We did it! Two attempts, two qualifying scores, at both First Level, and, the First Level Freestyle. We had a great time at Cooper Ranch as usual. Dr. Chopra gave us excellent comments for continuing to improve. We continue to improve our Freestyle scores and I am learning how to ride them, earning a 71.8%. I still have to get better at making my transitions happen more on the music, but I did a much better job this time and in fact this judge actually gave us the higher marks for Artistic Impression, vs. the previous two rides getting higher marks for Technical Execution. I actually did my own choreography and music editing, so you don't have to spend a fortune to do this, and I highly recommend it! For a rhythmically challenged individual I have found riding to music, especially "our" music, REALLY improves us both. He actually listens to it and helps with the transitions, and, I ride much more fluidly. Here is a link to the video:
I have to say, even with earning 67+% on both technical tests, our work lately has been going so well that those scores felt a little like a disappointment. Sorry if that sounds bratty, but, Frisco has been solid First level for a year now, and, his balance and self carriage have improved dramatically of late. Also his expression and freedom of movement are starting to grow, now that he has slowed down his own growing. We had a couple of "kid" moments in both tests which required me to be less tactful as a rider than I like to be, and that took the polish of what could have and should have been nicer rides. They obviously weren't awful, but, I'll be looking to do better next show. Gotta have goals!
Saturday was pretty hot, hottest day of the year so far. I think it affected me worse than it did Frisco, as I literally fell over my own feet when I was removing his bridle after we were done. Frisco on the other hand is getting extremely fit and strong, and Sunday evening walked off the trailer at home like he could turn around and go do the whole thing again.
As my friend Veronika said, "Another show in the books!". Check! Another learning opportunity, another bonding experience with my horse, another weekend with my handsome and sweet husband/photographer, another great time with great people at a great facility...in the books!