A Tale of 2 Freestyles

freestyleIt is hard to believe but with the start of school comes the rundown to regional championships.  I have 2 shows that I generally attend before championships in just over a month.  Now I usually use these shows as a warm up to regionals.  Unfortunately, this is the year that we are working on 4th and hoping to progress forward to Prix St. Georges.  In a perfect world all the shows that led up to this moment would have gone if not spectacularly then at least sufficient to allow me to be qualified for regionals.

All I can say is that 4th Level is hard.  I’m finding this much more of a challenge than even 3rd which I thought was a huge step up from 2nd.  With this in mind I rethought my plans and decided that I had not been really happy with my 3rd level freestyle.  Since I’m not planning to show PSG until next year I realized I could have a do over. 

So I’m trying to qualify at both 3rd and 4th level.  2 shows; 4 qualifying scores.  No big deal?  Yes, big deal.  This means that in reality I have to ride 2 tests a day and knock them out of the ball park.  Today was the first day of the first 2-day show.  I rode my 3rd level freestyle and scored a 73. 333%.  I’m ecstatic with that score but even happier with how the ride went.  The difference I see this year as opposed too last is that the sophistication of the music is now matched by the sophistication of the horse.  In other words, I think my mare has grown up.  She has gained strength and scope and what was at the edges of her ability last year is now easier for her. 

When I think about it this is what one would expect.  Which leads me to the other test of the day.  I also rode my 4th level freestyle today.  I’ve had a niggling problem with this test from the start.  In the standard 4-3 test the canter pirouettes come from M and F.  In my freestyle they come from C.  In the 3 times I’ve ridden this freestyle I’ve forgotten to come off at C towards my pirouettes twice.  Not a good percentage.  Now, I don’t plan on doing this.  When I ride this in my head I never forget them.  Fast forward to today.  Yes, I once again toddle past C and start my half pass routine. 

Disaster yet again.  This is what has been keeping me from not only a qualifying score but also my last score needed for my Silver Bar.  Each time this happens I find a new and different way to: 1) try and stay with the music and 2) put in the required movements in some kind of understandable way.  While I wouldn’t call today’s test a great success I did manage to pull out not only the qualifying score but, also my last score for my Silver Bar.

So, late in the year. But, maybe, just maybe we are on the way to regionals with not one: but, 2 freestyles.

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