Monday, February 28, 2011

L Program, Part B

This past weekend was the second in the three part L (for Learner) Judges Program. Last month I complained about getting up early to be there by 7:30 a.m., after an hour's drive and two hours of morning chores. This time I had to get up even earlier... 4 a.m., because temperatures were in the teens and everything in the barn was frozen (including me). I had to haul hot water from the house to thaw the barn water faucet so I could run hot water out to the frozen water buckets for the goats. The horses had to do with ice broken on their water tubs with a 2 x 4.

But it was worth it. As an auditor, I get nearly as much information as the candidates at a fraction of the cost. This time my WEG companion and good friend, Ruth, flew in from California for the session. She has already booked her flight and rented a car for the third and last session, in March. She did not understand why more local dressage fanatics did not attend. I don't either. It is an amazing opportunity to learn from top judges.

This time there were many videos of horses doing the various movements at the various levels (Training through 2nd). We grew better at quickly assessing what was good and bad about their performances and what was the core reason for any problem. Judge Trenna Atkins gave the presentation and drilled the candidates on their reasons. (We auditors were able to improve our reasons without having to admit our cluelessness publicly.)

In the afternoons, we moved to the arena and watched live horses performing those movements. Well, Ruth and I moved to the arena the first day and nearly froze to death in spite of multiple layers of clothes and blankets. The second day, we stayed in Devonwood's lovely clubhouse and watched out the big windows with sound piped in. We were sitting above the action, right at C, for a perfect view.

The handout for purchase has most everything needed to review, but I took a ton of notes again and have typed those up for future reference. There are always little goodies that are not in the handouts. Particularly appropriate for this weekend when my "grandhorses" were in California showing against the top talent in the country, was an aside by Trenna about the competitiveness in California shows. She told a story of a judge that gave a "6" to a halt/reinback that would have earned an "8" anywhere but in California. Trenna told the story while advising the candidates that they are not going to see many good halt/reinbacks in their L judging careers, so reward them when they see them. It's a tough movement to do well.

Meanwhile, down in California, Nicki and Lily were 5th in the first day's Grand Prix competition (Steffen Peters and Ravel were 1st!!), and 3rd in the second day's class. (Ravel only showed the first day.) The classes were big and the scoring low. Although Lily did not perform as well as they'd hoped, it was her first show this year under horrible weather conditions (wind and rain and flooded arenas) and she did as well or better than most of the other horses in her Grand Prix classes.

We are now having our own torrential rains (at least the snow and ice have melted!) and wind storms. I am glad to be home doing morning chores during daylight hours and not driving anywhere. But I will be ready in another month for Session C of the wonderfully informative L Program.

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