I skipped yesterday because I was exhausted but overall you didn’t miss a ton! The highlights of the day were a schooling session out in the eventer dressage complex and a sports psychology meeting which seemed to really pay off to volunteer to bare your soul in front of a room full of your competitors, but I will get to the reward in a moment!
I rode today at 11:29AM which was later than for the Team test. The Individual order of go is decided from the rankings of the Team test, they split it up into groups and then pull for times within “x” amount of riders. The higher your score the later in the day you go. I was right before lunch break as I ended up 8th after the Team test on Wednesday. Somehow I ended up late into warm-up which cut my time down significantly. I was feeling a little frantic like we had not done enough when the ring steward said my time was up. Still, I knew that Val was going much better than he had the day earlier and I was in a better mental place to handle both him and myself.
There is a scary rush when you leave the tunnel and hit the stadium for the first time – it is not something I have ever experienced before this week! The ring was a little different today which really did give Val a little pause and led to a few more looking around moments then before. I could not have been happier with him though because he really did settle down even further from Wednesday and start to allow me to really ride the little moments in between movements. Those moments are truly the place that defines a good test from a great test.
Our test was a very solid good ride. The trot work had a real sense of flow to it and a nice steady connection and energy throughout. The walk work was good, but not the best he has done all season for sure. The pirouettes, although not small, were better in activity and rhythm which were two major problems at the beginning of the season. Problems so large then ended up as three’s and four’s on tests!
On reflecting on the ride a little later in the day I could say that the scores, although not unfair, probably would have been a little higher had I been after lunch with the “best” riders of the day. However, my score was enough to put up a good fight for the lead until the last four riders went! It is a great feeling to come out of the ring knowing that you haven’t maxed out the tank and the engine in you horse. I really feel like his best is still yet to come, and that if we can pull what we are with so much more left than the sky really is the limit with him. It is a very motivating and uplifting thought, for sure!
Excited and nervous we bit our nails all the way until the last rider of the day. After my ride we knew that I was top 15 (only the top 15 get to ride their freestyle’s) and even in the top 10 (how many they ribbon too and have in the award ceremony), but a medal was not a given by any means. That being said…
We ended up staying high enough to earn another Bronze Medal – although this one is for the Individual score. Our press releases that I have found for today are as follows:
The Pizza competitors party and NAJYRC showjumping competition happened tonight and it was so much fun hanging out with my fellow young dressage riders. You guys all rock so hard and I am so glad that we can share this wonderful experience together and that you put up with my wackiness!
Looking forward to some sleep and then a swinging freestyle in the afternoon!