I am working through the judge's comments, and posting the test movements and her remarks. Here's what I thought overall...
Intro C - he felt quiet in his body, but super tense in the neck and face. I didn't warm him up in the neck stretcher, and I paid for that choice. Had I been at home, at that point, middle of the test, we would've done some tight circles, and some serious flexion both ways. I also probably would've grumbled at him a bit, and told him to "knock it off". He was almost constantly fighting my hands, and arguing with the contact. I remember lengthening my reins, hoping that might help. Watching the video, it didn't. All that did was make inconsistent rein contact, and me almost whacking him in the mouth instead of staying in contact. This probably made the test worse, too.
Overall - his FIRST canter in a competition setting. No wild bucks, no train wrecks, and in fact, nice transitions for a green baby.
Training 1 - Still stiff. We left Intro C huffing and puffing. The warm up ring was pretty stuffed with critters, and in the baking sun. I was hesitant to run him out there in the chaos. Looking back, I could've accomplished some things at the walk, and at the least, I should've been flexing him left & right MUCH more while I was standing around. Instead, I was talking and yapping with a few other folks that stay at AHHf, joking around and goofing off. Is this all bad? No, as I'm usually tense, focused, and pretty unsociable in a competition environment. Is that because I'm competitive? No.. it's because I'm insecure, and don't want anybody else knowing just how terrified I am that I'm embarassing myself and my horse.
We entered Training 1, and he felt lazy. The longer the test went, the harder I was kicking, and the more tired I was getting. The stretchie circle? Poo, just as I expected. He's just not that good at it yet, and it was a risk competing the test knowing the stretch just isn't consistent yet. However, I'm not loving the Intro C Canter, where Training 1 canter is BIG and LONG. It gives him plenty of space to move out, and I think better experience at it.
The judge was glowing smiles the entire time. Every time I rode by her, she was beaming smiles at Harley and I, and I found that comforting. She was NOT a Ransom fan, and usually gave him a lot of low marks. To earn >60% from her with Ransom? A small miracle. I don't remember this judge ever marking him above a 65%. There were also folks around the arena in a few places watching, all grins and cheers. Also comforting, and made me feel a little better about how the day went. After I cleaned Harley up, I went to retrieve my tests. I found out we're not only halfway qualified now for Schooling Show championships in the Dressage club I'm in... We're also halfway qualified for the AHHf Championships in December. One more set of tests there, similar or better scores, and we're in, at both events. Wow! Not bad AT ALL for our first canter tests, and our first competition of the year.
Delightful for a horse/rider pair that haven't been riding intense all year, due to his problems and mine. I'm anxious to get back to it. With some of my neck problems sorted out (and the rest of the solutions to come this week, I think), we should be back to jumping soon too. I haven't popped over more than a crossrail at trot since these awful headaches started, and I miss it. I know Harley does, too.