It was HOT on Saturday, but I was as prepared as I could be. There was a bag of ice and a lot of Gatorade in the cooler, and I did all my prep work in shorts and then changed into show clothes before shipping out. Cally got trailered in just bell boots and polo wraps (and while still wet!) to keep her as cool as possible.
Even so, pulling breeches and boots onto already hot, sweaty legs wasn’t so easy, especially, as it turns out, with full seats! But we got great approval from the barnmates on the white breeches/pale blue polo shirt look, and admiration for finding white breeches that weren’t see-through. After conquering the fear of white, full-seat breeches, I had to conquer my big trailering fear–taking it on the highway, with the horse. The easiest and quickest way to get there was via 270 and 340, so I gritted my teeth, took a deep breath, and off we went. Acceleration up to highway speed is slow, but there wasn’t a ton of traffic, and I managed without any problems at all, even the scary swing across from the 270 merging lanes to the exit for 15/340.
We got to the show early, because I suspected it might be running a bit early due to the heat, and it was. But the early arrival gave me plenty of time to hydrate, to sponge Cally off with some cold water, and take my time getting ready.
I got on ten minutes before 3, with a scheduled first ride at 3:38. I did a very mild bit of warmup in their indoor, enough to see I had a horse who didn’t want to go forward much in the heat. Given that factor, I didn’t want to push her too much, so I called it good and went out to the warmup field near the ring and hand galloped up one long side of it, maybe 100 yards, just enough to wake her up and get her forward. The warmup steward told me I was good to go at that point if I wanted to, and while Cally wasn’t at the point of warmup I’d like to see her at, I knew if I took the time to get her there, I wasn’t going to have any horse for my tests, so into the ring we went.
The first test, Beginner Novice A, was all right, not as forward or connected as I’d like it to have been, or as we’ve been doing at home, but it was mostly quiet and not particularly forward. We both caught our breaths between tests, then headed down the center line for test B with a lot more assertive riding on my part, and really trying to send her forward into the movements.
I can see from pictures taken by the World’s Best Boyfriend, who generously came along to make sure I stayed hydrated and kept the white pants clean, that I really, really need to keep my shoulders BACK! They’re horribly forward in what would be a good default Eq position, but not so much for dressage. I’m sure that didn’t help us in the staying balanced and connected department. Test B was better than A, aside from a spook during our downward transition near E. The judge commented after our tests about how lovely the horse was when she got connected and through, and to work on getting her there more consistently. It’s good to hear that she’s getting there at least sometimes in tests, enough to impress an “r” judge, and one day, if we keep working, we might just get there all the time.
The judge for the day is someone that is fair but tough in their scoring, so imagine my surprise, after washing off and cleaning up, that I went to get my scores and found we got a 67% and a 67.6% percent! I was thrilled, especially knowing I got those scores without riding as well as I know I can. Cally was just happy for a few cold carrots and a ride home to dinner and her friends.