To fully appreciate all of this, you need to go back and read this post.
If you're like, "Fuck no, I barely want to read this post." I'll summarize for you. Because I'm judgmental but also super helpful.
|in summary, i'm a beautiful rider and my horses are always|
elegant and well behaved.
In Bobby's Second level debut--and first show of the season--he was a total nutter and in typical Bobby fashion spent a better part of both tests experiencing Extreme Feelings about the canter work. The judge gave zero helpful feedback, her comments rarely matched her scoring, she audibly laughed at our super tense attempt at the canter serpentine, and when we were done she called me over to berate me. In the end we won both tests against other people with a 49% and 51%.
Obviously at that point I vowed to never ride under her again. She's an L graduate and not an actual licensed judge so I felt like that was going to be pretty easy. I avoided her once before, but they still hadn't announced the judge for this show by the time I sent in my entry.
When I found out it was her, I had mixed feelings. Part of me was like, "Off with her head! And my entry!" and the other part of me couldn't stop cackling to Hubby about how I wanted to take my certified #childgenius in front of her to see if she would rip him apart when every other judge on the face of the planet is obsessed with him.
|let's be real, he's kind of adorable|
Clearly I ended up going although I'm sure Hubby was done hearing about how I couldn't wait to see how we scored in front of this judge within about five seconds of being in the truck with me.
I'd never been to this farm before and we ended up missing the turn off and driving in a giant circle around the outer edges of Buffalo before my phone got us back on the right track. It's a beautiful place and everyone was really nice and helpful. I'll definitely go back next year. Bonus that they gave out bigger than usual ribbons and it's hosted by our neighboring GMO which meant it counted towards the Joint Upstate year end awards.
|opie gave a lot of side eye to himself in these mirrors|
I gave him about twenty minutes to warm up, and it was probably about twice as much as he needed. Not that he was tired or had passed his best work by the time we got in the ring, he just spent twice as long stuck in the ring with the above Fresian stallion who would not stop screaming. He was being really well behaved, he just wouldn't shut the fuck up.
Opie never answered though, which was a relief, but the indoor was directly across from the outdoor show ring so when we went out to do our test and the Fresian kept calling and calling, Opie was like, "Okay. There has to be a reason for all this excitement. Maybe if I look around nonstop I'll find out what it is!"
|prancey dancey at the gate waiting to go in because noises! everywhere! can't|
As we made our lap around the outside of the ring, Opie started tightening up. I learned my lesson from the last show that really all I can do is push him forward and hope for the best because god knows if I try to ride him, the judge blames me for any and every thing that goes wrong.
Unfortunately, one of his big tells of tension is a head wag. Even at home, if I get after him over something and then let him have a walk break on a long rein, he'll sometimes wag his head. It's like he can't weave with his feet so his head weaves instead. I really don't know what to do for it because it doesn't matter what my connection with the bit is. It's definitely just comes from him, and all I can do is try to make his tiny brain happy again.
|right out of the halt he started going waggy waggy|
He got a 7 for the first halt, and then a 6.5 for the first trot circle with the comment, "Wagging contact, topline tension." YUP.
In the near background,
6.5s for the next two movements, and then a 9 for his medium walk and 8 for the free walk which he finally actually stretched down for. Opie's walk has always been a total dream, and I can always count on that to score well.
The right lead canter depart was right in the deepest, sloppiest corner so that was...expressive and earned the comment "fussy", but we finished with a couple of 7s and 8s with collectives being the same for a 71.956% and the comment "Lovely job."
|not our best test, but certainly not as bad as the last show|
That earned us a 2nd place, and I went back to the trailer test and ribbon in hand waving them around and cackling some more to Hubby who did not give two shits. It felt less like redemption and more like someone had told the judge that these were schooling shows so stop being such a colossal bitch which then made her go in the complete opposite direction and over-score everything.
You can't win with me. It's true.
|one day i'll learn to tuck my pelvis underneath me.|
We had a three hour break between tests. About forty minutes before our next ride time Opie started getting really obnoxious at the trailer so I went ahead and got both of us ready again. I hopped on and wandered by the indoor to tell the ring steward we were out and about, and then went started making laps around the barn. I didn't want to spend all that time working him because he didn't need it; he just need to do something with himself. I let him meander around on the buckle snooting things at will before the ring steward called out on one of our passes that I was on the deck--a good twenty minutes early.
|very rigorous warm up routine right here|
That gave us around five minutes so I went in the ring to do a quick trot and check to make sure both canter leads were working. He really didn't need anything more than that and went into the ring super relaxed like the Dopie horse I enjoy riding so much.
The summation of this test is that the judge just really fucking loved Opie. He could do no wrong. Our lowest score was a 7. We got a 10 on the medium walk and a 9 on the free walk. He didn't stretch the whole time for the trot circle (Which--grr--he's been doing so well on that at home! That's going to be the focus this week.), but she didn't care. 7 for that anyway. 9.5 for the trot out of the canter. 9 for gaits, 9 for rider position, 8.5s for the rest of the collectives.
|never going to see scores like that again so even|
though they're ridiculous i will admire them anyway
All that rounded up to a 81.363% which won the class. After our final halt, the judge asked me what breed of horse he was. I told her he was off the track since last November, and she just shook her head and said, "Wow, that's a great horse."
|me telling the judge what's up while opie long distance begs hubby for candy.|
he was obsessed with hubby saturday and always knew right where he was.
I mean, you guys can watch the test. It's not anywhere close to an 81%. But he was calm and relaxed and steady and that's all I personally expect out of him at this point. Having the video is also good because I can see a few spots that I know need work for this upcoming weekend's return to rated competition.
I was pleased to come home with a couple more nice ribbons, and I got to dig around in the prize box for high point (blingy browband coming to an Opie near you!). Bonus that Opie loaded and unloaded like a complete pro both times.
The little mother fucker swung his head around to look to see if his BFF was at the gate waiting for him when we got home right as I went to clip the chain over his nose, and he absolutely crushed the top of my hand into the divider bar. Like, I instantly hit the deck saying bad words and crying really hard because I was pretty sure he'd just broken my hand. Fortunately for his continued life, it doesn't seem to be anything worse than deep bruising. It still hurts like a bitch, but everything's working like it's supposed to.
|you are so good. except when you maim me, asshole.|
This morning he gets another day off so that he can fully enjoy his massage. Must be nice, Opie. I'll just be over here popping Advil and icing my hand.