Moving to Training Level

Training level is a noticable step up from Novice. The dressage tests ask for lengthenings at trot and canter, and 10m and 15m circles. Maximum fence heights increase from 2'11" to 3'3", with spreads to 4' (triple bars to 5'); the jumping questions are more complex, and include more combinations. The cross-country speed is also faster - typically 450 meters per minute, which is a real gallop, as opposed to the forward canter required for Novice. At this level, time penalties and jumping faults affect the final placings much more than at novice.

We made our Training debut at the October 1997 Ram Tap Horse Trials:

On the left is #7, a staircase, and on the right is #8a, a rail fence.

We achieved our goal to finish safe and sound and ready for more with 78.1 penalties - we had a silly refusal at the easiest fence on the cross-country due to pilot error. It was a good wake-up call for me, because we handled the more difficult fences later on the course with ease.

At Del Mar a month later, our dressage was much improved (we were second!), but we inexplicably had a stop and fall at the second (and easiest!) stadium fence, a little vertical. Maybe it was the dew on the grass, or maybe it was that I was nervous and not riding well. We finished the rest of the course without error (jumping all the hard stuff fine!) and had a really nice run cross-country:

We took a break to sit out the pouring rain! Farli and I are clearly California girls; we decided to wait for the sun to come back out in July.

In the meantime, we did a dressage schooling show, making our First Level debut. I was pleased that we scored 65% on both First 1 and 2!

We had a lovely time at Del Mar; with a new warm-up, we had a very nice test and were 4th after dressage. And, I was very, very pleased to have our first-ever clean stadium round at training level, which moved us up to 3rd. Sadly, however, it was not to be; pilot error at the quite easy fence 5 cost us 20 penalties, and what would've been a pretty red ribbon. However, the rest of the course was lovely, and I was pleased that my fitness has improved enough to give my horse a proper ride at the end of the course.

On the left is #9, an uphill skinny, and on the right is #11a, into a baby coffin combination.

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