Novice dressage tests included for the first time a variation in trot and canter. In Into and Prelim you have two walks – medium walk and free walk, now we were faced in novice with working trot, medium trot, and working and medium canter, as Tommy naturally has quite a long stride, it took some work to create two distinct trots and canter.
As with Novice I went in with the same thought I always have when moving up a level – the score doesn’t count. You expect to drop to a lower score when you reach a new level because it is harder. For Novice 27 in January we scored 61.79%. This was our lowest score yet on Dressage Anywhere.
Looking at the score sheet there was lots of areas we could improve on. I wanted to work hard and correct these things but it just felt like the weather was against us all the way.
In to February and Novice 28, it felt a lot better than January’s entry but when the score came back we had not even managed a 2% improvement, receiving only 62.5%.
Two months in to Novice and requiring less than 5% to get over our target of 65% felt like an impossible task. And the worst part was I could see I was loosing marks on things we were doing well like square halts and free walks at Prelim and Intro levels –.
Not wanting to give up or get de-motivated, I booked more lessons with my coach Lisa Morris BHSI and we worked on various aspects of the Novice test, improving on areas that would help.
Halfway through March we finally got a weather forecast that was good, so I took the risk of putting in an early entry. We really needed more training sessions but with so many storms this winter I couldn’t risk not putting a test in at all.
My coach told me that I should treat it more like a real competition – white saddle cloth, white jodhpurs and gloves and wear my show jacket too. The rules for Dressage Anywhere say if you are in competition dress you must put boots on your horse to prove the video wasn’t shot at another competition so Lisa lent me a set of white boots for Tommy.
The test felt a lot better than the previous attempts but I knew there were still mistakes. I submitted it anyway and waited for the results to arrive. A few days later I had the result – 65.38%. I had done it, my first score over 65%. There were a few 5’s so still lots more work to do before my April entry; with my new found confidence I can move forwards in the knowledge that my target at Novice level is achievable.
We will wait for the next two months to hear if Richard can managed to score his personal target of 65% three times in a row and move up to Elementary level. He had ridden Prelim and Novice tests on Little Bea, but the move up to Elementary when it happens will really be a step in to the unknown for him and we wish him all the success he deserves...
'Success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong, obstacles, failure and loss only act as motivation'
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