Friday dawned with less rain than expected which is always a nice start to a show day when you're stuck in the baby outdoor ring :)
The plan was to carry our "no warm up" plan forward since it seemed to work for us on Thursday. Prair got hacked in the am to stretch her legs, then didn't come out until a Low 2'3" round with N mid morning.
Stall to Ring. And it looked great.
Prair took a short siesta while they reset for my 2'6" Eq and we did the same:
Stall to Ring.
I added a Low round to work out any kinks, but we didn't really need it. Prar was soft, and lovely the entire way.
Our first Eq course was also pretty decent, I got out of my tack a bit more and loosened my shoulder which allowed for some pretty lovely distances and a steady rhythm. The course itself was a boring line-diagonal-line-diagonal game, so not much to equitate, but riding Prair when she's calm and happy is fun regardless of what's going on.
Our second round start to build a bit more and that in turn makes me want to brace and stiffen the mare. We worked it all out but didn't quite have the same loose flow our first two rounds did. Also a dove flew out of the hedge in our closing circle and that was apparently unacceptable
according to Prair. Birds are to stay put according to her I guess.
I was a tad worried that her building stress would backfire on us in the flat, but she held it together. I did feel that our "no warm up" plan showed itself most in our flat class as Prair was fully in her "big mare don't care" mode since I usually let her trot around however she wants for 10 minutes when we start our rides at home. We've learned that instead of really asking for a frame or stretch when we first start letting the mare bobble around on a loose rein and find her own balance works really well and keeps her calm.
However, it's not necessarily the cutest look in the ring.
We had a good day though and managed to win all three classes for our division.
And it's always nice to kick off a weekend of showing with a big tassel-y tricolor (love a good tassel on a ribbon) and a cooler to go with. Takes some of the pressure off :)
|Annnnd, it didn't rain!|
Then we had a nice long break to watch the juniors do all their fancy medals and whatnot before a terrifying Equitation Challenge thingy.
In hindsight, I shouldn't have entered, but our entire barn always shows it and the entry fee goes to the scholarship fund so it's all for a good cause... But I know
Prair rarely does well coming back out after a long break, and the class was being held in the enormously spooky indoor, which we hadn't schooled in at all during the week. Two rather large strikes against us.
She's shown in the scary indoor before, and she's even done relatively well in there before - but every time it takes a day or two before she is able to relax and not freak out.
The format of the class was also a tad odd. There were three sections (14&U, 15-17, 18&O) with the top four from each section returning for a final class. I assumed the first three classes would run like a normal Eq on the flat (WTC each way, maybe sit the trot and lengthen, maybe not) then pin.
Turns out no. They started each section (about 20 peeps) on the rail and picked people off one by one as soon as they screwed up. So some people didn't even get around the ring once before they were called to the middle of the ring. The class continued (with increasing difficulty) until there was only one horse and rider left standing. They did this three times, then repeated the process for the final.
The whole notion of being picked off one by one was terrifying to me. I've had bad flat classes but I always assume that once I've embarrassed myself or the judge has dismissed me from their ribbon list, they stop looking at you and move on to everyone else. Also, when I'm watching a class run I'm always trying to pick the winner and rarely spend time looking at the person who's having a mediocre or poor time in the ring. But I take solace in the fact that I can just melt into the crowd and not have my mistakes OBVIOUSLY pointed out to everyone in the stands. Also, I usually hope that a 95% good ride might make up for an early bobble.
No such opportunity in this class. Start on the wrong diagonal and BAM, "#27 to the middle of the ring please."
Horse looks a tad stiff in the counter canter? "#45 to the middle please"
Ugly downward transition? "To the middle please"
Small spook at a kid running alongside the rail "TO THE MIDDLE"
Needless to say I was totally freaked before we even entered the ring. Prair was a tad overwhelmed and got veeeeerrrrryyyyy
light on her front end. I tried to make use our of entry to loosen her up, but the class called to order immediately and I just never got to let her out.
We survived the first walk, trot and canter. Then we sat the trot, reversed and called for the second canter. Priar was a firecracker and definitely moving more up and down than forward in her first three strides and that got us called in. We finished in the middle of the pack but missed the cutoff for the final (which was fine
by me at that point...). I took solace in the fact that Prair was at least willing to stand quietly in the center while the rest of the class finished their torture.
Tbe bright spot in an otherwise miserable experience was that a junior from our barn won the whole thing. The final ride-off was long, hard and fairly difficult. She and her gelding laid down a gorgeous ride to take home a tricolor neck ribbon (SWOON) and lots of goodies including a bridle and big gift card.
The stress of the class left a sour taste in my mouth on the day, but the more I reflect back, the more I recall how much fun I had with Prair in the morning and how proud I am of both of us for our performance with this whole no warm-up thing.
Saturday we only had half our Hunter Division to worry about.
We did the same warm up as Friday - a Low 2'3" for N, then a Low 2'6" as my warm up before two division classes and our Under Saddle.
The system seems to work, and Prair was a star.
Like Friday, we seemed to build up some steam (nothing compared to what we used to do) and our last course was our worst. I stood up a bit too much and took tad more than necessary with my hand, but the good outweighed the bad and mostly things were fabulous
by our own relative standards. I stayed straighter, Prair's changes were soft and prompt, and we looked mostly Hunter-y.
For the division we snagged a 2nd and 3rd over fences, and 1st under saddle. Out of 5 pretty solid 2'6" ammys with nice horses, I was proud of how we did.
Usually I would have stayed to watch the Derby, but the sun was shining, which made the idea of wine on my deck sound more appealing that shivering in the freezing cold indoor. Plus, The Boy is a saint of a husband and doesn't complain about having the baby all weekend, but I try not to abuse that graciousness... so home I went, and wine I had.
|Horseshowing at its finest|
Sunday we finished our division, and enjoyed some Easter festivities at the show. I had both the baby and The Boy in tow so there's actually photographic evidence (and video!) of our last couple rounds.