The newest obsession in my life? Trying to put together a musical freestyle for competition this summer. Ready or not world, here comes Baby Huey dancing down centerline. Ike of course is too busy swatting away the early spring flies and renovating the barn to care about this new obsession. So all the details of the production fall on my shoulders.
I listen to our music while I work; I listen to it in the car; I hum it when I don’t have any other option. Over and over and over again. I now understand why it is so important for the rider to like the music as well as having it work with your horse’s gaits. Who wants to listen to crappy music repeatedly?
I try to imagine which parts of the musical pieces will work best for the choreography I’ve drafted. We aren’t talking a high degree of difficulty since all we have to work with are Training Level movements – no lateral motion, no canter pirouettes, no flying changes to jazz things up. Just basic walk, trot and canter. With the time constraints placed on the freestyle, plus the compulsory movements required, that doesn’t leave a lot of spare time for extra flair. We will have to get into the ring, dance and prance, and halt before the clock strikes 5 minutes gone and we turn into a pumpkin and a mouse wearing riding boots.
Ms. C has been pressed into service in this endeavor. I hijacked our weekly lesson to brainstorm freestyle ideas. I brought the small CD player from home and set it up on the mounting block. Even with the volume at the highest setting, it was almost impossible to hear the music if I moved more than 15 meters away from the speakers. That is going to be a bit of an issue. Hard to tell if things are working if you cannot hear the music. Issue number two – even though I know the CD player works just fine indoors and that the CD has no problems when played on the laptop or in the car, when I blasted it outside, it skipped, skipped, and skipped some more. I would just get our rhythm in time with the music, and it would skip, and then we’d be a half a beat off. Half halt quickly! “You are still off the beat – listen for the clap.” Grr. Just can’t escape those half halts even while trying to have some fun with music.
Overall, I think Ms. C liked my initial attempt at choreography. She gave me some great tips to improve it and to also give Ike and I some wiggle room especially with our transitions. No point setting ourselves up for failure from the start. By the way, hats off to those who are responsible for writing the regular tests for each of the levels. I now have a greater appreciation for how difficult it must be when the tests are rewritten every four years.
While all this freestyle planning is fun and interesting, we can’t lose site of the fact that two weeks from Sunday is our first show of the season followed quickly by our second one the following weekend. If we can’t get the scores we need from the regular tests, all this musical freestyle planning will go no where but home…and the audience there (the hawks, horses, and the barn cat, Annie) aren’t always appreciative of all our hard work. Guess we will refocus and knuckle down this weekend.