"I am not a number, I am a freeman!" was Patrick McGoohan's often remembered line from the cult TV show The Prisoner, but Richard sometimes feels he could shout this out loud about his dressage scores, He continues....
Back in April I took Tommy to his first dressage show of the year. Not wanting to mince words, it was pretty much a disaster. We scored 38% in the Prelim class and, a slightly improved, 59% in the Novice.
Sometimes a bad score has to be treated as an exception, but all too often its easy to feel that you are only as good as your last score.
There are many reasons for a bad score, and yes you need to pay attention to them. But don't let a single bad score consume you. Often it is easier to work to get a 4 up to a 7 than it is to get a 7 to an 8, yet a 4 feels so much worse than a 7 to face up to on a score sheet.
One of the creators of the IQ test was the French psychologist Alfred Binet. The IQ test is used to measure how intelligent people are. But is it really? It is simply a snapshot in time, like a single dressage score.
If I was to tell you that you did a dressage test and from that one score I would determin how good you were as a rider, I hope you would be at least a little annoyed with me, because a single score can never show this.
So it surprised me when I found that Binet considered an IQ test result to be an indication of how well a child had been educated and if the education system had failed them, and not as it is commonly thought of as just a fixed measure of that persons intelligence.
If I had taken the first test score of the year to be a measure of my potential riding ability for the future I would have given up there and then. Yes it was an incredibly disappointing result, but this was a starting point.
In October I returned to the same venue rode two tests for the same judge. I scored 63% in both tests and was placed 2nd in the Prelim and 3rd in the Novice.
Also in October Tommy and I got notification that we have qualified for the British Dressage Online Championships hosted by Dressage Anywhere at Prelim, Novice and Elementary levels - a further reminder, if we needed one, that even if on the 24th of April 2016 I scored my worst ever dressage score, we have been able to move on from that point and show improvement.
Test scores and scoresheet comments are always going to hold an importance for the competitive rider so it is very important that you don't let a bad test score define you and stop you striving to improve and reach for the top.
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