Sunday, July 16, 2017

Go to the Show!

It gets to that uncomfortable, itchy place, where you have such a need, an addiction to fill that you do anything you can to fill it.  Mine is obviously showing horses...
I had registered Jose and I for a small schooling dressage show at Mind's Eye not far from our place for Saturday (yesterday) to go through a couple of training level tests.  Unfortunately the show was cancelled due to low entries!!!  What's a girl to do??  Well, there was still a show going on, but not a dressage show.  It was an open show at Thorsby, the Warden All-Breed Show.  I had gone to this show 19 years ago... yes, that's dating myself, with a sweet QH gelding named Laddie.  It was a fairly small show then, and we just did under saddle classes and I remember doing quite well by the end of the day with him.
I realize that my Standardbred is quite a different kettle of fish and that's just fine.  I'm quite fond of him - obviously.  We entered the Sr. Showmanship, Halter Geldings and three under saddle classes, Sr. Equitation, Maiden Pleasure and Sr. Pleasure.  The classes were only $7 each so it really didn't hurt!
The last show we went to where the judge crucified him.  Schooling show, training level tests.  I've been a little gun shy to take him out in that kind of environment again since.

My day started off less than ideal, my alarm failed to go off so I woke up with Anthony's, half an hour late.  Thank goodness both the child and Jose were very cooperative and we arrived without issue at the grounds and I managed to make it into the ring for my showmanship class - however I didn't hear the gate keeper call so I was late in.  I missed my last quarter as the judge was doing her round because JJ had shifted and I was trying to correct him.  He was so confused, poor guy.  He kept asking me if we were doing Spanish walk now or...????  Anyways, the classes were quite large, I believe 11 or so horses in each, and we did not make the judge's card in either of the in-hand classes.  I wouldn't have placed us in showmanship either, but I think I would have put him in front of a few of the halter horses.  However, that's just my opinion.
This is more normal for us on the ground.
The western classes went after the in-hand classes, which is very different.  It was a long wait through two half-hour breaks plus classes.  Kudos to the judge though, she kept things moving right along!  The Sr. Equitation pattern came first.  There was no rail component to this, only the pattern and it was a pretty terrible one, in my opinion.  Three pilons in a straight line.  Trot from the first to second (about 10 m) on the right diagonal.  Halt and pilon 2.  From there, canter depart on the left lead to a circle to the left.  Halt upon return to pilon 2.  Rein back 5 steps.  Canter depart immediately on the right lead to pilon 3 and circle to the right there.  Halt at pilon 3.
Now JJ had recently been offering me walk-canter transitions so I took advantage of that.  We started our trot from slightly further back so we had time to establish trot before running into the halt pilon.  That went fine.  The first canter circle went quite well for the first 3/4 but didn't end really pretty.  That's fine, the halt was good and reasonably placed.  The rein back went well but JJ decided 5 steps wasn't enough and brought us back 8 or 9...  from there, I elected to trot up to pilon 3 and ask for a better transition into canter.  I think it worked as it was clear and obedient and the halt was also decent.
We placed 5th out of 10 or 11 in that class.  I couldn't have been more thrilled!!!!
The maiden pleasure class was immediately after.  I was so excited by our placing that I'd dismounted in the holding area.  When I heard them call me I came running!  JJ was more relaxed for the rail class but had a hard time with the marathon canter the judge asked for.  He was tired, justifiably.  It was 30 degrees outside and the show was indoors with no ventilation!  He really wanted to drop out of the canter after the first lap, but we had to keep going for 2 and then 3 laps!  I wonder if the judge wanted to see if the Standardbred would drop out of the canter (which is now quite strong thank you!!)  He did give me a bit of a crop hop one way out of displeasure at my strong FORWARD aid, fair enough.  On line up, I counted 8 riders.  We placed 6th and I was thrilled with that too!  I had wanted to make the judge's card, and we reached our goal.
After trying so hard for me and thinking about the severe conditions, I scratched the third under-saddle class. I knew there were at least 11 riders in it and thought I'd much rather leave him on a positive and successful note.  He got 3 handfuls of cookies for his hard work and we packed up and went home.

A wet bed sheet from Value Village really helps to beat the heat!
Ali decided the picture needed to be XL for this blog entry...
At the end of it, I don't think I'll be afraid to take my horse out to another open show in the future.  He's what I currently have and always tries his best to do what is asked of him.

Ritchie taught me to ride the horse you have.  And while he's away being incredible and successful with Jessica, I have Jose who is pretty incredible in his own right.

Keep working, keep riding and Happy Horseing!