Well, i certainly won't e forgetting cookies. Ever. Again. (mares hold grudges).
I shouldn't say that... realistically Prair was a very good mare. But... she probably could have been better, ya know... with cookies.
I got to the show just as Prair was getting pulled out to get ready. I immediately tried to make cookie amends, and got a mare sneer in response (uh oh). I also immediately went to check out the TAIL.
The tail looked AWESOME. Not over the top, but nicely filled out and you couldn't discern the wig at all. Just as I proclaimed "WOW, that looks GREAT!" N informed me that the braider didn't like the top on Prair's tail so she used someone else's wig. frowny face.
argh. So the tail hunt continues. I emailed Kathy's Tails to see what options they have... so the wig saga continues. I can only hope it will be a much less exciting, less lengthy adventure than the saddle saga.
Anyway, the rides.
Prair got pretty anxious in warm up. She was listening, and she was trying, but it was crazy and there wasn't much room between the warmup fences and the rail and she gets claustrophobic with other horses... so she was extremely worried.
It didn't help that a (very) large, (very) beautiful Gray kept swishing his tail at her and sending her into orbit. Soooooo..... not the best mindset to start.
Her jump was also a bit lackluster. instead of rounding up and over, she was really squatting and shooting over the fence, more like her old method of jump-launching. Not sure if that is because of some soreness (hope not) or the anxiety.
She got a few good jumps in and we headed to the indoor for some rounds.
The rounds were... not our best! though they definitely weren't our worst - so that's good. they were just rather tense, and Prair was pretty worried about all the noises going on around her. She was particularly unhappy with scraping tables on the floor, clapping, doors opening and encouraging "whoops" from bystanders.
N opted to stay in and ride her second round back to back thinking Prair would settle, but it seemed to only let her worries increase - so after the two Large rounds, we thought maybe it would be better to let Prair diffuse and take a break before riding the Pre Green rounds, so back to the barn she went.
(note, my brother took my good camera on his honeymoon to japan, so I'm stuck with iphone vids... also, I got a call halfway through so you miss out on a stressed-scoot during the closing circle).
After about an hour for a mental break, (and a quick lunge with her belly band), Prair came back and looked much happier. Warmup was less hectic the second time and she seemed to be quieter before even entering the indoor again.
The Pre Green rounds were much better. Prair looked less on the muscle, and had some great moments (though not consistently) in each round. Mostly the ig victory was to see her freak out, take a break, and come back with better focus. That recovery is really encouraging and helpful.
N also noted that she didn't feel like Prair was ever *not* listening or being bad, she just felt legitimately terrified in the ring. So... that's good? I mean, terror is obviously not good, but it's better than malice? Hopefully two weeks of working in that ring will take some of the tension away and we'll see an improvement there.
Finally, Prair had both flat classes, which was great since it gave her another 20 minutes to hack around the ring and get used to things in the safety of a relative herd.
the first Under Saddle was the Large Hunter division, which had 20 in it, so there was some crowding, but Prair was good. She looked relaxed and lovely and pulled off a blue in a rather competitive class.
The Pre-Green hack was right about when her egg timer went off and I could tell she was a little spent both mentally and physically, but she held it together. She pinned second, and I think we lost the blue in our canter. The horse that won maybe wasn't as big of a mover, but he had a beautiful shape and balance, something that we have to still manufacture a bit, and when Prair gets tired... doesn't really happen.
But, she stayed soft and tuned in and was a good girl, so that is a huge improvement from this division last year!
At the end of the day, Prair had her 1st and 2nd ribbons from her hack, and a 4th and 5th for her Pre Green rounds over fences (11 in the division). Today she has two more rounds for the Larges and two more Pre Greens to finish her pro days.
Go team go!