Rich started his PSG Challenge in September 2015 with Intro dressage tests and once he scored over 65% three times he moved up to the next level. Rich and Tommy flew through Intro, Prelim and Novice levels within the first year of the challenge. Then he hit Elementary!
This year we have been competing at Elementary level and have onle mnaged two scores over 65%. I am sure we have improved a lot in the last year – our number of wins at shows has shown this – but we seem to have got stuck at Elementary gaining scores of around 64%. and not moving forward.
Frustration was setting in, so what should I do next. Well after reading the story of 27 year golfer Michelle Wie, an American professional golfer who plays on the LPGA Tour and who at the age of 10, became the youngest player to qualify for a USGA amateur championship. I bend (if not break) my rules! In 2004 Michelle Wie decided to enter the Sony Open PGA tournament in Hawaii. Lots of people were quick to point out that she could damage her career and confidence if she did not do well. One pro male golfer warned “it’s always negative when you don’t win”, but a very young Wie disagreed. She took it to be a learning experience. She wanted to use this tournament to preapre for the future. Her second-round score of 68 was the lowest ever by a woman on the PGA Tour. But her main lesson was to learn what It was like to play and compete against golfers at such a level. She did'nt expect to win, so didn't see it as failure, but what it did give her which was far more imprtant was confidence and experience of playing at a different level.
With this in mind, Tommy and I tried our first Medium test on 'Dressage Anywhere'. I looked back at the video, it wasn't great, and I knew we weren't going to win. What did I have to lose so I entered the video and we scored 60.86%, better than i had expected, more importantly it showed that Tommy and I can improve and do better and because I wasn't expecting to do well, I entered the test in the knowledge there were two mistakes (canter broke at one point and a halt halfway through the test was not square and was for half the time is should be). Now I am kicking myself for not correcting those faults but I will next time.
I will do three months of Medium tests and then go back to Elementary tests, by this point there will be a good chance they will seem easier to us than before because they will no longer be tests at the top of our game.
As for Michelle Wie, well, 10 years later she won the US Womens Open by 2 strokes, and to date she has winnings of over $5,000,000.