Hickstead England.   July 2009.   A standing ovation was earned by Edward Gal of the Netherlands riding KWPN Dutch Warmblood stallion Totilas, a son of Gribaldi, for their technically correct and artistically stunning Grand Prix Kur.   The full scoring for the Top 6 in the CDI5* EXQUIS World Dressage Masters Grand Prix Freestyle can be seen on this Hickstead results website. 2nd & 3rd places earned remarkable scores over 80% as well.
Meanwhile, Back on the Farm...
Jeddien is going to the USDF Region 8 Championships in 3 weeks.   In our training sessions leading up to this, we have been working on our flying changes.   We earn 7's or 6's to the left, but often get 4's or 5's to the right.   At an earlier show this season, in an attempt to get a cleaner change to the right, I bent Jeddien to the right.   The judge, Bill Warren, spotted this and commented straightness was needed.   True.
So we've been working on this.   Returning to the pre-requisites for flying changes, we have been working on counter canter, simple changes, snappy transitions, uphill canter with "jump", and straightness.   When we returned to the changes, they were cleaner.   In fact, I have found that the more efficient I am with the prep and aids, the better Jeddien's response.   Over preparing just gets her worried.   And so with that, she is now producing "Fours" and "Threes".   In other words, flying changes every 4 and 3 strides.
And this from an 18 year old "big-boned" mare whose X-rays at age 5 confirmed a diagnosis of OCD in her left hock and who peaked at every level of dressage competition from Novice thru Advanced Medium, USA First thru Third, and then amazed everyone by moving on.   Now, she is at Fourth Level in the USA and Prix Saint Georges no longer looks like a distant dream.
Every day is a tiny triumph with Jeddien.
And Now for the Weather....
So, after a completely washed out June & July, August has brought stifling heat & humidity.   Hurricane Bill will be glancing by this weekend, and then hopefully the weather will relent a bit.   Three weeks to go to the Championships.   It would be nice to be able to train without dripping sweat *before* getting into the saddle.
Bring on Autumn!