Monday, May 6, 2013

Show Rundown (Fri/Sat)

I'm rolling Friday & Saturday into one post because I only have photos from Saturday and I feel like posting photos. 
Like this one. 


Much like Thursday, professional obligations got in the way of my ideal show schedule and I found myself downtown giving a quick presentation at 9:30, which was about when S and Prairie were schedule to start their Pre-Green Division.  I was pretty sure I could talk for 15 minutes, fly out of the meeting room and sprint back to the showgrounds in time for their Under Saddle class. 

I nearly gave up hope when the meeting delayed an extra 20 minutes, but then S sent a text that the show was running Junior Hunters before the Pre-Greens which bought me some time. 

I'm sure I looked like a crazy person while I paced neurotically waiting for the valet to retrieve my car from whatever neighboring country they parked it in, but they finally showed up and I zoomed off.  I jogged up to the show ring (trousers, silk blouse, absurdly non-horse-appropriate-footwear) to find S and Prair snoozing ringside waiting for their flat class. 

The pride to hear they had won both rounds over fences was only slightly mitigated by the fact that there was only one other horse in the division.  Prair went on to win her flat class doing what she does best, and clinched a faux Champion since they wouldn't call it champion without a third horse (damn). I wouldn't really have cared about that much except for the fact that this show has cute COOLERS for the Champions and I really wanted one.  Seems like winning a cooler is some sort of rite of passage for Prair becoming a real Hunter... but it's about the experience not the coolers...

Anyway, between Prair's wins (which each came with a $20 gift cert to my fav local tack shop) and S's early Reserve Ch. in the Baby Greens with the Big Guy we were off to a great start.  


Saturday came bright and early and I got to the show in time to watch the pony from our barn go in her Short Stirrup Division.  God I love ponies.  There were some cute ponies doing their thang which sometimes included finishing their courses but usually including some sort of pony shenanigans.

Prair had snoozed like a good girl and was totally calm when I pulled her out to walk around and grab some grass.  Supermom made the trek to come braid the big girl up all pretty and also snapped some all of the pretty pictures to follow.  I'm definitely a little bit spoiled having such talented friends who for some reason help us out so much. It's even nicer when they take exceptionally flattering photos and delete all the ones with double chins or weird faces.

When Prair was all fluffed and buffed, we headed for warmup where the gerbils were decidedly not present.  Prair had her quietest warm up to date and I was thrilled with how she was going. 
So happy. So, so happy
The problem with perfectly timed pictures is that you can't blame your bad Eq on an awkward moment...

We were slated to ride two of our Hunter courses, one Eq course and then ride both of our flat classes.  Remembering how out of gas we were last weekend at the Schooling Show, S had us ride our courses as early as possible to give us a bit of a breather before our Flat.  It seemed like a great plan to me, though I was a little nervous since there was no warm up round for us to work the kinks out with - and so far I've always had one (which is a feature I like)
The Boy helping with last minute prep (Prair likes ear massages)
We were first in the ring for our Hunter round and it was pretty damn good.  Prair built up a little steam and we chipped out of a line (or two... or three) but otherwise we got our leads and I came out thinking we probably wouldn't pin last, which is the first time that I've ridden a hunter round and thought that. 

Apparently we really have improved because the judge agreed and put us 2nd behind a (very) cute, (very) typey hunter thing with a big butt, huge cresty neck, and adorable dapples.  I would have pinned him first too.
Last fence... lots of pace but still holding it together...
I parked Prair in the shade and watched everyone else ride their first round before going back in for our second. The second Hunter round was also good but a little more rushed.  Prair felt a bit agitated and less willing to come back to me.  We dropped a spot to 3rd which was deserved but still better than we're used to!

her hocks and tail crack me up in this.
To avoid the cranky, tuned-out-mare-syndrome for our Eq round, S had us work some counter canter and some leg yields to tune Prair back up again.  It worked fab and we had a quick, but tidy round with some very pretty rollbacks that put us first (YAY).  I was shocked to get a blue over fences. I think its our first? I can't remember, but if it isn't - it's definitely the first one I feel like we've earned...

