September 3, 2021

Lamplight: Saturday

Armed with my loaner saddle #2 and the knowledge that I didn't need my Saturday score for anything, I was feeling pretty good about Saturday.

Riding for Lilo Fore for the first time. All photos from my momma again!

Warmup was a lot less exciting. He came out behind my leg and compliant, which I felt was a net improvement from explosively in front of my leg and non-compliant the day before.

I want the power but not the explosions!

GP trainer would later tell me my stirrups need to go down a hole in this saddle, but she wasn't going to make a change like that in the warm-up. Fair.

This test was more even in terms of how it scored. She gave us more 7.0+ scores than the previous judge did, including on the first and last centerlines, the halt/reinback, the medium to collected canter in both directions, the transitions between those two gaits in both directions, the left lead serpentine, and the final collected trot. Then we had a lot of 5.5-6.5's.

7 for this

It's interesting, because in the second half of the season we have consistently scored well on all of the same things, and consistently lost points in all of the same things, which gives me a good roadmap for the winter. Anything that involves bend, we're not good at, which makes sense given how wildly asymmetrical we both are.

In sum, it scored a 61.3%. Interestingly, later that same day the same judge gave my former college suitemate (who is a much more accomplished Dressage rider than I am and was on a big moving leased imported WB) a score 2% lower than mine for a test that I was there for and thought was much better than mine. I say that not at all to brag, but that there might be a discrepancy between the way things look and the way my own test feels to me. Or we might be scoring some pony sympathy points I guess, lol.

Not pulling, eyyyy

Comments on this one were "Lateral movements need more precise angle. Transitions need confidence in the collection before [something] more clear - willing - learning team."


It meant so much to me that Lilo Fore gave me a score that said "You're at the right level, but you have room to improve" and then gave me a written acknowledgement that she can tell we're learning. That's why I do Dressage at all, to learn!

Blogger Kate asked me later if I was happy with my scores. I had been already been wrestling with that a bit before she asked that, because what does it say if I say I'm happy with a 61-62%? That I'm not ambitious?

But I decided it's okay to admit I'm happy with the low 60's. What, if I get a 68, then am I happy with that or do the goal posts move to 70? If I get an 80 do I start chasing an 82%? This whole freaking sport is set up to always make you feel like you're never quite "there", and as long as my scores are high enough that they serve as a judge's acknowledgement that we're at the right level and doing the right things and LEARNING, then I'm going to be happy.


Notice you didn't hear me say anything about placings this weekend because I rode in the Pony division and we were the only 2-3 pony both days. But if I had gone in the AA division, I would have been first out of 3 on Friday and 3rd out of 5 on Saturday, which is pretty respectable! So I feel like these ribbons are slightly less cheap than they initially felt.


  1. Definitely not cheap when you factor in the AA scores for the same tests! Downright fantastic for both of you when you consider the game of musical chairs, er, saddles, you've been dealing with!

  2. You have been training hard, had to deal with all sort of variable including A NEW SADDLE, and had to keep your own anxiety under control, plus he had to keep it together at a show grounds... who cares how many entries were in your division, be proud of those ribbons because they represent a lot of work!

    1. Thank you, and you are so right. A lot more goes into showing than just doing the movements!

  3. I think you should feel happy with your scores! Would you be more happy if they were in the 70s? Sure! But you went in there, in a brand new slippery saddle no less, and had a great test. Stuff to improve on? Sure! But isn't there always? And also, blue ribbons are blue ribbons ;) You guys are doing great!

    1. Thank you for the vote of confidence :) You're so right. There are lots of achievements there that have nothing to do with the score.

  4. Even if you are the only horse it's not cheap, you still had to go in and pull off the test~