All in all, today was a raging success, especially when compared to our "day one" from last year.
N opted to add a couple 2'9" warm up classes in the second hunter ring and, oh lord, mare was not excited about show life.
Things were better than her first few rounds last year, but much more anxious than what we've come to expect. When N came out of the ring, she expressed some concerns over taking Prair 3' and specifically - dealing with the two stride.
She *looked* good from the ground, but I know the feeling of that mare about to explode and I could see in her eyeball that she was teetering on the edge. So we chatted, and made the executive decision to scratch the 3' over fences but keep the flat classes.
Also, there were three more 2'9" classes at the end of the day so we added those figuring that the trips would be good - but we wouldn't have to face the two stride and freak her out.
It was a great plan. HLL took the ride for the two flat classes (pre green and large hunter) and did an AMAZING job. She had the mare really moving and did an excellent job of hiding her tension and showing off the good parts..
We were rewarded with two blues in two decently big (13 horses) and rather competitive classes.
I should have taken video, but I never remember during Under Saddles..
We had a few minutes of downtime before the fences were reset to 2'9" and thankfully, Prair was acting much more grown up than she was in her earlier classes.
Of course that's when I noticed that they kept the damn two stride (coming home no less) in for the 2'9" which left me wondering what the hell we rearranged everything for..
But, N worked her magic and put in a beautiful warm up round. A few spots to improve on, but much more relaxed than in the small ring.
The first division round was even better and the second, better still. The two stride ended up being some of her best fences and I was thrilled with how responsive the mare stayed in some claustrophobic (by hunter standards) corners.
Mare was rewarded with three blue ribbons for holding it together and I felt great about giving her some good trips to build on.
Initially I was moderately disappointed to miss our 3' divisions, but ultimately it's about figuring out what builds confidence and encourages relaxation - so I feel great about the decision and made sure N knew that I was totally on board.
Also, really I just want to watch the mare go around, I don't care when or how that happens - though a few blues never hurt...
Tomorrow the plan is to scratch the rest of the 3' classes, add a couple warm ups at 2'9" then finish our 2'9" Division in the big ring with two more courses and a flat class.
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