And of course, before the big competition, it certainly doesn't hurt to get a bit of a massage followed by a day off.   Aside from having her pedicures, Jeddien also gets treated to top quality massages by her equine masseuse, Angela LaFave of Centaur Massage. (The photo shows another of Angela's equine clients.)
Jeddien's rider, meanwhile, has been making an effort to shed a few pounds, thus lightening Jeddien's workload a tad.   However, a couple of evenings spent wandering around and eating at the Hopkinton State Fair probably reversed any good progress made in that area.
Now it is Sunday evening.   The 3rd Level Open Championships are this coming Friday.   The Freestyle Championships are next Sunday.   Training time is over.   Now, we are just focusing on quiet consistency, harmony, and getting completely comfortable with the test patterns, with whatever we have to work with.   Problems can't be fixed now.   We have what we have.
Before Friday's main event, we have two other tests, which combined, comprise the 3rd Level Sweepstakes.   Last year, we came 5th in that, winning some cash and a gorgeous black leather halter which still had the $129 price tag attached.   This year may prove to be more challenging, as there seem to be a lot more horses & riders competing, and Jeddien (and her rider) are not getting any younger!
(Jeddien & Piper in their stalls at HITS in Saugerties New York, venue of the 2008 Championships)
Saturday is currently a rest day.   It may turn out to be a last minute entry kind of day.   Already, there is one 4th Level Test 2 opening which we could fill....   Sunday morning, just before 9am, we contest the 3rd Level Freestyle Championship, riding to our German Folk Music in the international arena.   Ring 1 is where the CDI (Concours Dressage Internationale) classes and awards ceremonies are held.   It's a beautiful arena, situated in a bowl surrounded by grassy banks where spectators can sit with a fabulous view.   I know riding in Ring 1 will be great fun.
So, with only a few days to go, while some riders may be starting to get nervous and worried, I've started to shift into happy mode.   World peace is not riding on our scores and it is not an Olympic trial.   And, as we say every year, this could well be Jeddien's last year competing.   So, we go to the Championships one more time, with pride and joy and a sense of adventure and good fun.
2010 will be Piper's year!