Last weekend’s show plans ended up being a bit of a literal washout–sidesaddle at Rose Mount didn’t fill, so we didn’t end up showing there, then it poured down rain for two days straight and I ended up scratching us from the musical freestyle at Dressage, By Chance? So while it ended up being a nice weekend from a “relaxing with WBBF and Daisy A Dog” point of view, sort of ended up as a bust on the horse showing front.
But! We had big plans for this weekend. We had two excellent lessons this week, a great jump lesson with Holly on Monday, then a dressage lesson with Aviva on Friday. Cally was going fantastic in our dressage lesson, and we had a great run-through of bits of our First Level tests. We also discussed the value of obviously working to correct something, or letting it not be perfectly to a letter but done right, to show understanding of things being a work in progress, and that I understand the training process.
We were the last rides of the day at the show, and I felt like I was really able to use a lot of what we worked on in our lesson Friday to warm her up properly–a lot of little steps of quasi-leg-yield at the walk warming up, getting her stepping up nicely from behind before asking for the trot, and just really getting her relaxed and swinging at the trot through some bending and suppling. It really paid off in spades, because we had a seriously the best dressage test I’ve ever ridden. It wasn’t perfect, but it had such good work in it. Our second test, 1-2, was less good, not because Cally was any less awesome, but because I was having trouble with the direction through the leg yield movements and ended up going the wrong way and having an error on the test, and made a few other errors of geometry that left quite a few points on the table. But we still ended up with a 2nd with 61% and a 4th with 58%, and ended up Reserve Champion for First!
Never did I ever expect to get a tricolor at a dressage show at First level! Especially because we finished second only to a Lipizzaner, and if you’ve got to finish behind someone in dressage, that’s not an unimpressive breed to follow behind, especially if you’re on a racetrack reject whose primary job isn’t even dressage. I’ve got another chance this coming weekend to redeem myself on 1-2, so hopefully we’ll do just as well there.
Then on Sunday, we headed down to BEST for our primary job–equitation! I actually got there early so we could do a jumper round to warmup, since doing a round then hanging out a while before our primary rounds seemed to work really fantastically for us at Caves the other week. So we checked in and hustled over to the jumper ring, where we did the Timed First Jumpoff in the OTTB jumpers, which we actually did earlier this spring. Holly’s masterplan for us was to ride it like an eq trip, just work on turns and keeping my leg on. There were some nice bending lines and turning questions that worked perfectly as an eq warmup, and other than me failing to put my leg on to the first fence (fortunately, Jumpers, so it didn’t really matter), it was a really nice round that both Holly and I were super pleased with as a warmup round for the day!
I was even more astonished when I checked back later and found out that we finished second in the class for that trip! What a great start to the day!
There was a pretty good group from our barn there, so while Cally was chilling on the trailer with her haynet, I got to walk over to the hunter ring to watch our two riders in the Junior Hunter class, and they put in great trips! So fun to get to watch and cheer them on in their classes and classic. Once they headed in to flat, I headed back to get Cally ready for the MHSA Low Adult medal, which was being open carded with a bunch of other stuff in the other ring. We did very light warmup, literally just jumped one fence since she’d done the jumper round earlier, and headed over to the ring.
It was an OK round, a lot of singles and the third fence, which was set right across the ring on the short end, seemed to kind of surprise her and we ended up with an ugly distance there, but since that was sort of going towards the judge, maybe not as noticeable? Because then we proceeded to nail the rest of the course, great gallop to the single oxer and a fantastic rollback to the final fence. Must have done OK, because while we were once again chilling by the trailer, I heard the announcement that we’d finished third! Got an actual medal this time, which was pretty cool. Hopefully that’s enough points to qualify us towards the medal finals at MHSA Regionals.
If you’re sensing a theme of “there was a lot of waiting around” here, you would not be wrong. We went back to the trailer again, this time with the Juniors, and hung out for like another hour, while it was decided that my Adult Eq division was being switched from one ring to another so it would run earlier, someone actually had to call the MHSA to verify we had enough entries to run separately from the Junior Eq, etc. I had a smoothie, so that was good, and Cally actually drank water, which was very good. Til we finally headed back over to the ring, I think we were both a little over it, frankly. Or at least over waiting.
It was worth it, though, because we went in and put in a decent over fences round–there wre moments I was really happy with, like actually riding to the first fence, and a nice final rollback, but she sort of played through her change and once again got on a weird line to the third jump.
Good enough for second for the day though. Then we managed to put in an actually really nice flat trip, which Holly said was our best eq flat ever, and finished second there to be reserve champ for the Adult Eq division! Very very pleased with how well we’ve finally started putting all the pieces together and putting in consistent trips. They’re not perfect, but they’re at least attempted with a plan, and I’m getting better and better at executing the plan, or at least like 85% of it.
Cally’s getting the next two days off, since she worked very hard this past week, and we’re skipping a lesson this week, too. Probably do some hillwork/fieldwork, which we’ve been doing a lot of lately while the weather’s been cooperative and the ground has been decent. We’re heading back to BEST in two weeks, probably skipping the jumpers on Sunday and rolling in a good bit later to just do the medal and eq, hopefully put in even more solid rounds.