Saturday I rode the boys in the CDI Intermediare I. Victor had a very nice test with solid trot work and better uphill balance and jump in the canter. The pirouettes worked pretty well, they have definitely improved in ridability with the help from Christine. I finished with 65.789 and 7th place, although I was really thrilled to score 67.500 from "O" judge Stephen Clarke, who had me right up amongst the top finishers in the scores. I still need more hind leg in the trot, as is always the case with Victor, and better connection through the back. But I was very happy with the test and how it rode.
Majek started out a little more tense in the warm-up and a little defensive on the double. So the connection didn't feel as ridable and he kept wanting to tighten and try to drop the contact. The test felt a little tentative, mostly because I couldn't really ride him the way I want to. That said, it was actually pretty well balanced and mistake-free (with one exception, wrong lead on the canter depart) when I watched it on the video. I was in some ways surprised to score the same as yesterday, and he actually looked much more solid in the contact and the test was much cleaner than in the PSG. He scored 64.474 from the judges and ended up in 9th place.
I was very happy with both Majek and Victor at this show. The cream of the crop in terms of FEI short tour horses was here in Del Mar, and some very good riders. To finish with solid scores and solid rides on two horses I've trained from youngsters was a really great feeling.
That evening we watched the CDI GP freestyles. Jan Ebeling had a fantastic ride on a much-improved Rafalca, who has really matured and grown into herself since Gladstone and London. He won the class with dynamic music and much activity and expression, I think his score was around 76%. Guenter rode his new mount Wylea, who is a super amazing and electric mare. I think once the two of them get in sync they will be a huge asset to the American team. The piaffe/passage tour shows all sorts of talent! An unfortunate expensive mistake in the left pirouette dropped them to 2nd with 73%.
The evening was capped off with Ravel's retirement ceremony. Steffen rode his freestyle one last time, and Ravel looked solid as a rock. He makes the test and difficult movements look so fluid and easy. It is sad to see him retired, but Steffen has a very worthy successor in Legolas.
Today we made the drive from Del Mar to Bishop, CA. The horses are all settled in their stalls at the Tri County Fairgrounds, and we are resting at the hotel. It was a long day, although only a 6-7 hour drive, it was hot through the desert. Temperatures were pretty consistently above 90. Not that I'm complaining! Tomorrow we'll finish the drive to Boise. This trip has been very interesting and fruitful, and I'm amazed at how quickly it has gone by!