Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Poetic Justice and Brenda Whiteley

Ok I have to just take a moment to brag! I've just returned from the California Dressage Society's Regional Adult Amateur Championships in Del Mar, CA. Brenda did a great job, and learned a lot. It was her first dressage show of this calibre, with 22 riders in her class. On Saturday, she and Cookie put in a solid, steady ride, finishing in 8th place with a 67.2%. On Sunday, we worked in the warmup to develop more elasticity, suppleness, and throughness. Brenda did a super job getting Cookie put together into a much more polished, professional looking degree of balance and connection. Unfortunately, Cookie did remind us that she is only just barely four years old, finding some invisible monsters in the H corner of the arena. She'd already been in that same arena the day before! Brenda had a little trouble getting her into that courner throughout the test, which created a few problems. That being said, Brenda remained poised and tactful, never punishing Cookie or getting restrictive with the hand. She just kept her legs on, hands forgiving, and sent her confidently forward...like a pro. This is the kind of riding Cookie will learn from. There is nothing to fear, most especially not her rider! Because the quality of the warmup work was so high, and Cookie was thus moving much more brilliantly and staying much more connected, they still managed a 64.8. Overall Cookie was a real trooper and behaved herself far better than many horses with much more show experience. This was only her fourth show! As a result of these scores that Brenda and Cookie earned, in combination with scores that they have earned in the three previous shows, they have accomplished four very amazing feats for such a novice pair. Brenda has now earned a USDF Rider Achievement Award at Training Level. Cookie has earned a USDF Horse Performance Certificate at Training Level. Brenda and Cookie have qualified for the USDF Regional Championships. And, Cookie will earn a national ranking in the USDF All-Breed Awards, for the American Warmblood Registry, at Training Level. Their median score will be approximately 66.4%, and at the present moment that places them in first place nationally! Additionally, Cookie has earned two Vintage High Points for Brenda, and one Open High Point for Stacy...before she even turned four years old. This is an amazing young mare, with tremendous heart and beautiful movement, and Brenda is to be commended for her hard work and committment. Dressage is not easy, nor is bringing along a young horse. I am so proud of them both, and pleased to be a part of this amazing team.