Last Saturday was our first Stellar Riding Schooling Show.  Lots of hard work getting everything prepped, courses set, me fighting with software to figure out how to make course diagrams that we could print out then having my color printer fail so I had to color fences with crayons, etc.  Weather reports had been all over the place all week, and the night before, they were calling for hot Hot HOT weather.  But the rings and courses looked great, so I was excited to wake up early and roll in to get Cally all ready to go before I had to take on my Gate duty.

Fortunately she’d been bathed the night before and stayed pretty clean, so I just had to do a quick scrub of socks, and she got fly sprayed and tossed in her stall while I headed up to the rings.  Everything was looking good, and for a first show we had a pretty nice turnout.  Naturally the day started off with Leadline, and Holly’s daughter was trying out sidesaddle for the first time, in the habit I made for her.  She was adorable, and looked fabulous, and walked away with a pretty red ribbon.  Then it was a lot of flat classes, so my job as Gate Person were pretty easy, since everyone was staying in the ring.

For laughs, Cally and I did the Model class, and she actually finished 2nd there, despite her assorted bangs and bumps.  She got a bit more rest as I actually manned gate for a few 2′ divisions, then I headed down to get all dressed up for our two sidesaddle classes.  Which is absolutely awesome to have at a schooling show, since we don’t need to do appointments, and it’s a lot more inviting for new competitors.  One of Holly’s newer aside students was also showing in it, for the first time aside.

I really liked how the tweed habit looked on Cally, but I definitely need to lower the hem on the apron.  and I forgot a pin to keep the tail of the apron in place, so it kind of came loose from where I tucked it into the top of my boot.  So perhaps not our most elegant by the end of things, bu I was really really happy with how she went.

Hitch, the other horse, is actually a bit better mover, but by dint of being a big more experienced just letting the horse move out at the trot, we actually ended up winning both classes!

I then had a really quick turnaround to do the big Medal class (just one division), so ended up being a bit casually turned out for the medal–I kept on the brown boots and olive breeches I had on with the habit, and just swapped out my tweed and vest for my techy FITS coat, which was a vast improvement in the heat.  She was a little tired from the heat and confused and being pulled back and forth to the ring at her own home, and we were just a bit chippy in our rounds, though she was fantastically rideable and did some great inside turns.  I was actually pretty happy with her, and we finished 3rd, to round out our collection of primary colored ribbons for the day.

Sunday was day off for my mom’s birthday, and some much-needed rest.  On Monday, we kicked off May with a really fun lesson.  Holly had reset the rings with new courses, and the smaller ring now included a bounce and a crazy looking X of fences.  I feel like I’d seen one before but never actually jumped one, so I was kind of excited about it, even if it looked a little terrifying.

We started off with a little flatwork, just enough to loosen her up now that they’re on night turnout and she’d been in a stall for a few hours, then started over a normal x-rail a few times.  Then we headed for the X fence, and I was told the challenge was to be very accurate at the center, and not lean at it.  It was a little bumbly the first couple times through as I felt Cally looking hard at it trying to figure out what was being asked of her, but after going over it twice, we found our groove.

I really liked it, because if you were off and missed, you’d sort of end up jumping one side as a skinny, which we accidentally did once, because the turn I made lined us up for that, and it was what Cally saw. The challenge, once you got over it looking weird, was really to pick the correct track to the center of the fence, and to wait for it, because the positioning of the standards made your mind want to lean at it it too. I really liked it as an exercise, and it’s something that is easily adapted to most levels, from groundpoles on up. And it was fun to integrate into a bit of a course, because you could jump it from a multitude of approaches.

I am just so happy with how nicely she’s going now. Cally feels the most rideable she ever has, and is happily listening to what’s being asked of her and working with me, because she seems to realize that it’s more fun when we work together, and get to do more challenging things.

We’ve got some big challenges coming up this weekend–we’re doing our musical freestyle again, along with trying 1-1 for the first time.  Both aside!  And I did our entries for two other rated dressage shows later this month, so hopefully we can get our BLM qualifying scores for both Freestyle and Training.  Not sure I’ll actually go, as it’s a bit of a haul and a big expense, but I want to put the option on the table for myself.  Plus we’ve got St. Christopher’s coming up for Ladies Sidesaddle, and I want to mix in a few more shows of jumpers, possibly with Holly on her moving her up a bit.  May’s going to be a big, busy month for us, if all goes to plan!

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