This past weekend I debuted my Intermediare 1 Freestyle. If you follow this blog you will know that my coach Belinda Trussell and I have been working on it for a few months now: choosing music and choreography with the help of Karen Robinson of Applause Dressage. And finally the time arrived to actually go out and do it.
Saturday was our first time. At the lunch break during the show, the show organizer did a sound check with me. I stood out in the ring and let her know what volume was best. Biasini was already groomed and braided. I tacked up , warmed up with Belinda’s guidance and went into the ring. I went round the outside of the arena and said hello to the judge. Then after she rang the bell for me to start I took up my starting position. I waved to the Steward who waved to the announcer in the booth to start the music. Silence. ……Silence. The Steward waved again. Still silence. Belinda ran up to the announcer’s window yelling that we could not hear any music. Then suddenly BAM… it started but it was not at the beginning. So more signals and arms waving. The music stopped. Then it started again and I picked up the trot. As I turned into the ring I realized the music had been started a few bars into the introduction. This meant I would have to catch up so it was the fastest halt salute I have ever done. I cut a corner and managed to catch up to the music.
Long story short we got through it and had some very good moments but it was not the best. But I had another chance on the Sunday.
This time the show organizer went into the announcers booth to make sure the music would be working. But before I get to that let me tell you about the fun we had in the warm up!
As soon as I started my warm up I knew Biasini was on the hot tamale train. He was all fired up and ready to go. Belinda helped with our warm up and all was going well. Then… a black and white paint horse with a Western rider came in to the warm up ring to get ready for the Western Dressage class. Well….when Biasini saw this horse his head went up like a giraffe and then BAM…he spun 180 degrees and bolted. At this moment a muscle memory from more than 50 years ago took over. When I was a teenager I had ridden as an Eventer at Pebble Beach California. The coach there taught me the Pulley Rein Stop. At that moment in the warm up it came back to me without even thinking about it. And it stopped Biasini in his tracks. And that was the end of that bit of excitement. On we went into the ring.
I went round the arena, said good afternoon to the judge, she rang the bell, I took up my position to start and the music began. YAY! I halted to salute the judge and waited for the music to start again for my test. Silence…… silence…. After an interminable pause I turned around and left the arena. As I passed Belinda I joked that maybe I could ask the judge it I could just ride the test, for the miles, without the music. Then the show organizers voice came over the speakers that she would be doing a test. She did. It worked and I took up my position again. This time the music started and kept on going. Here is a video of the test.
My husband David took the video from the side which is good for seeing the whole test but hard to see the lateral movements. In the half pass Biasini was going sideways very well. Here is a photo taken by my friend Connie Gee that shows the sideways movement of the trot half pass to the right.
Biasini’s extended trot was a highlight both days. Here is another photo taken by Connie Gee.
I was so proud of my horse. He was so excited and yet he listened to me and responded to everything I asked him for. We danced and we put on that Ritz!
Belinda told me it was the best she has seen me ride in the ring especially considering how pumped up he was. That meant a lot to me as Belinda has put so much work into getting us to where we are now with the Freestyle.
I scored a 67.25 which I was more than happy with. This is just the beginning with this Freestyle. On May 28 I was in the Critical Care section of the ER with an intestinal blockage due to adhesions from a previous surgery. Sept 28 I was riding down the centerline. Much to be grateful for. I am going to write a separate post to thank all those who have pushed, prodded and supported me to get me to this point.