I had a great first day at the Al Sol show in Newberry, FL. Today was the beginning of the dressage portion of the show. Tomorrow the Friesian and Andalusian/Lusitano breed classes will start. Connie (Gryphon's owner) was my groom for the day and did an awesome job considering this was her first show as well as Gryphon's first show. It was VERY hot today, in the 80's and I had to make sure to drink a lot of liquids and really hose down my horse after his ride. Luckily a very nice neighbor lent us some fans for the stalls so our horses were nice and cool. The Canterbury showgrounds is very comfortable with big, safe stalls and all the arenas are very close. My first ride was on Gryphon in First Level Test 1. He warmed up well, a bit stiff on his right shoulder but listening nicely. We got a lot of 7's in our test and I got an 8 for rider position. Our final score was a 64.828% and we placed first. I am so proud of this test, when I started riding Gryphon in January he could not canter on the right lead, was not stretching through the back and could not stretch down for a free walk or trot chewdown, and he was quite crooked and on the forehand. We lost energy towards the end of the test but we got 7's for our trot chewdown, free walk, and all the canter transitions. All his problem areas!
My ride with Gryphon was at 2:47 and then I had to quickly get back to the stable, braid Douwe, jump on and warm-up for a 3:24 test. It was quick but it worked out really well so that he had a lot of energy in his test. He was a bit of a handful in the warm-up but we got it together right before we went up the centerline. I have been practicing a lot of centerlines with Douwe and it really paid off. We got 8's on our centerlines and he felt wonderful. Very forward and straight with a consistent connection through his topline. We got 8's for all our canterwork on the left and a lot of 7's. I was extremely pleased with an 8 under the Harmony score in the Collective Marks. I was impressed with my judge, Charlotte Trentelman "S". She was very consistent and she judged fairly. I felt that she was right on with her scores and gave me high marks for everything that really did feel great. Douwe's final score for Training Level Test 1 was 71.250% and he won his class. We had a little break and then did our second test at 5:00. Douwe actually had more energy for this test! He was a bit wild in the warm-up, there was a leaf blower going on nearby that was very distracting. But we did a quick warm-up and he did a nice job again. It was so fun, I felt relaxed and focused. We got a lot of 8's again on a trot diagonal, canter transition, walk transition, and a trot transition. He also got an 8 for gaits as opposed to a 7 in his other test. He did better to show longer strides at the free walk so that helped. Our judge said..."Smooth & Powerful!". We ended with a 71.786% and won that class as well!