Last weekend, Finn and I debuted our musical Freestyle at a schooling show. It would have been great! If we could have heard the music.
Ah, read on for a description of the strange and wonderful things that can happen at shows…
A dressage musical Freestyle allows you to choreograph dressage movements set to music. The music should harmonize with the horse (light, lilting music for a small, refined horse like Finn), and your movements and gaits should be timed to the music. I chose the music. I choreographed the freestyle. I practiced it (uh, once). I had all this planned out. Although I went into the schooling show not as well prepared as I would have liked, I was ready to give it a try: our first freestyle, woohoo! I was nervous and excited.
I raised my arm to signal the start of the music and heard a faint sound of music. Finn and I trotted two steps and I pulled up. NO. I simply could not hear it. “Could you please turn it up? Let’s start again.”
I look around to see what’s going on and I discover that the source of the music is not a sound system, no, it’s a TRUCK parked outside the arena fencing on the far side, with the door open. Yes, they are actually using a car sound system. Far away. Seriously? Yes.
We start again, because what else can I do? I’m trotting down the center line, and on the video, you can see me shaking my head and my mouth is moving. I’m saying, “Please turn it up more! I still can’t hear it.” Now they blast the music so much that it is completely distorted, but at least I can hear it. Until an airplane takes off overhead. Did I mention this show grounds is next to a small airfield? Yes, the airplane obliterated the distorted music for about one third of the Freestyle, so I was left guessing where I was in the music, only being able to hear a few phrases here and there. I pushed poor Finn through the patterns, grinding my teeth, so mad about the destruction of my Freestyle fantasy.
There went my dreams of floating and dancing through the Freestyle, matching hoofbeats to the tempo of the music.
(My imagination of how things would be)
C’est la vie. We fight another day. My friend did videotape this unfortunate episode so I was able to see, for the first time, the pattern of the Freestyle from the viewpoint of the judge. I can now better evaluate the choreography and tweak it a bit. The judge was kind in her comments and overall very positive. I think we’re going to have a very strong Freestyle, and I look forward to the time when the music plays loudly and beautifully, Finn perks his little ears, and we begin to DANCE.