See? It's already started.
(Even though it was more Opie's head twirling as his latest soulmate got on the trailer to go home.)
|this old man quarter horse a kid was riding western dressage at her first show|
was pretty much the sweetest creature alive and opie instantly adopted him.
After how good he was for Thursday's ride, I gave him Friday off and then crawled aboard Saturday afternoon. It was ten trillion degrees with the humidity, but Opie struck off into a forward w/t/c anyway so I called it quits after maybe five minutes. Yay, you're a good enough dressage horse, let's go stand under the hose together!
With an 11am first ride time I was able to sleep in until seven and take our sweet time getting on the road. Opie settled right in at the trailer while Hubby and I set our canopy up because there was no shade in the parking lot and it was a lovely 90*+ day with no cloud cover. As long as there are no bugs, Opie seems to be able to stand sub-Saharan heat without a thought, lucky bastard.
I got on with twenty minutes before my first test which was still too long, but Soulmate also didn't like being left alone so he got led up to hang out while his trailer mate and Opie showed; as a collective trailer group we wanted everyone to be chill. Yay, for good trailer neighbors!
|killing fifteen minutes of warm up time by strolling around and standing|
We walked around the large grassy area around the warm up ring for a good long while, hung out and nibbled some grass, got fawned over by the ring steward, and then slowly trudged over to do some trot and canter right before our test. We could have spent that fifteen minutes marching or something, but Opie is a quitter and I don't want to give him any excuse to be any lazier than he already is. Plus he just doesn't need to be drilled over the basics that Training calls for at shows. You pick up the reins and he does the thing. The end.
|it was a day for the record books in that i got there and he hadn't slept in his pee|
We trotted into the ring for our lap around as the judge finished up writing comments for the rider before and as I passed one of the groups of people watching at the fence I heard one of the girls say, "This girl is going to win."
I was all, "Yep."
And then I reached down to adjust my stirrup leather and my horse lost steering and almost ran face-first into the fence so I amended that to, "Probably."
What I didn't know was that we were riding under OUR FAVORITE JUDGE. I mean, I could have gone in there and walked around for five minutes and she would have been like, "Brava! 10s all around!" This fucking lady, guys.
We actually got some varied scores this time to be fair. Opie was a good kid--steady and relaxed albeit a little weak in the steering department. He wasn't feeling the first halt in either test and started off with a 6.5. The left lead canter depart was sloppy and also got a 6.5 for "slow to develop, needs better connection." He started bulging out coming into the corner and he's gotten me on that trick twice now which results in picking up the wrong lead. I had to beat him back over which took the extra time, but we got the correct lead.
|stupid left lead canter. the bane of our existence.|
I could tell he was killing it at the medium walk and that scored a 9.5 with the free walk an 8. 7.5s and 7s for the rest of the test with a 9 for the final halt. 8.5 for gaits and 7s and 7.5s for the rest of the collectives. "Lovely horse--work towards more uphill balance. Good luck with him." That earned us a first with a score of 74.3%
|he's really starting to fill out and bulk up|
We had three hours before our next test which was really boring. With about an hour left to go I took Opie over to watch some of the Training 2 and noticed it seemed like they were running way ahead--like, I was two riders out ahead. Obviously I didn't have to go until my ride time, but I am all about helping facilitate shows finishing early so I hustled back to the trailer, let my neighbor who was also doing T3 know they were running early, and got back on.
The ring steward was a really nice lady. She'd come over during the lunch break while I was grazing Opie to tell me she thought he was so gorgeous, and she loved Thoroughbreds, and she couldn't believe how amazing he was at only 5, and did she mention he was gorgeous? She was, however, the most absentee ring steward ever when I needed her.
I knew the first rider in T3 was on a white pony and then it was my turn. The last horse in T2 finished and the ring stood empty with no ring steward to be found. I was about to send someone over to the judge to ask if I could just go in early since no one else was there when she finally popped up out of the indoor. I told her I could go in if no one else was ready since they were running early, but she said the other ride would be along shortly.
...but I could be done by the time she got out here?
Whatevs. The other girl eventually made it out and I did two seconds of trot and canter work to make sure Opie was alive. He was, but he was in a fucking mood now. The little porker had hoovered his entire hay net just before I got him tacked up even with grazing breaks so he was mad he was out of hay. Plus, although he hadn't gotten overtly hot or uncomfortable, he had been standing out in that blazing sun since ten in the morning and it was now 1:30. He was a hangry hangry hippo and wanted no part of doing the thing again.
I tried to keep his baby brain as happy as I could by letting him hang out at the rail before our test, and then I let him walk around the outside of the ring as we waited to be rung in. The judge rang the bell right as I was turning the corner at A so I had to do the world's most awkward finagling to give us so room to pick the trot up to enter.
Opie went down centerline and promptly gave me a big ole Fuck You for the first halt. (5.5) Right away I knew this was going to be an awesome test.
He was so not interested in being a riding horse anymore. Hard pass to dressage, thanks. I know you guys are going to watch the video and whine that it doesn't look that bad, but good lord it was. Every single step was either me subtly spurring him to not quit and die or half halting to not break into a canter and then spurring him to not quit and die. He didn't want to steer. He didn't want input. He didn't want to pay attention. He just didn't wanna.
We got another 5.5 (for the left lead canter depart) and a couple of 6s and 6.5s for the rest of the canter work. Even our walk only got 7.5s. The stretchy circle was so-so. He can take it to the ground on an honest contact at home, but he kind of just flopped his head down and I flopped the reins at him and we flopped around for the circle. We finished on an 8.5. 7s for the collectives with the comment "A bit tight at times--blocks flow from hind end. Very nice horse!" Yep, I can definitely support the tight comment. Still somehow a 69% for another first.
We got champion of the Training division and our T1 score was high point for the show. Neither of which was ever in doubt because I went into the show expecting to win both classes, and when I saw they were offering a high point award when I checked in I expected to win that as well. Because I am SO ANNOYING and know that #childgenius is the ruler of schooling shows and Hubby would like to mention I am SO ANNOYING STFU ABOUT HOW AMAZING DOPIE IS.
|strong side eye because he'd just boob punched me and got|
yelled at for it.
That got me the last scores I needed to submit for year end awards and they're high enough that I'm good with being done entering Training for the year. Or my life. Good fucking god, I never want to ride another T1 test in my life it's so fucking boring. Sad story though because I have to do it one more time the weekend after next. And then depending on what my GMO gets back to me with for volunteer hours, I'll either be volunteering at the last show or doing First. He needs quite a bit of work to be considered a First horse, but all I want to get out of that is some judge's feedback on what to work on over the winter.
In the meantime, ever onwards with improving the left lead canter.