A lot has happened in the last couple weeks....
Since NEDA Spring, Piper Warrior has continued to improve in both his dressage and his jumping. At the New Hampshire High School Equestrian Teams State Finals held at the Hopkinton Fairgrounds in May, he and Eliza finished 2nd in the WTC Dressage. A fabulous NHHSET season debut for both of them! We're already talking about Piper's possible role on the Kearsarge Regional High School Equestrian Team next season.
With the High School season behind us, focus is back on Piper's USDF dressage calendar and training. And work is progressing well. Transitions are good 90% of the time. Lengthening of strides at both trot and canter are coming along. Leg yields and shoulder ins are solid. And his counter canter is fairly well balanced and improving everyday. Good progress indeed.
Last year, while competing Jeddien at 3rd and 4th levels, I discovered the challenge, fun, hard work, and joy of competing in USDF Musical Freestyle classes. Now as the USDF Region 8 2010 competition season races to its mid-August close, I'm finding myself really itchy to compete to music with Piper. But before contesting a USDF freestyle class, the horse must show success at the highest test of the level being entered. Since USDF Freestyles start at First Level, we can not enter a freestyle until after Piper earns 58% at First Level Test 4.
Sooo, you may have already guessed it.... Yes, the goals are changing!
As entries get sent off to various shows, the classes I'm now entering Piper into are Training Level Test 4 and First Level Test 4, the qualifiers for the two levels. For the USDF Open Division (professionals), the minimum scores needed to qualify are 68% for Training Level and 66% for First Level. These are fairly hefty scores, not really easy to earn. The horse and rider really need to be on their game, earning more 7's than 6's. To qualify for USDF Freestyle Championships, the score is 65%. In all cases, two qualifying scores are needed, earned at different shows, and under different judges.
The race to qualify is on !
Meanwhile, the 2011 season, which opens in mid-August 2010, runs through October, takes a winter break, then resumes in March 2011, is already on the radar. GMHA in Vermont (one of our local USDF shows) is putting on a new show in October which gives everyone a chance to get their qualifications started early!
Meanwhile, Jeddien is enjoying retirement. Her daughter Bea will be celebrating her 4th birthday later this month. She's now under saddle. Big Ben, also 4, is working well under saddle and may go to his first competition in October.
But for now, the focus is on Piper. The woose. The family pet. The show jumper. The dressage horse. The warrior.