Today went much better for both horses here in Estes Park. Majek drew the enviable (not) time of first to go at 8am. That made for an early morning. We've been pretty spoiled recently with late morning/early afternoon rides at the last couple shows. He warmed up very, very well, much better than yesterday although slightly on the edge of a meltdown. That is typical for Majek (at least recently), if you go for more power, expression, and uphill carriage, he gets dangerously close to throwing a fit.
Unfortunately he lost quite a bit of that expression in the test. I think I miscalculated my warm-up around the outside of the show arena, and rode walk-trot-walk transitions thinking that would help keep him on my aids and not too overpowered (and hence avoid meltdown-status). Instead it had the effect of putting him increasingly on the forehand and subsequently much of the test was relatively flat and uninspired compared to the warmup. That said, it was a clean, accurate go and was reflected in the improved marks of 64.5% and an overall 4th place finish. I wasn't happy with the test (relative to my goals for him), but I was happy with how it was scored. Although I did like the test on video, even though it was flat relative to the warmup he is much more up and expressive than he was at the last CDI.
Victor I warmed up similar to yesterday, and he felt a little better in the back than yesterday right from the get-go. I got him razor-sharp to the piaffe in the warmup (not that I need that for the I-1, but it is nice thinking forward to next year), super active and easy. Pirouettes felt safer too today, probably because he was more active and in front of the leg. He got a little tense in the test, but I was able to work through most of it. In general though he was very, very solid, and the canter work was much better today (pirouettes were active and small, better uphill carriage in half-passes, more expressive changes). I was happy with my score of 66.5 to place 3rd, although I would have liked to score higher it was definitely an improvement from yesterday.
We also watched the Dressage Seat Finals today for 13 and under. I was relieved to see the pattern was much more technical today and it showed a little more accurately how effective (or not) the riders were about planning their rides and balancing their horses.
Tomorrow Victor has the freestyle at 10:20. It will be our maiden voyage in the freestyle, should be interesting. I plan to warm up similar, although I think I will have to take into account that he's been getting a little tense in the show ring, perhaps ride him a little lower and longer in the canter particularly.