|sometimes people get tricked into thinking he's large when he is indeed a pony|
I stuck him on the longe, and within the three minutes I had him going around to assess soundness the swelling almost disappeared. He looked...fine. But just fine. If anything he looked a little tight in his butt. I cold hosed the leg anyway and gave him a bracing liniment bath before wrapping those hind legs and leaving him in front of his fan with a stuffed hay net for the day. When I went back in the evening, hoping to braid but prepared to scratch if needed, he looked perfectly alright and proceeded to be a giant toddler tool to braid--to the point where I left his forelock free to move about the cabin because after several failed attempts to put one in, I had to ear twitch him to pull it out. #childsatan #saidbadwordsinfrontofchildren #theyreusedtoit
To combat the excessive heat warnings lighting up the east coast (and all coasts, it is July, folks), show management did some awesome things for competitors (THEIR INDOOR IS AIR CONDITIONED WUT). They had extra hoses hooked up so no one had to wait to get into the wash stall, coats were waived right off the bat, there were coolers of cold water for anyone that needed one outside each ring and the volunteers were enthusiastic in offering them to people, and they moved all ride times up by an hour.
That meant I was out the door at 3am, and had parked the trailer at the show by 5:45. It also meant the school's horses were still in turnout, and when I went to unload Opie, a couple of ponies came trotting up to the fence and Opie lost his shit. He launched down the ramp, stepped all over himself, almost fell over, and then went flying backwards screaming his fool head off. And I was so proud of him for marching right on in the dark, too.
He managed to hit the one inch of exposed skin on the inside of his LF and scrape himself up, but with some quick sponging and a spritz of BluKote he was back in business. Thank fuck it wasn't on his white leg so I could hide the wound care.
|the trot lengthenings are coming together|
I fed him his breakfast and we went for a quick walk since someone's eyes were still bugging out of their head. His midget self was towering about ten feet above me staring at everything like he'd never shown here before even though this could basically be his second home at this point. Feeling SUPER OPTIMISTIC at this point, I put on a little Taylor Swift while I got dressed and headed over to warm up with thirty minutes of monster management time scheduled.
Turns out I needed all of five minutes before we were ready to go in. He was soft and with me, and just went ahead and did the job. During a walk break--because I had a lot of time to spare--I passed a friend and muttered under my breath, "He's so good when he's not being an asshole." Another competitor was hand walking her horse by us at the same time and started laughing hysterically. But really. Raise your hand if you can relate.
|wow so cute|
I know the trot work in this test isn't yet where it needs to be to score well, but I did my best to at least keep everything where it belonged. We had a good first center line, and then actually got a 6 for the first medium trot which I will not turn down ever. The lateral work was, as always, kind of tight and stilted, but he did the movements and got 5.5s with "braced" and "unsteady".
|can get wobbly when tight|
The walk work-- including rein back and turns on haunches--were 6.5s and 7s which helped compensate for the trot work just like I hoped it would. The canter was a long line of 6s and 6.5s which I was happy for since the simple changes were a bit sticky in warm up, but her only comments were "needs collection" and "strung out but balanced". We finished with an 8 for the final center line and 7s for gaits and rider position. Sold!
Her final comments were: Your gaits need more power. Needs more collected frame. Correct, could be more effective. Lovely horse, work on the collection. Final score a 61+% for fifth (out of five, but the two riders in front of me were half a percent ahead).
I didn't have time to check my score before my first test because I was the first Second rider to go and had to scamper over to the other ring to finish out 1-1 with just enough time to sponge him down and offer him some water (which he wasn't interested in; he handled the heat really, really well because fitness and conditioning, y'all. Train in what you compete in!)
|i got pro pics saturday but they're not ready yet so all of these are from sunday|
I was so happy with getting Opie's Second level debut out of the way without making a complete fool of ourselves, I completely wrote off our First level test. Story of the year. I just can't get behind First. I hate it, I don't want to ride it, the tests sucks, it's the worst, the end. I put in enough of a warm up to say so, Opie went around and did the thing, and then we parked it outside the ring with two rides to go and chatted with the photographer while Opie cocked a hind leg and literally fell asleep.
We went in and laid down the most 6 test that ever did live. 7s for the walk broke things up, as did a 5.5 for the most beautiful but unasked for canter to walk transition over X. Save that for the other test, buddy!
Her comments were focused more on my rider mistakes which is never a bad thing because it's no secret I need all the floppy help I can get. We ended up with a 62+% which was just enough to snag the last ribbon in a giant class. Coasting by on cuteness, let's call it what it is.
We were done and on the road by 9:30 which meant Opie and I were both back inside and in front of our fan/air conditioner by 11. That was a massive relief since the heat was no joke, but we made up for it the next day with some super shitty ride times!