Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Houghton College Spring Dressage Show II

My morning kicked off wonderfully when I hooked up my trailer for day two and had no running lights on the right side.

Did all my lights work when I dropped the trailer off for inspection? Yes.

Do all my lights work $323 later? NO.

After many, many bad words later, I discovered I at least had working brake lights and turn signals so as long as I didn't run into any rain I would be okay. BUT STILL.

the cutest snootest.

The drive down was blessedly uneventful as on the way home the day before, my check engine light kept blinking on and off...after paying nearly $1k in repairs on the truck a couple months ago. I might harbor a deep seated hatred for literally all mechanics on the face of the earth.

Anyway, I get parked, take Opie for a quick walk about the giant fancy spooky indoor where we were doing our first test, let him snoot the judge's stand Satan's Altar, and then set him up with his breakfast. As he was finishing, I looked up at the sound of thunder and saw this:

i like everyone else staring at it with a collective feeling of "oh shit"

Two seconds later it started storming. Straight up thunder, lightning, very very frightening. Too cheap to ever get a stall when I don't have to, Opie and I took refuge inside one of the big bay doors where he amused himself snooting the white boards until the rain slackened for half a second and I was able to run back out and grab his hay net to throw on the floor in front of him. Half an hour later it finished blowing through, and aside from one other storm that you could see and hear brewing on the horizon in the afternoon that ended up staying south of us, the rest of the day was quite nice.

never got a drop from this one

The storm put the show on a twenty minute delay which was great because it meant I didn't have to run right out and scramble around to get ready when it passed as my first test was pretty early. What wasn't great was that it put the whole morning into a scheduling cluster fuck. I got on when I was originally supposed to be riding my test. That theoretically gave me twenty minutes to warm up.

I went to the indoor first because I like walls of mirrors, but there had to have been at least ten people crammed into the space of a small arena all warming up for different levels. I made two laps before escaping to the outdoor warm up. It was deep and super sloppy, but it was also abandoned.

After a quick w/t I introduced Mr Tappy to the leg yields. Opie thought about objecting, but got over it and settled in and did the work. I did, however, decide that Mr Tappy could stay outside the ring for our test because it distracts me, and that I was going to sit the leg yields. I suck at posting, I don't need to bring that into an already questionable movement.

the indoor was abandoned friday which was okay by me

Feeling warmed up, I checked in with the ring steward who said I should start heading over as it was nearing my ride time. I ducked back into the indoor to check with the ring steward there who had no idea what was going on. I knew one of the trainers was going either right after me or right before me so I kept an eye on her before I couldn't take the mass fucking chaos in there anymore and went and parked it just outside the ring--where we then hung out waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more. Finally, close to ten (my ride time was supposed to have been moved back to 9:24), I dove into the indoor again. The first ring steward told the trainer she was on deck. She headed over while I finished my lap on my way to the exit. I passed the other ring steward who then told me I was on deck.

I went over to the competition indoor and turns out it was finally my turn, and the rider before me was just heading down center line to finish. Way to communicate, guys.

First 3

This was one of those tests that felt better than it scored, and until I saw the score, I was actually happy with it. Opie wasn't spooky or distracted by anything in there which he has been for the first test every other time. He was, however, pretty tight and locked up which meant he kept bobbing on and off the contact.

he's getting so much easier about forward as a default though!

We started off with a 7 halt, and then a sad 5.5 trot lengthening. The rest of the test was unfortunately a heavy dose of 6s with a large side of 5.5s--minus a 7.5 for the walk of course. Almost every comment was either tight, tense, or braced. He was steady, and he didn't do anything wrong, but it wasn't soft and supple.

The judge somehow missed my second day in a row blunder on the change of lead through trot, or I just fixed the lead so ninja fast that she was cool with it for a 6.

Her final comments were that he was a "handsome, capable horse", but that his stiffness cost points and he wasn't round enough for the day. Fair enough, and while another judge might have slid us that extra half point here and there, she wasn't feeling it and we came away with a sorry 59% for sixth.

but at least he is the best boy about walking

The show got back on schedule after lunch, but our second test still wasn't until three. As we finally neared my ride time, I had Opie's head plunked in my lap as he took a serious nap while I was sitting in the bleachers watching tests. I ended up getting on him early so that we could take the time to wander around on the buckle for awhile to wake him back up.

We finally went into the outdoor warm up. Almost immediately I saw the giant grey monster horse headed our way in-hand, still screaming and being a rage monster. I boogied on out of there right as the rider got on because I wanted no part of that crazy hot mess. As I was passing its trainer, I heard her start yelling, "Forward! Forward!" I glanced over my shoulder just in time to see the rider get dumped and this thing come charging right for us. I swung off and stuffed Dopie behind the bleachers, but the trainer managed to intercept it and wrangle it back to the warm up without incident.

Needless to say, we hid in the indoor to warm up for the rest of the time.

too busy doping to care about no wild horse

First 1

I spent warm up getting Opie much rounder and looser, and it helped that we were back in the outdoor for this test. That aspect of it definitely felt improved, but he was so sleepy/lazy that I felt like I carried him through the whole thing. Still, not a score below 6 to be found with a nice range of 6.5s to 7.5s.

My blonde moment here came when I almost forgot my first 15m circle in the canter. I was just hitting the transition from the lengthening when I thought to myself, "I hate that there isn't a circle to bring the canter back in this test. .....oh, shit, wait, turn here!" Both canter lengthenings got 7s though, and the trot lengthenings--not being shut down by midget legs and a locked back--got a 6 and 6.5 which I will happily take all day every day.

"i am trying! i am doing the thing to the best of my dachshund ability!"
yeah you are, buddy. 

He ended up with his third 66+% from this judge and another fourth place behind the three Open riders. Most importantly, he unloaded back at home completely relaxed, and when I swung in to see him the next evening he was happy to see me, mugging for treats, and eagerly put his bridle on to go outside for his monthly confo pic. The whole show he felt like a complete pro and confident in himself and what was going on. That's a win for sure. Hopefully it carries over to this upcoming weekend when he does his first overnight show.

so adorbs.
also peep that dead short side from friday's test.

Day three of showing? Sunday morning I woke up so brain dead that I actually forgot it was my birthday. I spent it getting soaked to the bone volunteering all day at one of my GMO's schooling shows, but getting to be around horses for your birthday isn't the worst, right?

LOLZ I got home and went to bed at seven. You know you're getting old when...


  1. I'm still just so in awe of your pictures and want your show tog to come to NC! The sky/light is actually gorgeous in them as well, so another bonus from the storm????
    Although, dapples look pretty good in basically every light ;)

    1. I'm sorry, she can't come to NC, she's never allowed to leave our area! :P

  2. Happy Birthday!!!! I usually am braiding horses all night when my birthday happens and a few times had to have someone else tell me. Getting old is rough!
    Congrats on another great day! Opie really seems to enjoy the horse show job, and the photos! You two look fantastic!

    1. Who knew an early bedtime would ever be a good enough birthday present lol

  3. The photos are amazing!!! Y'all look so fancy!!

  4. You two look like pros in those pics. A stunning pair.

  5. You guys are so fancyyy!!! Pretty sure Opie just wants to be showing all day 'erry day!

    1. I can get behind that--you know, if started paying his own way around here. :P

  6. Still laughing at the Satan's Alter comment!

    Great show! Glad that giant grey ragemonster didn't squash you guys.

  7. YAY! I always love when the 2nd round/test is able to show improvement. Such a good feeling! And LOL at "Satan's alter" I'm dead

  8. Glad that everything went better in the second test and that Dopie is proving to be a real pro!


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