Biasini and I won the Reserve Champion award at the White Fences Championship series! Crack open the bubbly! But it should be known that we did not win because we had fabulously high scores, or because we won all our classes. We got the award because we turned up, we went in the ring seven times over the three months and in three separate shows. We turned up and we did it. We got some good scores, some mediocre scores and one downright bad score. But the Championship points were not based on scores but placings in the class and the number of competitors in the class. This is such a good idea in a subjectively judged sport. Some judges will score all the riders higher and others are more conservative with their scoring. So the placing being used for the points levels the playing field !
So Biasini and I did well enough to accumulate enough points to come in just one point below the Champion. I was very happy with that. But there is something else I was happy about. I had a real break through with Biasini. He can get very strong and be tricky to ride and usually I just try to make everything look OK and get through the test. Both of my coaches have been encouraging me to DO SOMETHING and CORRECT HIM when I am in the ring. Horses know they are in the ring and that their riders will not correct them as they do at home. Biasini certainly knows this. I know it too but I have not been able to really stay on top of it in the ring. All that changed in my last ride.
We started our test and I had resolved that I was going to ask him for all the brilliance he can give and constantly remind him that we had to stay together. The extended trots were wonderful . Then came the walk and he was good in that too. On to the canter and the zig zag. As we turned onto the centerline he darted sideways in a move that would have been suitable for a cutting horse separating a cow from the herd. Not for a dressage horse in an advanced level test. I got him back for the half pass left of the zig zag and it was excellent. Then the change and half pass to the right. What ? He did a corkscrew movement and I thought; “That’s it! Enough!” So I halted him and backed him up a couple of steps. This was to say “that is enough of your nonsense” . I could hear the judge say “oh dear”. Well I knew I had the extended canter next and if I did not get him in order it would be a debacle.
I had halted in the middle of a dressage test! That was a first! I had thrown down the gauntlet. Biasini is a very talented horse but not an easy ride and I finally had the courage to call him on his nonsense.
Winning the Reserve Champion award was icing on the cake for me. We got a beautiful ribbon and a very smart and useful bridle bag as our prizes. My thanks to Lou Denizard for always encouraging me and to my husband David for being such a great supporter.