And so, here we are in Saugerties, New York at the NEDA Fall Festival of Dressage. Both Piper and Jeddien travelled beautifully and settled into their stalls without problems.
Thursday morning, Piper was up first at 8:24 am for Training Level Test 1. With my own heart pounding louder than usual, we followed Georg across the wooden bridge, past the farrier & vet station, and along the groomed horse path past the vendor tents and sponsor banners to the warmup area. Poor Piper had eyes on stalks as he was bombarded with an overwhelming number of new sights and sounds. But as long as Georg was in front of him, he followed.
In the warmup arena, Piper felt the pressure was off and was able to settle down to do some work. It was promising.
Venturing to the competition arena was easier. 4 of the 6 arenas are clustered together. A gathering place for horses, spectators, and golf carts. Golf carts are not an issue. And people and horses are a comfort to him. So, once near the arenas, he breathed again.
To avoid setting Piper up for failure or stress, we followed Georg past the judge's booth before starting our circuit around the arena. No problem. And the test, with exception to a little spooking near C, went well. Piper earned 62% at his first test at the NEDA Fall Festival of Dressage competition. More importantly, he coped.