Saturday and Sunday were so much fun. I can't even get over it. My calves are sore (sore!) from so much leg and kicking (KICKING!) around during our rides. The mare was really a gem, and I had a blast tootling around our little courses and walking (on a loose rein no less) around the grounds.
I'll get another post up here with my thoughts and observations on the show in general, but I'll try to keep this (moderately) focused on the rides from Sat and Sun.
We went first thing, which I decided I really prefer since it's cooler out and I don't spend all day going "when's my class, what division are they on, am I late??." Prair came out pretty calm and we had a nice slow warm-up with two other ladies from the barn who were also in the same division. As a barn we made up the first "group" riding our rounds which was super helpful. I got to watch a friend go (and hear N's comments), then ride, then watch another and compare to my ride.. It was great for thinking and learning.
My biggest issue on course was that now that I can (and have to) add leg to make it up the lines, my eye is all confused and I had a hard time seeing my distances. Up to this point I've always seen a distance and then held Prair back for it. Now I'm having to see a distance and move up.
This is totally awesome and way more relaxed, flowy and fun to ride, but it is totally different than always trying to contain a freight train and add one more stride. As such, sometimes we nailed it, and sometimes I thought we were nailing it but really we were totally off.
Not a bad problem to have, but not necessarily ideal in terms of Hunter Land. The videos from this Division are stuck on the real camera which is currently fighting with YouTube, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
In a division of 15 horses we still snagged an 8th in our first round, an 8th in our second, (nothing for our third) and..... a first! in our Under Saddle. That makes for two Blue Ribbons in Prairie's name. Good Mare. I will say she felt awesome for that flat class. She stayed lofty and round but really relaxed and quiet. I was thrilled.
Right after our Hunter Division finished, we moved into our Pre-Adult 2' Eq. Sadly we rode exactly the same courses as the 2'3" Hunter Division so there were no fun rollbacks or anything, but it did give a chance to improve on our rides. The Boy took a couple of these videos on my phone, so I have phone-quality YouTubes to share.
|Reinforcing a button before my Eq rounds.. (the buttons are working OVERTIME)|
There were only 10 horses in this division, so the placings are less impressive, but we did ok.
Our first round we got a 6th, second round we somehow got a 2nd, and our third round earned a 7th. Finally on the flat my Eq squeaked out a 5th which was probably better than we deserved.
Our Second Round:
Our Third Round:
Sunday We wrapped up the week with a 2'6" Modified Adult Hunter Division. Again we were first thing, but this time Prair came out a big spooky and a little more distracted than Saturday. She was giving a hairy eyeball to scary wheelbarrows and loud children and other objects that didn't hold her interest previously.
Our warm up was super frustrating. Prair felt extremely dull to my leg (though N didn't want me to use a spur) and like she was just tuned-out in general. Our changes were unbalanced and slow, our distances were off and I was feeling very, very frustrated.
Truth be told when we headed for the ring I was thinking it was about to be a waste of entry fees and an unnecessary early wake up call.
But Prair totally rallied. Our first course felt a bit flat but we stayed fairly consistent and forward in our whole course. She was a joy to ride and I felt like all the small mistakes were mine, not hers. Big pluses included how straight we stayed in our lines, our distances into each line and Prair's general relaxation. I think it might have been our best course of the day.
The second and third rounds were similar, though we had a couple late swaps on her hind legs and in both courses across a diagonal line Prair wanted to change in the line, not after. So I need to support her a bit more and help hold her lead.
All in all though, seriously!? Is this my mare!? She's so fun! and manageable, and lovely!
Our Under Saddle also went well, and we pulled off a 3rd out of the 20 horse division. I was a little disappointed to see we didn't ribbon in any of our over fences rounds, but mostly because I felt like they were hands down our best rides of the week. Usually it's easy to dismiss disappointing results with "that's horse showing" but both N and a couple other riders commented that they were shocked we didn't place. Nice to hear that other people thought we looked like we deserved it, but honestly, I didn't really mind because I was way too busy enjoying my horse!
Thoughts, observations and a general summary to follow!