Friday, April 4, 2014

Well, That's Horse Showing!

The sun was at least shining for Prair's second day of showing.. so at least we had that going for us.  I got to the show earlier than I did Wednesday and got to watch a few more of the other horses from the barn go.  I missed our 1st year Green horse, and all the High Performance stuff which was too bad, since the Big Girl classes are always entertaining to watch.

Prair appeared to be pleased that I showed up with cookies and gave me lots of love when I went to visit her and give her scratches (and cookies, obvi).
Oh Thank God. You Brought Cookies.
 N did the other Pre-Green horse first, and he looked great.  Spot on, cute jumps and no major (or minor, really) mistakes.  Prair was standing by patiently waiting in her dress sheet, and doing a remarkable job of not freaking out over the cacophony of noise being made by apparently every trash container being loaded and unloaded repeatedly on concrete next door to the arena.  It seriously sounded like giant metal robots were fighting some sort of intergalactic battle.  Some of the horses were not very excited about that.  Thankfully Giant Robot Battles are apparently not as scary as children in the stands, as Prair didn't seem to mind at all.

When it was Prair's turn, warm up was somehow empty (??), and she stayed much calmer and less tense than she had been previously.  Her jumps looked better - more willing to stretch her neck down and really break over, so that was nice to see too.

As we were finishing up over fences, more people we flooding into the ring so we cut it a bit short and got out before Prair let herself get stressed out about other horses.

Her first two rounds were again for the Large Hunter Division.  She came out better than she finished on Wednesday and I was thrilled to see her staying relaxed.  Here's her second round.  Her first round was maybe even a bit better in terms of relaxation and style over the fences, but we'll talk about that in a moment.

Prair placed 7th in the 4th round - Definitely respectable given a 20 horse class and some really nice, really seasoned ponies putting down some nice rounds.

She didn't place in the 3rd round (which, objectively is fine), and I didn't really bat an eye since (again), the class was big and there were some nice horses.  I was thrilled Prair came out more focused and relaxed than Wednesday and I like Purple Ribbons, so that's all dandy.

Then it was on to the Pre-Green rounds.

11 horses in the division, and literally a repeat of the placings from the Larges.  No placing for the third round, and a 7th in our fourth round.  I was a little disappointed at the placings since... well, I don't think Prairie was in the bottom 25% of the class, but I got FURIOUS when I realized that the horse that placed 3rd (in the third round) had pulled up before one of the lines, halted, backed up, circled, then continued.


I had heard a few people making comments that the judge's head seemed to be down more than it was up, but um... how does one miss the 30 second, stop, circle and start again?  How is that possible!? Yes he's a lovely horse (and typically pins top 3), but that's either lazy note taking, extreme senility or craziness (or all three I suppose).

So, when a horse with a refusal is pinning third, I stopped trying to make sense of Prair's placings and just collected my additional purple ribbon and headed back to the barn.
Prair (feeling proud) likes to poke out of the grooming stalls

The thing that's particularly disappointing to me is how much I let that judging crap affect my overall enjoyment of the day.

Thus far I'd say I've been pretty good at remembering that Hunter Land usually makes sense, but sometimes it doesn't.  There have definitely been judges that love Prair, and we pin higher than I think we deserve - and certainly shows where we are not what the judge is looking for and we pin well, behind stiff, downhill, inverted TB's.  (I love TB's and I still think they are some of the nicest hunters.. but holy crap there are some horrid ones out there showing and beating us, lol).

This however, just threw me overboard.  People are paying good money to present their horses and show in rated divisions. So to have the judging be that off the mark is frustrating to say the least.  I'm pretty sure my horse-illiterate husband could have pinned the class more accurately than that.   Argh.

So that was the day.  And that's Horse Showing!

With a night of sleep (and more girl scout cookies than is healthy), it's easier to feel great about how Prair's doing and why we're there.

But GOOD LORD.  Judging.  Sheesh.


  1. A refusal should be an automatic 45. :/

  2. That's frustrating. I bet the judge didn't see it, or had them confused with a different horse. :/

  3. I was watching a show last year (maybe a year and a half ago now?) and in a flat class, horses that were DEAD LAME we pinning. DEAD. LAME. Obviously the horse's leg hadn't fallen off, but they were still pinning (high, I might add) even though any horse-illiterate person could tell the horse was hurting. Hunter Land, I tell ya what.

    Annnnnnd that's why I'm moving into jumpers....your only judge is the clock :)

  4. I hate subjective sports, but I do love hunterland. And it's an expensive frustration too :(

  5. Too bad you hadn't managed to get video of the refusal LOL! I would have had a hard time keeping my mouth shut on that one. Oh well, like you said, that's horse showing! I'm glad Prairie seemed more relaxed. :)

  6. That would tweak me too. So bizarre. Of course, I think Prair should win must divisions just by showing up, so maybe I'm biased.

  7. Boo. I would think a refusal would make it hard to pin against horses that didn't stop at any fences. She's such a lovely horse!

    1. Also having read your comment now I want a pic of your temp saddle... I am kinda bummed that my saddle might look kind of mutant :/
      I remembered reading that you ordered similarly to what I did originally and was talking with someone about how interesting it is how we all choose and like different things. Or how someone that's so much more vertically challenged than you are could need close I the same flap! I am put together funny I guess!

  8. That's too bad on the judge. I have had only one show where the judge was totally off their rocker, and super rude as well. Thankfully at all the dressage shows I have gone to the judges have been fairly nice!

  9. Agreed the refusal should have been an automatic 45. Did you catch Don Stewart's article in The Chronicle about judging?

  10. Boo on the judging, that is shoddy work out of the judges. Although I'm in the same boat as SprinklerBandits and am more than a little biased when it comes to your gorgeous girl!


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