Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring National - Final Day

Yesterday was a great finish to our two weeks of Spring showing.  I was feeling a tad tentative in the morning.. mostly I was just thinking that Saturday was so lovely that I should quit while I was ahead and in love with the mare, but that quickly gave way to my desire to (potentially) have a few more lovely rounds with her. 

I tanked up on a breakfast burrito (horse show breakfast of the gods) and watched ponies go round (and round... and round really fast) before N did Prair's warm up. 

Again, she did the 2'3" and 2'6" Low and won both.  This is not a very impressive fact when you notice that after two weeks of showing, pretty much no one is adding the extra courses to work the wiggles out.  There's not a lot of glory (and maybe a little guilt) in stealing blue ribbons from hard working Long Stirrup riders who are actually trying to improve. 

(not enough guilt to actually surrender the ribbon however, let's not be crazy..)

The weather was good, but apparently it dumped overnight, so the ring was pretty full of puddles and lakes.  I had to giggle a little bit, as they had set a big Open Water element for the USET class held in our ring the day before, and the ring crew was carefully trying to drain and remove the thing before us baby-ammys got to showing. 

On one hand, thanks for taking out the big scary puddle... on the other - the entire ring was "Open Water" and I'm not sure anyone would have notice one more pool of standing water... but I digress.

I videoed the 2'3" round which was the slightly less good round of the two, but it's still a miraculous improvement over what N had in Thermal with the mare, so there's that.  Prair's moving out nicely and I think more comfortable and less sore than she was down in Cali, which is always nice to see.

N suggested I strap on some spurs (for the first time at this show), as Prair was bogging down in the muck a tad - and when I don't feel like I can get the mare to move up, I tend to lock down my hands and add... which doesn't to any good for anyone.  So spurs it was. (small, round plastic ones, but still... time for a nudge).

When I hopped on I could tell that Prair was totally unimpressed with the day.  She was loose, snoozy and totally uninterested in any of the usual horse show commotion (whistling trainers... scampering children... loose ponies... planes landing overhead... you know) so that was rad.  I love it when she feels that relaxed, it makes me relaxed - and that makes for good trips.

Our first round (third round of the division) was our best.  We got a good forward pace, splashed through the puddles and had light, balanced changes. 
(bless my friend for getting good pics at this height)
The second round was also pretty good, but I wasn't as consistent with my pace, and overrode the corners to some weaker distances.  We were still pretty straight, pretty relaxed and pretty good by our standards though.  Also, not ONCE at this show did we cross canter through the turn.  Prair has been aces on her changes, so she gets to be crowned "queen mare of the world" for that not-so-small victory.

Finally, we rode our little 2'6" medal, which wasn't too tricky (... it's 2'6"...) but did ask some different questions of us.  First fence was a trot fence on the end, fairly tight curlicue to the first fence of a diagonal line, rollback to single oxer on the outside, line, line, and single to finish.

The Trot Fence to start was interesting.  We opted to canter in down the long side, and trot after we turned to face the fence.  It seemed like most people opted for that with varying degrees of success.  Prair NEARLY picked up the wrong lead, but we were still in the shadow of the judge's booth so I don't think she saw me restart the transition.   Trot fence went well, we didn't land our lead, so we had a quick swap.. then again didn't land our lead for the rollback (ARGH) but got a quick change, and unlike last week I kept my pace and moved up nicely to the oxer.  The lines were decent, Prair stayed really nice and straight, and our last fence finished nicely. 
Rollback on task!
Again, like last week I felt like we were efficient and effective, but not super polished, but again - the judge really liked us and put us first.  (whee!)

Last week I thought our placing was because we went significantly before any other trips and maybe the time spent waiting worked in our favor... but this week I was almost the last trip in a tight back gate so maybe we actually deserved it! 

Our Hunter rounds pinned 2nd and 5th which (barely) held on to the Championship for the week - and I am reminded that the mare rarely ends the week like she starts it, and I need to be patient (and creative) in order to allow her to settle and stay calm.

I am very appreciative  that N is willing to think outside the box and explore options that allow Prair (and me for that matter) to succeed and have as positive an experience as possible.  Bonus points for getting a calm, focused mare without running her legs off on the lunge or galloping in the warm up until she doesn't have the energy to fight.  Anything that allows us to be relaxed going into the ring and conserves miles on her legs is a huge (huge) win. 

Overall it was a great show for the barn - one of the juniors won the (insane) Eq class, and one of our geldings won the Under Saddle challenge (which ran like the Eq terror but was an US).  Lots of tricolors in both rings, ponies that qualified for Finals, and a general good time had by all.  Fabulous start to the local show season!


  1. Congrats on a great show! She looks lovely in the video

  2. Congratulations on having a wonderful show! The pictures are great, and in the video, you both look cool, calm and collected. Glad the show was a success for the whole barn too, that's always fun :) Here's to more tricolors!

  3. Awesome, congrats! You two look spectacular! :)

  4. I love your show updates!

    PS You're making me wish for a hunter.

  5. Congrads on a great start to the season!

  6. I just love the way your trainer rode that round, as though all she did was barely steer and it all fell seemlessly into place. So hard to make it look that easy! Photos are great too - and congrats on the tricolor again!

  7. Congrats on a successful show!

  8. Awesome legends of epic status & photos are fab you guys are such a polished pair. I am so delighted that the stall to ring worked so well for you both.


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