By the time I started showing on Sat, Prair was doing wonderfully and I was a wee bit exhausted from scrambling around all week. I suppose the extra days of baths and grooming and cheering and gossiping (duh) also did wonders to reduce my own show nerves, but they certainly also left my tanks a bit drained.
Regardless I was super excited to get on the beast myself and see if we could top our performance at Swiftwater. My first warmup on Prair felt amaze-balls. She was soft, carrying herself and totally amazing. We headed to the ring after only about 10 minutes ready to rock.
wellllllll turns out I was a bit optimistic and our first two rounds were pretty reminiscent of a motorcycle race. I got immediately frustrated and took the beast back to warm up to work the kinks out and when we came back for two more rounds - we were greatly improved.
Our first round was a warmup and per S's instructions I used it to school (in a not not so subtle fashion). If Prair was going to land and drag me into the corners I was supposed to sit her on her butt and WHOA. (so I did). The last half of the course was significantly better than the first and I was glad for the opportunity to school.
My second course was for my Eq division. Very straightforward with one basic rollback. I actually felt pretty good about the whole thing except that as I was nailing my rollback and seeing the perfect distance, we accidentally broke to the trot. Pretty sure you aren't supposed to break gait so we got dinged heavily and ended up last.
After our second warm up we came back and put in two lovely rounds. Dare I say our best to date. I don't think they were perfect by any means, but Prair felt the most manageable she ever has and we didn't blow any distances. I thought our first Hunter round was best, but the second hunter round actually got us a blue.
Sunday we came back for our flat classes. Eq was first, followed by Hunter U/S. They loaded the class into the ring, then we waited (no joke) 15 minutes for a missing competitor. I was moderately shocked that the judge didn't close the gate and run the class but I think the extra walking around the ring was good for Miss Prair. I was decidedly less entertained by the delay when I heard the late competitor explain herself to the judge saying "sorry, but our groom was down at another arena. I got ready as fast as I could..."
uhhhhhh tack up your own horse?
anyway. The class went well. They are boring. We did nothing remarkable. I placed second behind a lady from our sister barn who was on a gorgeous/perfect horse. She has nice Eq though and I wasn't surprised she beat me, especially when I saw how long my reins were. Whoops!
Under Saddle was also boring (yawn), but Prair was good. Our judge came out of his Judge Box and actually stood in the middle of the arena which made it much easier for me to see when I could give Prair a bigger correction without being "seen." I liked that. I thought we'd go 1st/2nd with our Eq friend again but some weird Chestnut placed above us both (I was confused) so we ended up 3rd.
Then we moved onto our last Eq course, last Hunter round and the Hunter Classic. The Eq course was good (no trotting this time!) but we still placed last. I think because my hands were in my lap and also I really fought Prair on her leads. She was refusing to balance back after an outside line and swap to the right. We struggled with it in every round on sunday (the courses were essentially the same) but I finally got her listening by our last ride....
(if you only want to watch one boring hunter round, then watch the third video, we look best there :) )
The Hunter Round was decent (for Prair) and we got a Second. Frankly it felt the same as our Eq in terms of her pulling on me. I still missed the change to the right after our outside line...
The classic was by far our most relaxed round and we actually won it! (squee!). I still look tipped up out of the saddle, but Prair was way softer and I was able to keep her butt under me quite a bit more. I was SUPER happy with how she finished the week.
for funsies, and if you're SUPER BORED - here's a video from a show at the same facility last September. The mare looks a LOT better now, but I look the same! that's can't be good...
Anyway, I have a theory that Prair usually improves with her later courses which is why we placed better in our Hunter rounds. At every other show the Hunter Rounds have run first, then Eq has been last which has always made our eq rounds more polished, easier, etc.. I think that explains our previously good placings in Eq and worse placings in Hunter, but maybe there's something else to it too. (Like my Eq, lol).