Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Winning all the things

Dressage mare can dressage
Have I mentioned that moving sucks? And going from having your own barn to boarding again kinda sucks? Saturday I spent 2 hours, TWO HOURS just finding, organizing and preparing my things for the show. And that is all before I left the house. Ugh. My shipping wraps had been washed and dried and then needed re-packed. My show sheet, sleezy, liniment, poultice, clippers and what not all had to be located. My show clothes were discovered in three different locations and they all needed to be tried on, organized, etc. The result? I now have 2 sets of show clothes. My main set and a backup set, both now living in my trailer. I got all of the barn things (that now live in the basement) about a third organized and I know where the dedicated boxes live. Progress!

Our short ride on Saturday was very good, I had 3 people comment about Mia's LOVELY tail and that Mia looked really good under saddle.  She bathed and clipped well (yay!) and a good 3 hours later, I left the barn.  After all of this prep, I was finally ready.

Braids courtesy of Braid-eez.  Need more practice though
SO ended up joining me, to my surprise as I expected him to just show up and watch classes.  Love company!  We left the house at the decent hour of 6a so we could make the 45 min drive to the barn and the 2 hour drive to the show.  Fun times.  We said hi to the barn owner who was showing the Novice division (and had to leave the barn at 5a) and I hopped on.  Mia was pretty good in warmup, but she kept her head fairly high and was not stretching down into the bridle.  We focused on keeping a nice and slow tempo like we have been working towards and kept the warmup short.  Like Sinatra, she doesn't need a ton of warmup which is really nice.

Tail love!
The dressage test went pretty well, the parts I didn't like she scored me well on and the parts I thought we did well she scored us low, go figure.  The first trot circle, for example, she gave us a 5.5 for uneven steps but I don't remember them.  Or see them in the pictures.  Oh well.  We got a lot of 7's which really helped our score and even an 8!  Our biggest thing right now, not surprisingly, is staying straight.  Mia just can't go in a straight line so we will be working a lot on that in the coming weeks.  We got a 34% which put us 3rd of 12 horses.  NICE!!
Nice relaxed canter.  Now need to package it back up
I didn't get a chance to walk the SJ course because I was walking the xc course instead, thankfully that only took 30 minutes so I got ready for SJ.  I watched the other competitors and nothing looked tricky and the only thing that became tricky was a 90 degree turn from jumps 3 to 4.  Mia is getting SO much better at stadium now, our last few rides over stadium has been VERY sternly reminding her that she cannot take off over fences and the lesson stuck.  She didn't even HIT a pole, what a huge improvement WOOHOO!.
Nice relaxed canter the other direction.  Still need to package it back up
There is this one picture at fence 4, below, where she met the distance right but for some reason just didn't go.  Her front end is really low like she is horse chasing a cow, she basically did the 4 footed step that Sinatra could do.  This, of course, threw me forward and she did a great job of popping me out of the tack.  Thankfully she went over, I stayed on, and the rest of the fences rode like no big deal.  And we went double clear.  Turns out, that helped us move up to 2nd when the 1st place rider forgot the course and was eliminated. WOW 2nd!!!
What the what, what mare?  Why apply the brakey brakes?
Cross country actually had me a little nervous.  We hadn't ever been there before, we hadn't gone actual XC schooling since September and finally, there were no warmup xc fences.  We went off and she was a bit looky, sadly I actually had to smack her over the first 2 fences bc she was going to stop.  Ugh!  That happened last year, if you recall, when she had 3 refusals at our first Horse Trial of the year.  At the 3rd jump I smacked her out of caution, but by then she had decided/realized we were going XC and my XC machine was back.  We went over fence four and I had to haul on her to get her to slow down for the water crossing.  She couldn't possibly go straight to get to fence 6 so I brought her back to a trot and trotted to 6.  Seven was a bending line from 6, with a down and up hill.  Time was not ticking by fast enough so I brought her to a walk down the hill (it was pretty steep) and trotted over fence 7.  
Fence 8 was an easy log, as was 9.  Mia couldn't have cared.  I was getting dangerously close to speed fault time so we slowed down to fence 10 and over the ditch (without a glance) of 11.  We had 2 fences left and almost 90 seconds till optimum time.  Oops!  I put Mia in the slowest dressage canter I could and we finished at 4:10.  Speed fault was at 3:41 and Optimum time was 4:59.  Well, that isn't all that bad lol.  Not long after I finished, the person behind me finished and we chatted.  She was sitting in first place and said she went double clear.  I was excited, 2nd place!
Well, the moral of the story?  Ride with your watch.  We waited for results and I sat gape-mouthed as I heard the placings.  I was in first place!  That person in 1st had 10 points of speed faults for going too fast so I moved up to 1st.  I am so happy, for it being a new place, Mia did so great.  There is always things that can be better, but she really showed up to play.  And not only did we win the division, we also got a ribbon in dressage (MORE RIBBONS!?  YES PLEASE!) AND we got a dandy brush with the show name and word Champion on it.  AHH!   STUFFS!! Love stuffs!
XC fence one, required several smacks, and now off center
Homework?  Well, I REALLY need to find a way to rate Mia in XC better.  At this point, I am thinking a bigger bit. We have ridden exclusively in a regular snaffle, maybe she needs more to be reminded to slow down.  She just goes and unless I yank on her, she doesn't like to slow down.  We really need to work on straight.  Even when not applying any leg or rein aids, she will drift off of straight, so I need to find out what the magic formula is going to be for her.  Lastly I need to get her to stretch down into the bridle more.  I think she does stretch down, but pics don't lie and she doesn't.  The good?  Did you check out my position?  So awesome!
Smacks applied, not really needed
Next weekend is another race with the racecar so Mia is getting a nice long break. Our next show is tentatively in July (possibly 2 shows?) so we have time to work on this stuff.


  1. Yay winning!! I hated showing there because it's always so busy and insane in the warm UPS and their stadium course is (maybe just was?) sooo small and stuffed in there, but heck yeah they give awesome prizes and ribbons!

  2. You guys did great. Congrats on all the 'stuffs' :)

    Mia probably doesn't see the point of 'rating'- typical mare- going at her speed :)

  3. Wow you guys look fantastic!!!! Congrats on clinching the win in your first outing of the year!

  4. Congrats on the win and the stuffs. Good job watching the clock.