we all ride in the same class, at the end, the results are divided into Open (professional) and AA .
Saturday February 2
My ride time was 2:30 pm so I followed pretty much the same schedule as the day before. DB ( my husband) and I had folding chairs set up and a nice open area in the tent stabling to sit and look out.
The pond looks nice doesn’t it? But just round the corner is a sign that reminds you that in Florida there are……gators!
Some coaches are not worried about that and rest where they can 😎
The day was quite warm and humid and Biasini seemed a bit tired when I first began my warm up. But in the crowded warm up arena he sparked up. Then I knew I had the competition horse and I better get my act together. At White Fences you do not go round the outside of the arena before your test you go into the arena and ride around until the bell or horn is sounded and then go to A , turn down centerline and begin your test. As I rode into the arena I asked the tack check steward at the entrance if I could go in and she said: “Yes and start when the judge sounds the horn.” This led me to think that the horn had not been sounded. But that was not the case. When I got down nearer the judge she said: “I already sounded the horn. Your time was 2:30 and it’s now 2:31. If you don’t start immediately I have to eliminate you.”
So I hurried up to A and began the test.
It was a struggle as Biasini really wanted to take over. I did clean up some of the things I wanted to ; the zig zag was much better, the extended trots more evenly rhythmical, and the canter depart much cleaner. But the overall feeling was not as good as the day before.
I was disappointed. My coach from home Belinda Trussell had come to see my test and I wished she had seen the previous day. She is in Wellington for the winter season and has a busy schedule of competition and training with several horses so taking time out to come to White Fences was something I appreciated.
I had a debrief with Belinda and later with Lou. When I got the test sheet I looked at the very low score the judge had given us and I said to myself: “Oh…that test was not that bad.” I’ve been doing dressage for some years now and I know that there are good days and bad days and in between days and sometimes the judge agrees and sometimes they are on a different page. In my class there were 7 riders, 5 were professional and 2 of us were AAs. Even the pros had lower scores. So that is how the cookie crumbled on that day. Biasini doesn’t care about scores and was perfectly happy to have his bath and a nice hand graze on the grass with DB.
Sunday February 2
I was not showing. At my age and stage two days of showing are enough. So I took Biasini for a ride around the area which is all equestrian estates. It was a beautiful sunny day.
By 3:30 Lou’s last student had finished and we were packed up, horses in the trailer and on our way home. Biasini will have a day off and then tomorrow ( Tuesday) I will take him for a trail ride accompanied by Lou on one of the horses he has in training.
And guess what….in three weeks Biasini and I will be back at White Fences for another show! Until then we’ll be training.
Happy Monday to you all and have a good week!