Monday, June 23, 2014

NPHA Dressage Show

I really should have forced myself to do this show recap over the weekend. Now I'm drooling all over thanks to an excess of antihistamines in my system to bring down the swelling in my thigh. Oh, wait. That's just my fucking forearm. The dogs and I all managed to get stung this weekend, and we're pathetic looking. And also very sleepy.

prepare for total dressage domination.

So Saturday's dressage show. I'd never been to this place, but the barn shows there all the time. I got directions the night before off of the show's website which was a mistake. I should have asked BO how she went because our route was not trailer friendly. We were stuck crawling through construction in Scranton which made the hour long trip turn into an hour and a half.

We got there with ten minutes to spare before I was supposed to be in the ring. I was one of the last riders to go, so I knew there wasn't going to be much leeway. I did the fastest speed tack of my life and swung up as the organizer came over to walk and talk as we made our way over to the ring. There was a rider in the ring doing her test, and then it was my turn.

this is not going to go well.

I'd forgotten my test copies in the trailer so I was desperately trying to remember how each test went (Why no, I haven't ridden or even glanced at them since showing last month. That would include preparation.) while walking Bobby back and forth along the narrow grass strip above the ring that served as "warm up". There wasn't even enough room to trot up there. There also wasn't enough room in the ring trot all the way around the dressage court, so my warm up was a circle of trot off to the side of the court and away we went.

First 1

Bobby was definitely not pleased with missing out on his warm up and this test was a mess. We had a hard time getting on the same page, and it was overall just very sloppy. His stretchy trot circle was nonexistent as a horse went trotting by the ring just as I let my reins slide and he was far more interested in watching that. He plodded across the diagonal for the free walk, then changed things up by cantering our final lengthening.

The judge, however, was amazing. Her comments were extremely kind and honest while still critiquing in a really helpful way. She said to focus on getting him more uphill and engaged behind, and work on keeping his hindquarters from trailing in. All things that probably wouldn't have been an issue if we'd had our usual thirty minutes of warm up.

She gave us what I thought was a pretty generous 61.724% which put us in third for 1-1.

First 2

There was supposed to be another rider go after me, and then I would go in again, but I ended up doing all of my tests back to back since no one else was around. That involved less time for working and more time for standing there trying to remember how the fuck my next test went.

Regardless, Bobby came into the ring for the next test a lot more settled. He still bombed his lengthenings which got to me more than anything else. My spurs were adjusted to fit over my fat paddock boots and half chaps so they were way too high on my tall boots which rendered them useless. His lengthenings at home have been awesome this past week, but I just couldn't get him to duplicate them Saturday.

Again with the drifting haunches, especially in the leg yields, but those were miles better than our last show so I wasn't too upset there. Then I completely blanked finishing the test. You're supposed to change rein at the canter at K, trotting at X. I was like, "....another lengthening or something somewhere in here? But then how do I end up back here to go down the centerline? But...I'm still cantering? What the fuck comes next?!" So I got a 3 for blanking out and trotting too soon.

Still, we somehow managed to squeak out a 66% which won this test.

First 3

Bobby was done with the fancy prancing when we came down the center line. The judge's comment was "Drifted on move off" on the first halt which was a very nice way to say "Horse is ready for the jumping. Fuck this dressage shit." His first leg yield was a little crooked, but the second was better. He finds that tiny, weird figure eight at X really hard so he lost some energy trying to maneuver through that one, but at least he didn't throw a tantrum.

He saved the next tantrum for picking up the canter. Judge's comment was "Miscommunication to trot." Sometimes known as "Anticipating, and proceeded to be a douche." Neither of our 15m circles at the canter were very good, and we kind of bungled our way through the entire canter tour as my reins got longer and Bobby started getting a little tired....and pissed.

Our collective marks were a lot better this test at least, and we got a 65.806% which put us in second.

the WORST at posing. srsly.
and i don't know why he looks like an emaciated mule here. he's plenty fat.

After waiting for nearly two hours for scores to get figured out, we were finally able to get our placings and prizes. Bobby's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd made him Reserve Champion for First, and his 66% on 1-2 was High Point which got him an additional Champion ribbon. It also meant I got to pick a prize, and came home with a super fancy dressage whip that I will probably only use once a year. But still. Fancy.

Now we finally enter a little showing down time. We've done two dressage shows, two gaming shows, two horse trials, a jumping clinic, and my barn's fun show so far this year. I've got a family reunion and a week of vacation to budget for in July. We're doing the rodeo 7/15, but I don't know if we'll be doing much else next month. Prepare yourselves for boredom.


If you can't say anything nice, fuck off.