Monday, September 13, 2010

Utterly Disappointed

This past weekend Bastian and I headed the the NWPAHA Summer Classic in Harlansburg, PA.  It was a small dressage show, just one ring each day.  I was hoping to get my second qualifying score for First Level.  To make a long story short, it didn't happen.  On Saturday, we scored a 61.21, so stinkin close!  Then on Sunday, we scored a 61.84.  We needed a 62%.  I can't even put into words how disappointed I am.  This was our last chance to double qualify.  Now I can only compete at Training Level at regionals. 

Which may or may not be a good thing, if I'm not consistent enough to get the scores at the local shows, what business do I have competing at the the Regional Championships?  But I do honestly feel that we are capable of putting in a good test.  I know that my tests this weekend were overall better than some in the past, but the judges nailed me for every mistake.  And no I am not about to start bashing the judges, they have a tough job, give a score and a comment for an instant constantly during the test.  They have to go with their instinct they can't question it and they are trained to do this.  They go to forums/workshops/trainings. 

I also rode a Training 4 test, just to see how we've improved.  Apparently we haven't, we've actually regressed?  I scored a 60.4 on my Training 4 Test.  I had three major snafus one was picking up the wrong lead on my first canter depart.  I got it fixed pronto and the rest was wonderful.  The other one was really only one mistake, but I made it twice.  Our down transition from canter to trot as supposed to be at the letter, (at C and A respectively)  I transitioned on the long side between the center letter and the corner, I managed to combine the canter work from Training 2 with the canter work in Training 4.  So all three mistakes were mine and the judge nailed me.  Those should have been 7s, instead I got 4s.  So there is 12 more points right there....  Here is the test:

But otherwise I thought it was a beautiful test, we got 7s on most everything else.  I did get the "feet shoved home in stirrups and excessively kicking" bit in the rider comment section.  Here is my first level test.  Again, I thought it rode beautifully, I missed my left lead this time and had I not I think I would have made my score :(

I'll post my Sunday test once it finishes loading onto youtube. 

Things I wish the judges knew:
A) How friggin hard I've worked to get to where I am.  I think this goes for anyone who works hard with their horses and spends all of their time, money and resources on them.  Last year at this time I was still only walk/trotting with a few canter strides thrown in here and there.  Bastian was being a bit naughty and I was getting scared.  Now we are doing some pretty solid First Level Work.  The amount I have improved in a year is phenomenal.  Yes I had excellent training and instruction.  But that doesn't change the fact that I had to step up to the plate too.  Would that make judging more or less fair?  I don't know.  Some people work their asses off and are never successful because those that can pay for greatness beat them out. 

Not always the case, I know and sometimes those people that are working their asses off are working incorrectly so no, they won't win.  There isn't a good solution.  But not achieving what I set out to do this weekend has me thinking in different directions.  Again, I think the judging was mostly fair.  I can only say mostly because there are a few spots I would have given us 9s on because damn it felt perfect compared to what we normally have!  But that is the riders Bias.  I felt great coming out the ring for all three tests, I felt like we had really done it.  Then I got my scores.  It was a huge let down, so of course I start to fixate on all the good spots and how it should have be scored higher.....

B) I am not excessively kicking my horse.  This they will know soon enough.  The papers have been sent in I am just awaiting my official card.  I am now a Grade III para-equestrian. 

C)  Bastian is an EPM survivor.  Imagine how strong that little booty would be if he hadn't had the muscle atrophy he had. 

I know, I know, no matter how much I wish, it isn't going to enter into the equation.  I am paying for the judges opinion for that moment in time, they have to go with what they see, I have to trust their judgement. 
I've been on the opposite side before too, a judge miraciously missed my two trot steps in a free walk, I scored a 7 and it had a great positive comment.  That was a gift, I should have scored a 5.  Its like being in a flat class at a hunter show, and your horse throws his head and tries to take off while the judge is looking the other way.  You get him back before the judge looks at you and are perfect, you win the class.  Everyone else that saw your little antics is upset that the horse that tried to take off won.  Its all in what the judge sees and doesn't see and whether you are lucky or not. 

Hopefully the stars align for us at Regionals.  This can be our practice year before Bastian really starts to kick butt. ;)