Monday, July 23, 2018

WNYDA Summer Fest I

I'm hoping to keep these recaps nice and short since I had such excellent ride times that didn't leave me any time to wander around the facilities finding things to do to amuse myself and therefore opening myself to long winded ramblings about how my horse grazes.

Whoops.

I've already started!

Opie loaded and unloaded like a superstar on day one. I left the trailer stashed down the driveway while I went to check in and see about parking since they had a whole bunch of random shit everywhere with their new building still sort of under work. He managed not to maim himself while he waited, and then hung out quietly eating his breakfast and reassuring himself his new soulmates were in sight until it was time to get tacked up.

soulmates acquired: check.
the view up there is really pretty!

We did a couple laps around the barns before I started my warm up. I had more time than I wanted, but I always think it takes longer to get dressed and tacked up than it actually does, and once I start the process Opie doesn't like standing still anymore. From there I joined one other rider in the outdoor, but Opie had his head on a swivel and had zero interest in tuning me in. I left that ring and went into the small indoor instead.

He warmed up w/t/c there beautifully. It was a really small turnout for the whole show this time for some reason, which left the only two other horses/riders in my T1 class an Olympic medalist and a pro on a super nice young mare we've been competing against all year. Obviously with those odds I wasn't expecting to blow anyone out of the water, but Opie was moving so well I felt I had a really good chance of--if not beating at least one of them--scoring right up there with them.

We did what we needed and still had extra time, so we wandered back out to the outdoor where a few more horses had appeared and did a little more trot work there. It wasn't as good as the previous work, but it felt fine and we headed over to the new ring to wait to go in.

Training 1

Houghton finished their new arena/teaching building just in time for this show. It's gorgeous. It's got brand new GGT footing and is well lit and set up great for spectating. It's also a lot for a young horse who gets distracted every single day of his life by routine things.

waiting to go in on sunday. he marched right in to the bit check area and hung out
patiently, charming the volunteers while they told him he must have been an awful racehorse.

There's windows everywhere including an entire wall of them behind the open judge's stand. One long side is metal bleachers that had quite a crowd in them as we rode right before the lunch break. Opie was understandably pretty bug eyed by everything. I let him walk a lap the first time and he gave quite the hairy eyeball to the judge's stand when we passed it. Fortunately the judge gave us enough time to lap the ring once more at the trot before he blew the whistle.

The test was not so hot. Opie was tight and googly eyed and kept trying to stare at every noise the people in the bleachers made. Not being particularly in-tune to me, he'd get quick and then feel my half halt and immediately take it as a cue to stop doing whatever he was doing--as in, just stop altogether. Needless to say the rhythm and tempo weren't quite so flowing as one aims for.

warming up sunday

He also felt like he had about ten legs going in every different direction. I don't know if it was just from how distracted he was and the distinct lack of steering that brought that made things feel a little dicey or if he just couldn't figure out what to do with the fluffy cloud footing he was prancing on.

We did our final halt and were walking out when the announcer came over the loud speakers to announce the next rider and Opie scooted forward like someone had jumped out behind him. Again, it was just a lot for him to process.

The judge understandably wasn't too impressed. We got 3rd out of the three of us with a 61%+. Every. Single. Comment was "Nose out." Every. Comment. Now I know Opie was distracted and certainly not steady in the contact, but good grief. Think up a new comment. (I have to whine about something every show clearly.) The judge didn't seem too impressed with anyone the whole morning. Everyone was in the upper fifties and low sixties except for the two horses in my T1 that both scored really well.

I pulled Opie's bridle but left him saddled to let him eat for a bit before we had to go back for our second test.

getting to be such a pro about hanging out patiently. even if he does still have
permanent side eye. 

Training 3

Training 3 felt a lot like Training 1 but faster. Like, we couldn't steer faster and he found things to be distracted by faster. I'm sure the show photographer got some really good pictures of me grimacing for ninety percent of the test as I tried to finesse some sense of control into the high speed chase that was going on in the ring.

Our comments were, again, mostly, "Nose out" with a couple additions about the transitions being abrupt and one about tension. Hysterically the stretchy circle which felt like a game of start-stop where I attempted to half halt, Opie attempted to halt halt, I kicked Opie on, Opie jetted off, repeat, got the comment "tempo steady". But still a 5. Because there was a distinct lack of actual stretching going on.

I was happy to have that test behind us as it wasn't the most fun to ride. We managed a 62%+ for another third--beating several people this time and actually only scoring 1% behind the girl that usually beats us in this test by a lot. The Olympian won by quite a bit more obvi.

i'm really good at taking flattering pictures.
and i know those ribbons are giant, but yellow.

Even though the tests didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped, especially since he warmed up so well, I'm happy enough with how he handled himself. He could have come completely unglued in there, but didn't react any worse than a horse his age and with his experience had a right to. Bonus that he was such a pro for every other aspect.

Stayed tuned for tomorrow's better results but ten thousand times more outside fuckery!

24 comments:

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    1. Nose out to better show off the snoot!

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  2. This sounds very familiar, I've totally been there with the great warm up then suddenly super tense once we get to the show ring.

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  3. I was trying to think of a rhyme that was like "suns out guns out" for nose out but I'm not that clever. Congratulations on the thirds, getting 60's at rated is pretty good!

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    1. Clouds out, snoot's out? No that doesn't rhyme.

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  4. Sometimes the successes are not the ribbon/score, that is for sure! Sounds like he held it together well otherwise. Though I think staying on the horse, staying in the ring, and breaking 60% is still good with the youngsters haha. My now retired mare used to be super relaxed in warm up and a totally different tense horse in the ring, but that went away after her first two years of showing. It just took time and exposure, so it will come! :-)

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    1. He could have been much worse and was already over it by the next day because #childgenius :P

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  5. Man that footing is DA BOMB. T always feels like a GP horse on it now, but the first time he was like WTF as he bounced across it.

    Great scores considering all the distractions, and he looks SO much more relaxed and steady! Way to go! (even if the ribbons were yellow an' all)

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    1. He was much better over the footing the second day. Like, he felt like he only had 4 legs again which was much better lol

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  6. It sounds like he is at least understanding the game even if he is distracted and not always working the best. Little victories.

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    1. Yep, he did the job, the job just involved a lot of spectating on his end lol

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  7. Just sounds like a green horse day to me. And he didn't try to murder anyone, so that's a positive! Can't wait to read about day 2!

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    1. Nope, saved the murdering for day 2! ;)

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  8. He looks mighty handsome in yellow tho imho ;) sounds like a lot of atmosphere- looking forward to hear more about how the next day went!

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  9. What a good pony, using his brain for good not evil!

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  10. At least he is getting more settled at the trailer, and you're getting all the baby mistakes out of the way. I also think it's super cool you had an Olympian in your class. WHO WAS IT?!?

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    1. I didn't even know we had an Olympian anywhere near us!

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  11. Carmen might have lost her mind in there so well done. And what kind of comment is 'nose out'? The horse is supposed to be in front of the vertical and the frame required for training is much looser. Did she mean 'hollow'? or was he looking out of the ring? How can you even sort that out with such a vague comment? This is what encourages riders to over use the hands. Good for you for not doing that. :)

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    1. That's kind of how I felt about the nose out comment as well, especially since this was only a Training test. He was certainly distracted at times, but I have a hard time believing his nose was poked offensively out the ENTIRE test.

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  12. New arenas are a LOT for baby horses, and even though he wasn't relaxed, you still got the job done! That's pretty awesome, IMHO <3

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