We were away visiting family over the holidays and I didn't get a chance to do any posting. We had a great visit with lots of family that I haven't seen in a long time. We did a LOT of driving and a LOT of eating but I suppose that's what the holidays are all about! Hopefully you all had a wonderful Christmas & New Years as well!
Prior to leaving, I went to a dressage show and we tried out the 1st level tests. As you might recall I was having a lot of problems with a few pretty important parts of the test so I was nervous that we would completely tank. Well to my surprise, it all went very well! We nailed the canter to trot transitions, we got some nice lengthening, our canter loops were lovely, the stretchy trot circles were relaxed and very stretchy and we even managed the leg yeilds.... without a whip.
I decided not to ride with the whip because it was just creating too much tension, so I had schooled the leg yields a few times with the whip and then went without. I used that "phantom limb" theory and some bum movement on my part and there was the leg yield! I got a 6 for the leg yield to the left and a 6 to the right, so I figure I must have done it equally well both ways (or equally poorly haha).
And my scores? 60% on the first test (which was the easier one) and 62.5% on the second ! (even though we got lost in the test at one point... ooops!) We did much better than I thought we would, so maybe there is hope for 1st level next year.... Hmm....
I think I figured out what the problem was at home too. I couldn't believe how much we had struggled with some of the movements at home and then at the show, they were easy. I think the size of the arena is key! The show arena was HUGE compared to ours and allowed a lot more time between movements and it didn't feel so rushed. So I think if we decide to persue this further, we're going to need to school regularly at another bigger arena.