Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Prix Caprilli tests and show prep

Thanks to *life*, I really only had a week or so to get ready for the show (erm...which was 2 weeks ago...).  We worked really hard on the tests though, on the Saturday before the show, the tests were really rough when we attempted them. Like, yikes.  On Sunday I wondered if I was crazy for thinking about doing this, others confirmed I was. On Monday, we finally had a small breakthrough and Mia stopped landing from the jump on the forehand. It's the small wins sometimes.  On Tuesday she decided it was probably okay to canter over the fence and stay balanced.  Big improvements were made and I thought it may not be an actual train wreck. On Wednesday though, Wednesday the puzzle pieces clicked and we had a really good ride.  Our only argument was her continued insistence on swapping leads over fences.
Not a bad test, right? Fairly simple, with a 2' fence.
I gave her Thursday off and rode again on Friday and I have to admit, I was pretty damn optimistic.  We still didn't know where exactly the jumps would be set up in the arena, or if the arena would be large or small, but I felt pretty confident in our, albeit short, preparation.  I mean, I literally gave myself a week and while the training level test wasn't that bad, the first level test is legit, omg, must be crazy hard.
A test that makes you wonder WTH you were on when you entered

I mean, seriously.  Leg yields to the jumps? 10m sitting trot? Extended canters? Oh my!  Our biggest issues with Test 2 were the right lead canter (where her haunches are always in), keeping the lead after going over a fence (grr), and that 10m circle.  All of the movements come so damn fast, you barely have time to collect and you really need to be on your A game. Surprisingly enough, the extended canters were actually really good and Mia does a great job of actually coming back after them.  Training win!! 

Also shows how the 2'6" jumps are placed in the arena
Never fear, Mia is a true rock star and was up to the challenge.  I had asked for the earliest ride time possible on Saturday as we had a concert that night at 8p, and the venue was 3 hours away.  Which only makes sense to put us at the literal last rides of the day at 245p and 258p.  Not. Helpful.  Thankfully the venue was literally 20 minutes from the barn so the plan was to go, show, drop horse at the barn, drive back to show and pick up tests and then go to the concert and miss all of the opening acts.  Such is life.  I didn't want to scratch since we had worked so hard in preparation for this!

Usually happy to see me, even if we are doing dressage
Saturday I went to the barn almost 2 hours early because I could lol.  Afternoon rides FTW.  Mia got an actual bath for the show AND we had time to free lunge because she just could not focus.  I was so happy I was able to give her an outlet for her energy instead of having to struggle with that energy at the show grounds.  With as much as she had been ridden, I didn't even consider being too energetic would have even been an issue, but Mia need to move and I actually had time to allow it!

Skeptical mare is skeptical
As we were getting ready to leave, one of the barn owners showed up and let me know she had decided to show in the Test 1 class too.  Great yet another rider to ride before me, pushing my ride back even further. Grr!  We got to the show ground and found our way around. The indoor being used for warmup (and there was NO WHERE else to warm up) was very hot, very humid and very stuffy.  There was no airflow whatsoever and it was so stagnant, it was really hard to do good work as I felt the energy being zapped.

Happy mare after a good ride, pieces are coming together
The show steward came down and said we could warm up over the fences in the show arena, which was cool but surprising.  The other riders for Test 1 took a lot more time to warm up, I simply put Mia over 2 of the 3 fences once and then stood outside of the arena while Mia semi napped. It was hot in the sunlight, but so much better than being in that indoor so we just stood in the sunshine and I tried to chat people up.  How did we do?  Find out in the next post!