After our hot day of showing yesterday, I wasn’t particularly thrilled to wake up and head out to show again, but we were at least showing at home, and it had cooled off a bit overnight. So I headed out with clean saddle pads and my body protector, ready to go. To say Cally looked less than enthused to see me might be an understatement, but the show must go on.
We didn’t do much warmup for our two dressage tests. I could tell there wasn’t much left in the tank, but she was being reasonably good and quiet, so I was happy to go with that. Our Beginner Novice B test was first, and the more I ride it, the more I like it. There are a lot of diagonals and circles, but not big laps of the ring like BNA has. The test felt good, if a little behind the leg, and the right lead canter circle was very counterbent–she was being a little funny about the end of the ring down by the gate, and was acting too distracted to go with anything more than “quiet” there. Sometimes you have to pick your battles. Training 1 was a test I wanted to ride since we’re doing it at our recognized show the end of August, and I haven’t ridden it in the show ring before. I wasn’t sure about a few of the movements–there are a couple of canter half-circles that read a bit odd–but it actually rode pretty nicely. We need to work on our stretchy trot circle, and I didn’t have much horse left by the end of the test, but it felt solid.
We had enough time between our dressage and jump rounds that I was not only able to untack, but to hose off and let her stand in front of her fan for a while as I had a drink and got her jumping stuff together. That really seemed to help her, as she was nice and cool when we headed up to the jumping ring. She didn’t give much of a glance to the tents and odd trailers up top, which was nice; she was more confused by why we were headed into a paddock. We popped over exactly two fences, the vertical and the oxer, before pulling up and going into nap mode by the fence. I didn’t know what our dressage score was or where it put us going into the jumping, so I figured my goal was to just go in and jump clean. The first 6 fences, in the ring, were a little quick, but solid, not even getting a bat of the eye from her. Cally was a little confused by heading out of the ring and into another pasture, and it took a stick first XC fence for her to get in the groove. Then the next three– a bench, a coop, and a log– went very nicely, to the point that she really got rolling and started pulling down the to aiken. After that she got so strong I actually slowed back to a walk to regroup before making the turn back to the haybales, and back up to the ring. The mini-XC got her pretty revved up to head back into the ring for the final four fences, despite how tired she was. The first fence back in the ring was a little gate, and while she was nice and balanced coming to it, I could also feel how tired she was when she was balanced and going. The turn from it around to another vertical started off quick, but she rebalanced well there. But I never got her back for the turn to the final bending line, and she ended up pulling right through me to leave a stride out of that line. It was not the note I’d have liked to end on, but it was as much her being tired and finding it easier to run at things than rebalance and jump, and me not riding well and not making her listen and rebalance.
She got rinsed, vetrolin bathed, and rinsed again, and cooled off pretty nicely. I got her a carrot when I helped myself to Gatorade, then left her in front of her fan while I went to see what our scores looked like. It turns out that our 33.57 with a clean jumping round was enough to leave us in 1st place in the Jumpalooza Combined Test! We not only won our blue ribbon, but also a trophy, a bag of treats, and a magnetic mirror for the trailer! That’s more than we’ve ever won before, and I was really proud of how she handled the heat and all our showing this weekend, so that felt like a great success. I took her trophy and ribbon back to show her, and let her have half a dozen treats, because she earned them. Our Training 1 test earned us 65.63, leaving us tied with another rider in the Dressage TOC division; when all was tallied and tie-broken, we ended up in 3rd place in that division. I can’t complain, because any time 65% ends up being your low score for the weekend, and 3rd is your lowest placing, you’re doing really well.
After all the hard work, I know what we need to work on with her to get ready for the recognized show. But first, Cally has earned herself a week off this week, because she’s worked hard and more than deserves a break.