In Stuttgart, I finally managed to ride the Grand Prix test that I have been trying to ride since August. W felt great, the test flowed, and even though there is still loads to work on, everything starts to feel a little easier now.
Here is a video of our ride:
Now Rita, as you know, I am the first to complain about the judging in dressage. I rarely come home from a show without some sputtering, frustration and disappointment at the scores. But Stuttgart was different this year. We had a great panel of judges—most of them very experienced and precise—and they paid attention.
I got to watch all of the Grand Prix Special tour live and much of my Grand Prix freestyle tour on the big screen in the warm-up arena when I wasn’t riding. So I’m not just talking about my ride; I was impressed with the judging in all of the rides. The organizers at Stuttgart had opted to leave the running score OFF the big screen in the competition arena. (Thank you.) So the consistency of the judging can be attributed to only one thing: expertise.
Here is what I was most pleased about: One of the judges had seen Winyamaro go in his first international outing in Hamburg in May (64%). He had also judged us in Achleiten (66%) and Fritzens (67%) in June, and then in Lyon (67%) in October. At Stuttgart we earned over 69 percent from this judge. Since I have long believed he is one of the best, most trustworthy individuals involved in the judging of our sport, I was particularly please by this. I KNEW that our Grand Prix at Stuttgart was good; the scores confirmed that for me.
Unfortunately, W and I had a minor misunderstanding about showing off in the ribbons ceremony. I let him gallop a bit during our round for the Grand Prix placings—which he LOVES to do, especially when the crowd is applauding and the music is rockin' the house.
Crickey, Rita. When we entered the arena to compete in the freestyle, the music from the last ride was pounding through the crowd and everyone was cheering the ride and the score. So W, being the smart cookie that he is, thought "Whee! Ribbons ceremony!!“
Off we went! Bucking and farting around the arena rather than practising self-carriage, halts and half-halts like we would normally do. And then of course the bell rang. I started laughing and said to the judge at C: "I hope I stay on!“ And then we started the freestyle.
Needless to say, W blew my eyebrows off in the first few minutes of the test. I could barely get him to passage, his desire to extend the trot was so strong! Little bugger. But eventually he calmed down and settled into a better than expected test. That was a wild ride on my hunky, chunky sex pistol! Fun was had by all, and we finished with 73%+ and sixth place. I was happy with that!
And, as promised, here is a short clip of the CDI-W Driving warm up at the show:
I’m Catherine Haddad, and I’m sayin it like it is from Vechta, Germany.
Training Tip of the Day: When your horse goes nuclear as you enter a throbbing, electric stadium, smile and laugh. It will relax your seat, and everyone watching you will find it fun rather than worrisome!