Horse show hangover is happening for real. I’m both super elated about how this weekend went and completely over it all and ready to decorate my house for Christmas and do non-horsey things for a little bit. Good news is that Simon has definitely earned a few days off and the weather is too yucky to ride anyway. By the middle of the week I’ll be re-charged and ready to go tackle the mess of dirty tack and wraps that I threw into my trunk at the end of the weekend 🙂 Now, on to day one!
The CTHJA Year End show was really well attended this year with some top barns that might not go to some of our usual horse shows. The show is held at the Waco show grounds which is typically a “A” only facility, so a lot of people use this show as a warm-up for the holiday horse show series that starts soon. Knowing that there were some really seasoned horses there, my goals for the weekend were to ride competently, try to move up to the 2’6″, and snag a ribbon if I was lucky.
Since I’m kind of obsessed with grooming and turnout, I braided for this show. My logic? a) braids are pretty, b) my horse is pretty in braids, c) it’s a year end show. Just like last year, I was the ONLY horse braided there. I just braided for Saturday (always lose motivation by Sunday), but it surprises/disappoints me that no one braids for this (or any) CTHJA show. Braiding doesn’t have to be expensive – you can learn to do it yourself. I think it’s a nice “extra” that tells your judge and your show organizer that you’re happy to be there… but I’ll get off my soap box. Several little girls came up to me on Saturday and told me that my horse was pretty, which made it worth it 🙂
Saturday we entered the Open 2’3″ Schooling division, a Modified (2’6″) Equitation Under Saddle class, and our usual 2’0″ Beginners classes. The schooling was first, and I headed to the ring feeling confident. The jumps didn’t look big at all (big win for me!) and I wasn’t petrified of total suckage. There were 29 horses in the schooling division, so really the best I could hope for was to give my green horse a good ride.
Our warm-up round was slow and careful… but maybe a little too slow. Nothing bad happened, but we got in a pattern of adding a tiny little stride right before the jump and repeated that a few times. I also chipped in a double add in the warm-up (oops) so I knew I needed to get going.
The two hunter courses were much better though. We opened up our pace a bit and had a nice clip going on. The goal next year is to start trying to do the actual strides instead of the adds, because I know he can do it… especially as I relax more with showing. Right now though, I’m pleased that we aren’t crawling and horribly chipping everywhere like we were last year. Improvement!
Another good thing about our schooling hunter trips was that he was really good with his changes. We got one that was pretty close to being clean and a few quick skip changes. For the stage our lead changes are right now, that’s about the best I can hope for!
After the schooling trips there was quite a long break before the modified eq us. While waiting, one of my barn mates came up and told me that we got a 5th in one of our schooling hunter rounds! I was shocked, but they ended up double pinning the class which helped our chances. Still, 29 is a lot of horses so I basically felt super special and checked off my “bring a ribbon home” goal for the weekend. Yay!
I’d like to tell you that the eq under saddle went really well, but it didn’t. It was so bad I deleted all the photos. I would like to pretend it didn’t happen. Let’s just say that flat classes are SO NOT our forte and it’s going to take a lot of work and perhaps years of maturity (on both our parts) to make that happen. Oh well, he’s so great in many ways I guess it will just take time!
Post flat class disaster we had another long break before our 2’0″ Beginners Hunter I trip. At this point I was so ready to be done for the day, and went in without trying as hard as I should have. We had a mediocre course. Spots were okay, but changes were completely non-existent. I had to break down to the trot and do simples, and didn’t even get a simple change at one point. My trainer told me it’s because I wasn’t being patient enough and actually breaking down all the way to the trot…which makes sense. We could have done better if I rode better, but I didn’t. Simon did his job and I scratched both flat classes from the Beginner division and put him away happy with our day one experience!
The only thing that really disappointed me with how I rode Saturday is some funky equitation I had going on. Lately I’ve been experimenting with an auto-release, which is a great tool but I haven’t perfected it yet. I also have gotten into the habit of not breaking at my hip enough over the jump. Add that to my chicken wing arm habit and having to ride with an open right rein to help Simon’s left drift… and I had some funky eq. Nothing horrid and nothing unfixable, just not my favorite to see in the reality of pictures!
Sunday was slightly more exciting, but you’ll have to hear about that another day!