Cally and I have been busy busy bees in the showring lately! Last weekend we headed back in to the dressage ring, attending a very convenient show that was less than 5 minutes from my house. Which was a little trippy, because I drove to the barn, packed up my trailer, and drove…back home, basically. But, the location was a very nice facility that was close enough that I could wrangle WBBF into coming and cheering us on, even though he finds the dressage stuff even more boring than Cally does. (He likes ride times almost as much as I do, though.)
It was super humid and hot, so I tried to keep warmup to the bare minimum to get her where we needed to be. Warmup was in a big outdoor, and I basically got her nice and relaxed, and then we did a lot of walking around, since they had lanes between all their paddocks, so we just moseyed to stay loose and chill before our tests.
I was really happy with our warmup, and that’s pretty much how she went for our tests. There is video, but it’s pretty much unwatchable, due to the light/shadow in their indoor, which led to hilariously awful irising and bluriness. Suffice to say, we were in more of a Training frame than a First frame, but put in good steady tests and the judge seemed to like Cally very much. Our leg yields in 1-2 weren’t perfect, and she was a bit more on the forehand than the judge wanted (unsurprising, since Cally is 75% forehand), but those are things we know, and are working on improving. I was very pleased with two quite consistent scores at 60% and 59%, to finish 4th in both classes.
It was a bigger and more competitive show than the prior week, and I’ve shown under the judge before and know her to be tough but correct and fair, so I’m really very pleased with those results. We now have 5 of the 7 scores we need for a PVDA Year End award at 1st level, and plans for one more show to get those last two scores. We’re not getting earth-shattering scores, but on a horse that’s a 7 mover on her good days, we’re getting solid, consistent scores and I am happy with that, because we’re now working at levels where movement really matters, and I’m not stepping into the ring with a 90% like some of the fancier movers are, and that’s OK.
We’ve also continued to have really great lessons. Cally has really been on a roll, and you can tell she’s so happy to be jumping and working, and feels great.
But Holly and I did have a conversation about her weight and condition, because while we took some weight off of her over the winter at the vet’s advice while the Weird Leg Thing was going on, as she’s come back in to work, she’s put on muscle and topline nicely, but hasn’t quite plumped back up the way she did before. She’s sort of stalled out at Eventer, rather than getting that extra 50# back up to Hunter weight. She’s been shipping a lot, and working hard to put condition back on, and showing a good bit, so our first course of action is a round of omaprazole, for ulcer treatment. She’s a Type A kind of horse, and while she ships well and is great at shows, she’s been shipping longer distances this year, and that’s stressful, even if she’s not seeming especially cranky about it. So we’ve started on a round of that, and added a bit of alfalfa in with her lunch haying. I think a lot of it is her stamping the calories off being angry about bugs, but it tends to be bugs on her legs, and those fly boot things look like disasters waiting to happen, so I’d rather up feed and add more flyspray and food.
Then this weekend, we headed down to the final BEST show of the year. Since it’s super close to our barn, I just hauled back and forth each day, because I think doing that and getting to come home and be turned out for the night with her friends is less stress than a 20 minute trailer ride each day. Saturday, we did the OTTB Jumpers, which is sort of our Fun Class for the year. I was delighted with our first round, where she felt so perfectly rideable and did some really nice rollback turns (the dressage is paying off!) in the jumpoff phase, and I knew we’d be in top ribbon contention for that class. The second round, she fell asleep a bit more than I would have liked before going in, so I put on a bit too much leg and overcompensated with too much gallop to fence 1, and she just got flat and tipped the top rail out. So bummer, we only got through the Power phase of Power & Speed, but she nailed the lines there, and I was pleased though wasn’t expecting much. Turns out we finished with a 2nd and a 3rd for the day, which might be enough for a low Year End ribbon in the division!
Sunday we headed back down to do the MHSA Low Adult Medal and the Adult Eq. I already told Holly that I want to make a real run at a Year End championship in the Adult Eq next year, and she’s totally on board with that plan. Holly and Liz, who won the Gittings in the morning (YAY!!) were already back and unpacked til I got to the barn, so I figured I should get rolling as soon as I was done bathing etc, since it didn’t look like huge numbers in the divisions before the medal. Hahahahahahaha. No, we were there for like 3 hours before I even needed to tack up, because there was a Junior Classic thing going on that created all kinds of ring conflicts, and they didn’t open card stuff the way they did last time. So, at least I had time to eat lunch?
Our Medal round was OK, I was a little chippy to the first fence because it was on a quarter line and Cally just wasn’t quite sure which fence of the like 3 in her line of vision we were heading at for a few strides, and then we got kind of a long spot out in the judge’s line, but we still managed to finish a very consistent 3rd. I mean, we’ve done that medal 3 times now, and been 3rd every time! Consistency seems to be our new theme, and it’s not a bad one to have.
But it helped a lot that I’d gone in and made a few mistakes, because I’d ridden the course and knew what I needed to fix for the Adult Eq over fences, which would be over the same course. They flatted us first, and that was fine, it’s not our strongest, but we finished 2nd. Then we went in first for the over fences, and I knew exactly how I needed to ride to fix what went wrong before, and we just went in and nailed it. Cally is smart, and if you do a course, then the second time through she knows where you’re headed, so she was on it too, and we put in a really great round that I knew would be tough to beat.
Turns out that it was hard to beat, because we finished 1st in the class, to end up Champion in the division!
I sadly do not have any pix or video of the rounds, but I want you to know we did it in rust breeches. Because if you’re going to wear those, you really need to ride up to it, and we managed to do it. I may wear them a bit this fall, just because I feel like I can stand out a little now, because we’re finally putting in consistently solid trips. Maybe not always the winning trip, but good solid trips to be proud of, and I am feeling so much more confident in my ability to go do that. It’s a really fantastic feeling to be halfway around the course and know you’re winning it, and able to carry through on that. That leaves me feeling optimistic about MHSA Regionals, and about MidAtlantic Equitation Finals, both of which are on the calendar for November.