On Sunday we had our show, this is our second "big" show of the year, a real three phase Horse Trial. Horse Trials are ran with 3 rides and the combined score determines your placing, first dressage, then cross country and finally stadium jumping. Unfortunately since we haven't been riding much this past month due to the fencing project, having a friend in town and volunteering last weekend, I really only had a week to prepare for the show. My next show is in 2 weeks and I swear I will be better prepared!
I was super busy on Saturday and was successful in accomplishing everything on my list! Loading and filling water tank? Check! Cleaning tack? Check! Loading tack? Check! Loading show clothes? Check! Hay nets? Check! Bathe horse? Check! Ride horse? Check! I was very happy with my accomplishments Saturday night around 8p as I was riding. Until I realized I had forgotten to go walk the cross country course because I didn't write it on the dang list. DAMN!! Timing was going to be tight, I only had an hour and a half between dressage and cross country and walking the course usually takes at least a half hour. Damn!
I was lucky enough to have RB4 and another friend come help me and their help was awesome! They braided him, helped tack/untack him, rinsed him off and kept great company with me, I certainly couldn't have asked for much better help. Dressage was a little rocky, both the TWH and I were a little tense and it seemed to show. He started our warmup by shuffling the trot instead of truly trotting and half of our warmup consisted of lengthening/shortening the trot in an effort to get the true trot back. As we went around the ring I realized I had only practiced the pattern once in the past month, way to go silly! I went through my memory, hoping I remembered the pattern, when the judge ran the bell. Damn.
We made our way into the dressage ring and the TWH dumped himself on the forehand and worked hard to stay there the entire ride. I tried fixing some of it by doing a little lengthening after our first turn at C and while I thought the trot felt really nice, it only earned us a 6. The judge seemed to love our canter however and surprisingly enough both canter departs and canters earned us 7's! My first transition down went quite smoothly and the freewalk was good but inconsistent in the stretch. His trot at A was prompt and I worked to get a little lengthening before our circle at C but didn't get much. Our second canter/trot transition was a little rocky with him pacing 2-3 steps before picking up the trot but we finished nicely. Needless to say I was a little shocked when I got our test, she gave us a four for both canter/trot transitions. A FOUR?!? I really, truly think it was a bit undeserved, the first transition he had only a single step of pace! One could chalk it up to imbalance or whatever like i normally get, I could understand if we were showing 2nd or 3rd level dressage but this is the equivalent of training level :-( She gave him a 5 on his gaits saying that he paces out of the canter and is lateral in the walk but she did give me a 7 for my position and seat. Her comments said he was cute but gets lateral in the trot and walk. Ugh.
I was reminded that we are paying for one persons opinion at that moment on that day and I shouldn't get too upset about it. I heard a competitor say the same judge wrote "Horse doesn't seem to want to be here today". I was fairly happy overall though, we got a 39.5 score and it put us 5th out of 15 in our class. Time to hurry up though, we gotta walk the cross country course!