Logic says that if the mare was settling in last week and improving each day on the last - that this week should have been a triumphant step forward in our quest to go around the Hunter Ring like old pros.
Sadly, this was not to be.
Prairie decided that not only does the show schedule reset with a new week, but so does her brain and our early trips have felt more like we just walked off the trailer... not like we've been cantering around the same arena for ten days already.
Prair was a bit tense Wednesday for her one round, but not horrid. Thursday she was good for N but still a tad reactive, so when I opted to add a round for myself, I had a fairly edgy mare who was completely and totally offended by the world. traffic cones that hadn't moved all week were not to be trusted, other horses were... not to be trusted... and the arena was definitely not to be trusted.
Her distracted brain and wandering eyeball lulled me into taking my leg off and I never established a good, stomping rhythm and it really showed. The lack of impulsion made it hard to see a distance (any distance) so we were weak into our first two lines.
Then I didn't realize a single oxer was set so inside (this is becoming a theme) so I overshot the turn and ended up overbent on the long gallop. Losing our outside shoulder and the weak (but tense) canter meant I picked the mare to a stop. A move that I actually groaned out load for and rolled my eyeballs like an exasperated teenager.
I was mad enough about the mistake that I finally got a decent canter and we got over the oxer and finished our last line respectfully.
Not a disaster, but not our finest work... or the best set up for our Eq today.
Eq today. N took Prair in the warm up round and said she was still a tad distracted but not as tense as yesterday (they won).
I resolved to NOT BE UNDERPOWERED during my trips today, so I kicked hard and actually got a decent pace. Our first round had a couple tight-ish distances, but our changes were all pretty good (for us) and Prair felt a million times more on task than she had on Thursday.
Second course had higher highs (some lovely move ups into our lines) but lower lows (a few tense moments in the corner). I took solace in the fact that I was riding more proactively and Prair stayed more uphill the entire time. I don't mind bobbles when I feel like I am actively making choices and riding as opposed to sitting like a potato and just hoping for the best...
We managed a 2nd and a 3rd in a slightly larger and definitely more competitive division than last week.
The flat was frustrating. Prairie decided that her ear plugs were totally horrid and started flipping and shaking her head whenever we trotted by the judge.
She was totally fine everywhere else in the ring, but if we went by the judge we had to make it as obvious as possible how displeased we were about the plugs.
The silver lining there was that all of her energy was being spent on trying to free her ears and none of it was available to be upset about the other horses or traffic. (small blessings I guess).
I honestly have no idea how - but we managed a 2nd place and that got us a Reserve. I was actually a little sad that the judged never called for a Sitting Trot, since I think that's actually one of my strong suits (at least at the 2'6" level..) but really I was so sick of miss-head-shaker that I was pleased just to be done.
Tomorrow I'm *trying* to sneak in the start of my Hunter Division, but I have some meetings during the day that may foil my plans...
Regardless we'll be back Sunday for a couple rounds and a medal!