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So after the Deer Encounter last weekend, I made arrangements through my insurance to take my darling Yukon in for repairs.  Except the damage to the old girl put her over Totalling value.  Which means that it was with a great deal of tears and fond memories that I went to the shop to clean out the dressage girth and pile of CDs and old umbrella and ice scraper, loose change and buoy rope from Cape Cod and bag of peppermints, and say goodbye.  I’m not too proud to say that I was crying as I did it.

But, I have a lead on a new vehicle, as a friend at the barn almost jokingly said she’d sell me her Expedition, and we’re looking at making that happen.  So hopefully I won’t be without transportation for too long, as I have a nice new-to-me trailer I’d like use, and also, I have a paid entry for a dressage show next weekend I’d like to not scratch.

Fortunately, for this weekend’s entry at PVDA’s Spring Show, my friend Hannah was also going, and was very kindly willing to take Cally and me along with her.  Obviously, in exchange for gas money, and lunch, because food is important.  So I woke up at O’dark thirty, headed over to the barn, and brought Cally in.  Mercifully, she stayed clean overnight, so I just had to wet down her mane and throw in a few braids.  She got braided, and finished breakfast just in time for Hannah to show up.  Cally loaded right on a strange trailer with a strange horse, even after the chaos last week.  She’s a total pro.

We made good time to Morven, got checked in, got fussed over a bit for the sidesaddle thing, and the TD stopped me and handed me an evaluation form, complete with addressed stamped envelope.  I thought that was odd, since any competitor can fill out a Competition Evaluation via the USEF site, but sure, I can provide some comments.  When I got home, I realized that it was a Judge and Competitor Report, which is apparently something different and fancier?  Not sure how I, a random Training level competitor, ended up being handed one, but sure, I’ll fill it out for them.

Before we even got down to the ring, we were oooooh-ed and aaaaah-ed over twice, for the sidesaddle thing.  Cally was feeling very chill, and focused and easy to ride.  Which was good, because even though it was cool, I was pretty toasty in all my layers.  We waited our turn to go in, and she didn’t bat an eye at the judge’s stand or flowers or anything.  Cally and I headed down the centerline for Training 2 and put in a pretty accurate test, possibly not quite as energetic as I would have liked, but it felt pretty easy.  There were weak points, like the stretchy circle, but that’s always a weak point.  Overall it was quiet, accurate, and solid.

Lots of pats as we headed back to the trailer to chill.  Cally got to go back on and take a nap, while I got to go in to the fancy indoor for an actual soundcheck with real sound equipment.  I got to stand in the middle of the ring and do a little dance as everyone giggled a little during the intro “Singin in the Rain” music.  Of course, everyone else was having just as much fun with their soundchecks, and one lady asked if we could just do our freestyles ourselves.

I warmed up with a whip for the Freestyle, got a little more energy, and took a deep breath as we headed in to the indoor for our recognized freestyle debut.  Cally was rather looky in that ring, as there are odd windows along the side, the plexiglass to which was sitting down on the ground and drawing her attention in a rather spooky way as we went around.  But the music cue started off just right for us to hit our halt salute at X, so I was feeling optimistic.

The music cues are still a little off, so I need to do a bit more tweaking, like a smidge longer walk music.  And obviously the lead thing into the first canter.  I was a bit disappointed, because I feel like we could have just done better, but I also recognize that Cally was not thrilled at that ring (it’s really obvious how looky she is in the still pro photos), or at going in to do a second dressage test.  She was looking for jumps, and was disappointed at life in the dressage ring.

We ate lunch while were waiting around for the scores for our tests to be finalized.  If you’re at Morven for any reason, I highly recommend the Frickles With BoomBoom Sauce.

It turns out that in a very large Training 2 class, we ended up in 2nd!  I could not have been more thrilled with that.  Shocked, but super thrilled!  Cally was less than thrilled, but that’s because she already knows how amazing she is.

The better news is that we finished our Freestyle with a 63.3%!  That’s good enough for a CBLM qualifying score, and 3rd place in the class.  And also, it means we’ve got all three scores we need at Freestyle for a PVDA year-end award.

For a horse whose primary discipline is not dressage, and who doesn’t even like dressage, she’s put in better scores aside than we did astride, and even when the tests feel like less than our best, they’re still better than we were getting astride.  We’ve got one more rated dressage show to go next weekend (that was our BLM score-earning backup), and then hopefully we’ll be getting back to doing what we both really love–jumping! And proper Ladies Sidesaddle Hunter.

There’s so much fun on the agenda, just as soon as I get over mourning the Yukon, and get the towing situation figured out.

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