Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Pre Greens

Okie Dokie.  Since I already covered my primary revelations from Schooling Day, I'm going to smoosh Wednesday and Thursday into a post covering the 3' Pre-Green division and all the many (many, many) warm up rounds that went with it.


My amazement at grooms continued.  I have never (ever) had anyone else tack my horse up (with the exception of either being sick, injured, or possibly one time when I was really, really hungover.. hypothetically speaking).  I thought I'd be all weirded out, but as it turns out, it was really, really easy to go get a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich while Prair got all fluffed and buffed and ready to go.  In fact, it might have even calmed my nerves a little or at least prevented me from transferring them to Prairie quite so quickly.  Regardless, she looked like a million bucks and I got an extra hour of sleep.  How luxurious.

S opted to hack Prairie early (like 6:30) so that she could trot around the show rings again and stretch her legs.  Then she got put away until her warm-up classes started in the smaller hunter ring around 10:30.

The first two classes at 2'6" were... tense.  Prair was better than she's been, but relative to the rest of the crew, she looked pretty not great.  Then we moved to the big ring for a 3' warm up which was rad.  She pulled off a 2nd out of 8 and looked lovely doing it.  Of course I didn't video so there's no proof of the lovliness.

Given the fabulous 2nd place performance I whipped my phone out to video and immediately jinxed the ride.  Prair's course was totally highjacked when a potted tree blew over right as she cantered by it and reinforced every thought she had ever had that the arena was full of monsters.  I don't think she ever quite recovered from that.  S stuck the spook nicely and put together a decent second half of the course, but Prairie was clearly not 100% happy about it.  They (clearly) pinned last, which wasn't a huge surprise.  Determined not to ruin another round I didn't video her next go, and obviously she looked fabulous and placed 3rd. (damn you video karma gods).

There was time to let Prair have a snooze before her Under Saddle which I was hoping would erase her memory of the horse-eating-tree-incident but no such luck.  She came out a bit wild and antsy for her flat.

S gave her a really nice ride and I thought she looked like a gem, but apparently she was extra braced and looky every time she passed the judge's tent. I didn't have a good line of sight on that so I missed all the drama, but I'm sure the judge didn't, lol.

Prair pinned 5th which was the first ribbon that I felt a pang of disappointment at.  I guess it was partly because I'm used to her pinning so much better on the flat, plus I wasn't overly impressed with the movement/style of the other Pre-Greeners (with two very attractive exceptions).  But if Prair looked like a raving lunatic every time she went past the judge, that makes a bit more sense.

Here's a summary of the placings from Wednesday:

Ring 2 warmups:
2’6” open Hunter             8th/8
2’6” open Hunter             5th/8      
Ring 1:
3’ Warmup Hunter          2nd/8
PG Hunter 1                       7/7
PG Hunter 2                       3/7
PG U/S                               5/7

Thursday I thought Prair looked a bit more settled than she had on Wednesday (trending up is good!).  S and I decided that the early morning hack didn't really do much for us so we opted for the extra hour of sleep and just planned on a longer warmup.  

Boy was it longerOur one or two warmup rounds turned into four - two at 2'6" and two at 2'9" before her last two rounds of Pre-Green. 

M2 also made the trek to come watch on Thursday and blessed us with S's mom's saddle to use.  I angrily stuffed my new saddle in the truck and sighed with some contentment knowing at least we weren't fighting a poorly balanced saddle for the rest of the week. 

Sadly, the saddle wasn't able to fix everything, and the 2'6" rounds were... still moderately horrid.

Prairie was zooming in the turns and adamant that 5 stride lines really only needed 3 or 4 strides at most.  By the 2'9" rounds Prair was starting to tune in.  She squeaked out a respectable 4th out of 8 in the first round and had a similar performance but worse placing for her second 2'9" round before heading over to the big ring for the Pre-Green courses.  

I could tell that S was frustrated with her, and I didn't blame her.  When Prairie tunes out it is infuriating.  I've tolerated worse behavior for longer from other horses so I'm not sure why my fuse gets short with Prairie... but I think it's because when she's good it's so good and I want that feeling all of the time.(greedy greedy)

The Pre-Green rounds weren't awful, but weren't great either.  I'd still argue that Prairie was doing better than she has at other shows, but it wasn't quite enough to dominate in a much more competitive field.  

Here's a video of her 3rd Pre-Green round (the first round on Thursday) which earned a 6th place out of 7.  I think this is a good example of how much steadier the mare is, but indicative of her tension.  She is getting softer over the fences and using herself better, but still wanting to land and grab the bit.

Light years ahead of where we were, but still not our best work of the week or enough to win against other Pre-Greeners.

Summary of placings from Thursday:

Ring 2:
2’6” Open                            DNP/12
2’6” Open                            DNP/12
2’9” Open                            4th/8
2’9” Open                            5th/7
Ring 1:
PG 3                                       6th/7
PG 4                                       5th/7

More to come on my Pre-Adult Hunter and Eq rides over the weekend and some more videos.


  1. She is seriously SO beautiful! Henry is in love!

    Can't wait to hear about how your days went!

  2. Well, I'm no judge, but I am starting my 4 year old in hunters this year and I think Prair looks great. She really is astonishingly gorgeous and she kept herself together well. I know sometimes it's hard to tell the challenging aspects from a video (especially since we work really hard to make it look easy, lol) but really, if that's the worst then I think you guys are going to just keep having fun and getting better and better! Beautiful work. Really.

  3. She is lovely.

    I nominated you for a Liebster Award :) Check it out here!

  4. As always Prair is beautiful & practice makes perfect. As she gets more used to the big occasions she will sweep all before her - no doubt!

  5. So many awards going out, I nominated you too! http://kisforkiki.blogspot.com/2013/06/leibster-award.html


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