I didn't have to ride until three and four in the afternoon, so I spent my morning hanging out at a hunter show around the corner with my barn. The girl doing the o/f division was starting to get nervous before going in, and even though I was standing there in shorts with no horse, I was starting to freak out, too. Yeahhhh, the jumping at home may be getting better, but I'm still a long ways off from getting back to it at shows.
|dressage isn't scary! just very boring when you're an event horse.|
We got to the show with plenty of time to spare, so we spent awhile wandering around drooling over the facility. Bobby, unfortunately, immediately noticed the jumping going on behind him from the CT divisions simultaneously being run. He usually stands at the trailer like a rock and munches his hay causing no fuss, but the whole time he was waiting before getting tacked up he was pawing and whinnying and kept craning his head around to watch jumping. Sad story, Bobby.
Once I got on, he marched right off probably with thoughts of getting to do fun things for once, but almost immediately he spooked at the parking sign. And then he spooked at the asphalt driveway we had to cross turning into tan concrete in front of the indoor we were heading to....and then also at having to step up to walk into the arena.
I was obviously pleasantly surprised when he felt pretty soft and relaxed as we walked around, and even when we first started trotting.
|this place was SO PRETTY|
I started working on getting him put together after he'd had some time to stretch out. He was still okay until I asked for a little shoulder-in. That was not okay. Maybe a little medium trot? Definitely not okay. Not wanting to get him worked up over things he knows how to do--he was either going to do them in the ring or he wasn't--I opted to go for a little canter instead. That was okay with Bobby, and I spent my time cautiously telling him to lift his poll and lengthen his neck. Maybe not the best warm up, but knowing Bobby was having a Tense Horse Day meant my rides were going to be about managing him instead of pushing for a really good test.
|"I'M NOT TENSE. I'M NEVER TENSE. WHERE ARE THE JUMPS?!"|
Since Hubby was able to come along to this show, I finally have video!
We had good moments, and we had moments where his tension really killed the movement. Especially in the lateral work, I had to poke, poke, kick him with my spurs to keep him from breaking to the walk, and the medium gates are almost not there. His turn on the haunches continues to not be there during tests. BM and I have been drilling them at home, but he has moments where he anticipates and either cops out and does a turn on the forehand instead, or just spins around really fast. We got the spinning around turns this time, though at least they weren't fast--more like stuck.
Our judge was very much scoring for a schooling show. She gave us 6.5s and 7s down the board except for a couple fives where Bobby's tension just completely killed what we were trying to do. The 63+% we got wouldn't have been anywhere close to that at a recognized show, but again--schooling shows are for positive experiences. Not for being a colossal, unprofessional bitch (not that I have any experience with those types).
|judge: maybe try not being so tense, horse.|
bobby: you know nothing.
She came out and gave every rider feedback after their test which is always a nice perk when they have the time to do that. She didn't tell me anything ground breaking: lose the tension and the stride will open up more in the medium gaits, and work on getting him more uphill.
|judge: maybe try not bracing your back next time, horse.|
bobby: when are we doing the jumping?
I took Bobby back to the trailer and pulled his bridle to let him grab a quick snack and drink of water before our second test. Sadly there was still jumping going on behind us, and sadly Bobby still did not get to go for a frolic. Whomp whomp. Worst horse mom ever.
We went back into the indoor where I focused on getting Bobby moving more forward and letting him have another stretch in hopes of it loosening up his back a little bit.
|those neck muscles are coming!|
The trot was really good, but the canter work immediately fell into a hot, tense mess. I didn't touch on anything else and worked only on trying to get him to relax. Spoiler alert: didn't work.
|cloudy days are the best days to show on.|
Right off the bat, while we were going a bit more forward, Bobby was locked the fuck up. His lateral work was spastic, and I was super happy to get it over with without any monstrous meltdowns. The halt was a little wiggly for my liking as I know we can do a lot better, but the rein back itself was obedient enough, and we're consistently scoring a 7 on the movement every time out (which makes me selfishly giggle a little bit because Bobby doesn't do it well for BM).
The walk work in both tests I felt was good especially for Bobby. The free walk still isn't really up to par, but there was no shuffling or jigging so I was proud of that.
The canter work started off super exciting (start at 4:30 in the video). The second I put my leg on to ask for it, I knew I was in trouble. Bobby was so tight in his back that it starts off almost four beat. I knew I wasn't going to be able to go for a real medium so I crossed my fingers and hoped he at least maintained his lead.
Instead Bobby anticipated me asking him something, anything and slammed on the brakes. I gave his neck a quick scratch and asked him to go forward, but that upset him greatly as well and he went running backwards instead right into the chains. Naturally that was very traumatizing (whatever, Bobby). At a rated show I'm sure I would have been rung out at that point, but yay schooling shows! Some soothing petties and not getting at all upset myself pretty quickly got the idiot back on target and we were able to pick the canter back up before the end of the ring. See? He's growing up so much!
|so innocent looking.|
Part of me was like, "Salvage this test! Make the rest count!" while the other half was like, "LOL, ohhhh, Bobby. Why haven't I sold you to the Amish yet?"
Bobby can counter canter all the live long day though, so the rest of the test actually wasn't too awful. My "I don't really give a shit" side won out, and I didn't have him set up the best for the second serpentine which caused him to almost give me a change at the first loop, but I caught it quickly enough that he only lost the rhythm for a second.
Once we came back to the trot, he dove onto his forehand and started curling because OMG LIFE, but we did finish. The walk and counter canter scores helped make up for the blunder of flailing through the chains, and we miraculously pulled out a 61+%. Hell yeah, schooling shows. Now I remember why you're so fun.
|ugh, that ribbon. it makes my life whole.|
There were lots of Second riders at this show, so no automatic blues just for showing up, but LOOK AT THAT THING. They ran out of regular fifth place ribbons, and the secretary was like, "Do you mind if I give you one of these instead?" Giant pink neon? GIVE IT TO ME. Biggest win of the day, I won't lie.
Biggest loss of the day was the water pump on my truck. It blew the fuck up on our way home, but fortunately we were close enough to nurse it to Hubby's work and swap it out for a different truck to get Bobby home.
|"are there jumps at this show, too?"|
Bobby didn't care. Bobby is used to shenanigans like being pulled over on the side of the road with whizzing traffic for an hour or two. Damn. I really am the worst horse mom ever.