Yesterday my five year old daughter, Marla, who’s just turned five a few weeks ago, took a test for her first official equitation grade, the “Galop 1” (Galop meaning, lope). Those range from 1 to 7 for general stuff, and up to 9 for teachers. The first level is generally directed at kids around 7/9 yrs of age. It’s Marla’s own coach, Gwen , who ran the test. As a certified instructor, she has juridiction to do so. And don’t believe she would “give it” to the kid just before she teaches -and loves- her. She acted so strict during the test I was actually a bit scared !
Usually I help Marla a lot with preparing her pony, because 1) she’s really young/small and not that strong, and 2)… she tends to be lazy and sloppy about it. Yesterday, as cleaning and gearing up is part of the exam (along with tough theroic questions about it), she had to perform it all on her own.
All the little white signs you see are letter posts. They have been installed last week, and Marla never worked with them. Heck, she doesn’t even know her alphabet well yet ! But yesterday she had to follow directions to perform some specific tasks when hitting specific letters. Like “when you hit R, make a circle”. Thankfully each sign carries a drawing corresponding to the letter, so she was able to comply perfectly. I was stunned.
A couple of little bars to go over. Here Eclaire refused the jump rather sharply (my heart skipped a bit !) and Marla redirected her to go over the jump again. You can see aboslutely no hint of fear on her face, just focus.