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I guess it’s not really “playing” since I AM the owner, but I really wanted to have Holly show Cally a bit, and enjoy sitting back to watch, since I’ve greatly enjoyed getting to do that in watching some schooling rides. She’s done a few shows but other than the itty bitty jumpers, hasn’t done much jumping at shows yet this year. So plans were made to head to the show at WBTA this past weekend, which is sadly no longer rated. But it would be the perfect venue for Holly to take her in the Thoroughbreds, and depending on how she went and how the day was going, I might take her in a medal or something.

Our lesson Wednesday started off with Holly riding her, doing some flatwork (which Cally did not appreciate, having done flatwork and dressage showing last weekend!) and then doing some jumping work with her that included working on a bending line from a groundpole to a jump that was set at a 6, but adjusting from 6 to 7 and back and forth to get her really listening. Cally perked right up when she realized jumping was going to be involved, and was suddenly visibly happier.

And so much easier to ride when I hopped on halfway through the lesson! We did the groundpole to the jump a few times, working on our striding, and then put a bit of a course together, including adding in the pole-to-jump line and a trot-in line. And Cally felt so fantastic and really nailed everything.

That left me feeling very optimistic about Saturday’s show, and thinking that maybe I could have Holly do her in the TBs, then I could do the Adults. And then the day of the show rolled around, and I realized that I get off work at 2AM and have to be up again by 5AM to get to the barn by 6ish to hook up the trailer and scrub Cally’s socks white, and decided that while I had all the fancy show clothes with me, I really just wanted to play Owner and have Holly do the showing.

I did hop on briefly, suitably attired, to warm her up. Except I was in Holly’s saddle (which is a super comfortable Childric) and didn’t lengthen her stirrups and that was a mistake, because I felt like a jockey. And there were ponies that didn’t steer so well, and one that seemed to always be behind me no matter how I turned or cut a corner or went across the ring. But she warmed up well, and was feeling pretty relaxed, so I headed back over to the pony ring, where we had two in the Leadline and MiniStirrup, cheered them on, and then handed my horse over.

We’d been worried that the MiniStirrup might conflict with the TBs in the big ring, since it was the second division of the day in there. But that turned out very much not to be the case. My horse didn’t go in the ring until 11. I forgot how much standing around and waiting there can be at hunter shows. But she and Holly went in and laid down a really nice first trip, and only had one slight peeky moment at an outside oxer out of a giant mudpuddle, but it was a very solid round, and I was so so happy with how nicely Cally went around with Holly.

They had a bit of a breather, went over the second course, and went in and just totally nailed it.

I’m really not sure how they could have improved it, and Holly isn’t either. Nailed all the spots and distances, made the lines look easy, and the horse jumped well. Maybe a tich faster than ideal hunter pace, but it was consistent and the horse looked happy doing her job. And Holly had fun! I was thrilled, and knew we’d end up with some nice ribbons. So we waited around for the undersaddle. And waited and waited through a ring hold for a trainer conflict. Like, we had lunch while we waited, which was the best horse show food ever, Tacos In A Bag.  Turns out Cally likes Fritos.

Finally, the other riders went, and then they went undersaddle.  Cally is not be prettiest, hunteriest mover on the flat, so I usually have pretty modest undersaddle expectations.  She did great with Holly though, if not the floatiest mover then at least was at least shown to her best, as Holly had her put together and moving well.  I was really happy with how she went in there.

I was delighted when they were called in 3rd for the undersaddle, as that was the best she’s done in a class that size before. I was happy to hear her called in 3rd for the first course too. But then was totally perplexed when the second course, the better course, was 5th. Um, ok, color us confused.  Welcome to hunterland, where sometimes your great round pins below your good round.

But this wasn’t so much about the ribbons (though they are pretty) as getting her out to have a good start over fences for the year.  And she most definitely had that.  No placing or schooling show ribbon matters more than getting the horse off on the right hoof in the show ring for the year–we’ve got a lot of fun stuff planned for this year, and this gave Cally a positive, confident start for it.  That’s what I wanted for the day, and that’s what we got.

As much as I would have loved to go in an do something, we’d been there since 8:15, it was after 1, and I’d had two hours of sleep and just wanted to go home.  I closed out the check, grabbed sodas for both me and Holly from the concession stand, and battled beltway traffic back to the barn, mainly because what I wanted more than a great trip in the ring, was a nap.

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