The down side of being the first one in a freshly dragged arena is there is a visible trail of your ineptitude.
After practicing my Introductory Test C, I could clearly see that I was not quite ready for the horse show next weekend. I tried explaining to my trainer that my circles are like tomatoes. You don’t want the chemically enhanced, perfectly round ones that have no taste. You want the lumpy irregular heirloom varieties. She didn’t fall for my farmer’s market propaganda.
This is the good thing about dressage, it fosters accountability. If I didn't have a bunch of letters glaring at me from the edges of the arena I would have convinced myself that riding a green horse with two dogs running interference and a strange man mowing along the scary side of the arena and a cow lurking in the bushes excused my lack of attention to detail. My circle wasn’t lumpy because of those distractions, my circle was lumpy because I wasn't focused on the track ahead and balancing my horse. Once I recognized this, I anticipated the distractions, weighted my outside elbow and concentrated on a point far ahead on the circle and miraculously grew a 20 meter GMO tomato!