Tuesday , August 21 2018
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The Road to USDF Regional Competition

The weekend had been long and turbulent. Granted, both my son, Josh, and the horse, Joe, had only been training in dressage for just more then a year, but we really had been hoping to get both qualifying scores he needed for Regional competition at this show. With two qualifying rounds all ready come and gone, without the needed scores, the best we could hope for from this show was one.

I could tell the evening before that my son was disappointed, bordering on depressed. We sat in the Pizza Hut eating with the rest of the riders and families from our stable. He tried to keep his mood light, teasing himself almost as much as the horse, but a mother can see through all that and I knew he was more then a little frustrated with the way his nerves as well as Joe’s were costing him valuable points.

He woke up this morning with a revelation. The first thing he said to me was, “I’m getting the score, Mom, with or without Joe’s help.” I nodded, told him I knew he could do it, and crossed my fingers.

In the warm up ring, I heard him inform his trainer. “I’m doing it today, Liz. I going out there and I’m riding the horse for the whole test, and if Joe doesn’t want to help . . . well, then I’m going to put him where he needs to be.”

She repeated her well known words of wisdom, “Just ride the horse, that’s all you can do.”

It has become a common scene and discussion we have. He leaves the ring, after he’s heard the critique and advice from his trainer, I ask him how he thinks he did, and he recounts what was good what was bad. He then takes a guess at how he thinks the judge will score it. What’s incredible is he’s usually right within a point or two.

This time was a bit different, I asked him and he let out a long sigh. He recounted the good and the few missteps and said, “It’s going to be close.”

I nodded in agreement. The judge had told him “good ride!” as he left the ring, and the professional photographer had gone out of his way to tell me he thought it was a good ride, but I had seen things that made it too close for me to feel real good about it.

We waited in the show office for his score to come in. And again, he was pretty much on the money. His score was a flat even sixty, exactly what he needed for it to be a qualifying round.

Wish us luck Memorial Day weekend, but I think with the new frame of mind, we’re not going to need it.

About Connie Phillips

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