I was grinning the whole course, even if we were in a hand gallop

The few extra minutes of downtime before flat were needed and appreciated.  When we went back in I was feeling confident and Prair felt focused, light and lovely.  The classes were mercifully short which worked in our favor.  The transitions were all called before we got too long, or too low and Prair snagged blue in the Under Saddle (woo!) and I squeezed our a blue in the Eq on the flat even though my reins were long enough to pass as long lines on a smaller pony. (double woo)
Huntering Around
 I was most proud of our canter work which stayed light and uphill the entire time.  Usually I feel Prairie start to tip to her forehand on our second lead of the Under Saddle class but this time she stayed nice and up in front of my leg without being strong.  I'd happily take that canter into a Dressage test any day.
Huge Improvement
We had about an hour break before our Derby and I honestly can't remember if I took the mare back to her stall or not.  It's possible I was in a ribbon induced haze, or that I was horrifically dehydrated (Seattle-ites roast alive in temps over 72 degrees...). 
But I couldn't complain much.  The sun was out, and I had a fabulous team on the ground with S, The Boy, Supermom and M2 all on hand to make sure that Prair and I both had plenty of treats and water to keep up going.
Supermom not pictured, as she was taking SuperPictues
Either way, I was super excited for the Baby Derby (2'6", with high options at 3') and the notion of actually getting to walk a course before riding it again.  When they finally reset the jumps and posted the course it looked like fun.  I was hoping for trickier lines, but S reminded me those would come on Sunday with the Handy Round. 
Round 1
Everything was pretty straight forward and the only interesting question was the high option for fence #2 which was a pretty skinny Skinny and a much sharper angle than suggested on the diagram.  We went for it, (though I got a little jumped out of the tack) and then also took the other high options at 5 and 8. 
Fence 3
The ride was definitely above average for us, except for fence 8, which we nearly didn't jump because I don't think Prair could clearly see her landing.  The fence itself was a big, (actually only 3') all white, airy oxer in a dappled shadow that was slightly angled at the white rails of #6 and right on top of the arena railing which was also white.  I felt her wiggle and brake about 2 strides out in a way that felt like "um, what the hell?" rather than a naughty "hell no."  I dug the spur in and we launched over from a standstill in a most unappealing fashion. but recovered to finish over the last fence moderately organized with a big smile on my face.

I think we got a 71, plus 3 for the high options so we ended with a 74 which was good enough for 4th place (out of 7) for round one.   Most of the rides were on much more polished horses (ie, no pre-greens) and the leader manged to break into the 90's with a gorgeous ride.  I'll fully admit I don't really know how the scoring "works" per say, but the numbers seemed to match the rides well and I'd say the judge got the placing order totally right.

Then the only thing left was for the course to reset (again) for the 3' Derby which S was taking Prair in (whew).

Her course was decidedly tighter with more interesting questions and larger decisions to make about the high options.  Sadly I didn't take a picture of the course, but S had a fabulous ride and took 2 of the options (one was a hellish rollback that wasn't worth one measly point) and they finished in the low 70's.  I could tell Prair was a little agitated with the last round and really wasn't interested in focusing for another 2 minutes, but S really made it look smooth and easy.  They finished 6th out of a much more competitive field of 11.
favorite shot of the day
out of the two-stride

The day finished well with baths all around (me included) and a good relaxed mindset to go into Sunday.

Sunday The Boy actually remembered our good camera so I have some video.  I think our rides on Saturday were a bit more polished, but it's still nice to have a few clips as a benchmark.  All in all I couldn't have been more pleased with Prairie's effort on Saturday.  5 course and 2 flat classes is a lot to ask of one mare, even if she is big and strong.


  1. Sounds like a freaking fantabulous show!

  2. Hey maybe you and Prair should save some ribbons for the rest of us! :) haha. Good job!

  3. Wow, y'all rocked the house. Great job!

  4. Beautiful beautiful beautiful stunning!

  5. Wow, Prair is absolutely beautiful in action! Sounds like a great show!

  6. Awesome!! :) Love reading about your accomplishments. How fun.

  7. Wow! Extremely impressive!

  8. Aw, Prairie's such a good girl! I'm glad you had such a great weekend! I haven't ridden in a hunter derby since the '90s but they are FUN. Maybe Lex and I will do some on our way to jumper land.

  9. Aw, this whole post made me smile.

  10. Fancy!!! You guys look amazing!!! :) Congrats on a great show!!!

  11. Wow I love this! What a great show! You both have come so far and you're doing such a great job! Congrats!!!


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