Friday, July 22, 2011

Half Qualifications

The season didn't start great.  But at GMHA June Dressage in Vermont, Piper and I had a fairly good show.

To qualify for the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Regional Championships, 2 qualifying scores must be earned in qualifying classes at 2 different shows under 2 different judge juries. Qualifying scores differ from level to level, and also by rider category: Junior Rider / Young Rider (JR/YR), Adult Amateur (AA), Open / Professional. As a barn owner and ARIA certified riding instructor, I am in the Open category. Professionals are expected to do better in dressage than the under 21's and adult amateurs (even though this is often not the case in reality) and therefore have higher qualifying score targets to meet.

For Training Level, the qualifying score is 68% for Open Riders, 63% for the JR/YR and AA Riders. That's a full 5% difference.
For First Level, the Open qualifying score is 66%. For everyone else, it is 62%. The gap is 4%.
For Second Level, the Open qualifying score is 64% and 61% for everyone else. The gap closes to 3%.
For Third and Fourth Levels, the Open qualifying scores are 62%, 60% for the others. 2% gap.
For the FEI levels, 60% is the qualifying score for all riders for all levels.
The complete Regional Championship rules can be read here.

Last month, at the 3 day long GMHA June Dressage Show in Vermont, we earned our first 2011 qualifying score for First Level Open. The test also earned us the Show High Point Award for KWPN Dutch Warmbloods.

Second Level? Sure, Why Not?

One joy of dressage shows in the USA - or at least in this region - is that riders must send in their entries well in advance of the actual show. The most popular shows fill up very quickly, so entries really need to be mailed in closer to the opening date than the closing date.

For GMHA shows, which are very popular, entries must be posted early. And with that, one must decide whether to only compete well within their current dressage level or to predict their readiness for the next level. I decided to chance it and see what Piper could do at the next level: Second Level.

Piper's lateral work is reliably in the 6 to 7 range. Leg yields, shoulder in, haunches in, and half pass. His reinback, a movement introduced at 2nd Level, was learned a long time ago and is good. And his turns on the haunches, which also debut in the 2nd Level Tests, are pretty good and could earn 7's at Third Level.

However, from a Second Level requirements perspective, his medium work is marginal, but coming along nicely. Whereas 5's were the usual score for his trot and canter lengthenings at 1st Level, now we get 6's and 7's. However, there is a lot more he needs to do, and a lot LESS he needs to do, to earn 7's and 8's in true medium paces at 2nd Level.

Would we be ready for Second Level at GMHA? Maybe. So my entries for GMHA June included Second Level Test 3. (I like the flow of Test 3 compared to the "easier" Test 1 and Test 2 tests. Also, Test 3 is the qualifier test, and when given a choice, I prefer to ride qualifiers.)

As our Second Level debut test got underway, I was feeling pretty confident. There were no goals set, just an experience to get under the belt. But Piper felt good and put in a respectable test, earning a 64% qualifying score! Very unexpected.

Three Half Qualifications

It's July and we are sitting on half qualifications for 1st Level Open, 1st Level Freestyle, and 2nd Level Open. Pretty exciting. The USDF Regional Championships are in September. Qualifications close on August 15. Entries for the Regionals, however, have to be sent in by July 23. Yes. August 15 is the last day to qualify, but entries are due in 3 weeks earlier. Fun, eh?

The game continues....

No comments:

Post a Comment