Sunday, Winston and I were scheduled to ride TL2 and TL3 again. My first ride was at 2:15 with training level 3 following at 3:30. Winston was relaxed when we arrived in the morning to feed him. He had shavings in his tail and in his braids so he had slept well.
In the morning, the FEI and upper level tests were ridden so we watched those. Leslie Reid had two lovely rides. Leslie Morse rode her stallion (she always rides brilliant hot stallions) Excalibur. Debbie McDonald was wandering around... and all the riders, except one, wore helmets. There was only ONE top hat. Yes!! Fancy helmets with sparkles and accents to complement the shad bellies of the superstar riders -- how wonderful is that?
In the warmup, fancy warmbloods floated around. A little girl who was showing her haflinger in the afternoon, came in to school. It was the funniest, cutest thing to see her struggling with her opinionated mare while the warmbloods danced.
My camera died before I rode my test so there aren't any pictures. I could tell that Winston was tired when we got there in the morning. When Winston is tired, he gets pissy (don't we all) and argumentative. I was concerned about how our test would go. In the warmup, he was great. He carried himself at the canter, he was responsive to my inside leg, he went deep into the corners. We practiced the more difficult movements from TL3 since I knew I wouldn't have time to work on them between the tests. I was working with a mostly empty fuel tank so I wanted to focus on those areas we struggle with most.
We started our test well. Winston was tired but he was obedient. I was happily surprised -- there was not a belligerent moment anywhere. Half way through the test, he started to fade on me. It took all my strength and urging to keep him forward. We picked up the second canter movement and he died. So tired. Can't. Canter. Sorry. He broke into trot. Picked it up. Broke again. The gas tank was empty.
I scratched our last test. If Winston didn't have enough gas to finish the easier test, there was no way he was going to be able to do TL3. I wanted to reward him for trying hard, for being obedient even when he was exhausted, and to make sure he didn't change his mind about showing being fun.
We scored a 4 on the canter where he broke into trot and that movement had a co-effiecient of 2 (worth double the points) so that cost us. If he had kept the canter, we would have scored better than the day before. As it was, we got a respectable 61.6, a blue ribbon and a good experience.