Of course last week he pulled a Bobby and was like, "JK, what's cancer? I've never been lame a day in my life." I didn't even think to see if I could get back into the dressage show. I'd sent along an Unfit to Compete note from my vet with my scratch so it seemed a little sketch to try to reverse that. Instead we rerouted to a local hunter show with my barn.
In typical WNY fashion, the only days it stopped rained since the dawn of time were Friday and Saturday and by the time I finished my short open warm up for the show on Sunday it was 50* and pouring.
Bobby was a gem to warm up. Well, once he got to canter. He was laying on my left rein and I was like, "Pulling fight? Bring it on!" instead of just kicking him, but after the canter he was perfectly pleasant. BM squeezed us into a group lesson Friday evening so we could get one more jump school in before the show. That made a grand total of five rounds over jumps in two days to prepare after not jumping at all in...four months? Totes prepared! He acted like he hadn't missed a day though. He was super adjustable and did whatever I asked of him, even if I asked him for some Grade A ammy things.
|probably would be a majestic canter if you could see all of it|
We started right off with the first division of the day. Quite frankly all hunter divisions confuse the shit out of me. Like, I'm pretty sure half of them are the exact same thing just with different names. This was the hack division which is essentially four flat classes called different things. Probably they're looking for something different in each one, but I don't know how much variety you can get with w/t/c. The hack is becoming all the rage around here even at the bigger rated shows. One of my barn mates won some giant fancy engraved silver plate for being champion at their last show in the hack. Dunno, just wanted some ribbons.
I was the only one from my barn in this division, but all my lovely barn mates came out and stood in the pouring rain to cheer us on. Thanks, team! Bobby doped along doing his thing. He got a little strong in the canter and occasionally wanted to giraffe, but he didn't pull any sideways shenanigans like he can so I was happy with it.
|good enough for me!|
We came in fourth in the first class, third in the next two, and then won the last. Why those placings? Pshh, beats me. We were beaten in the first class by a horse that would only pick up its left lead from a flying change, and the horse that won the first three classes screamed its head off nonstop. I don't think we should have won either because I am literally the laziest hunter rider on the planet.
It stems from the fact that I don't know what the fuck judges are looking for so what's the point of trying to ride properly? Sometimes it's like they don't even want you to do that. So I slump and don't bother engaging my core or really trying to connect my horse to the bit. Possibly if I actually cared about being competitive I'd make BM give me a lesson in how to ride for the hunter ring, but I don't so I won't.
|thanks for this random blue ribbon. i have no idea what i did to win it.|
I usually work out of my trailer at shows, but because of the rain I got Bobby a stall. We spent a few hours huddled in the aisle our barn took over wrapped in coolers and eating candy before it was finally time for our second division. The two main local show circuits (Eastside and NWNY) added a TB division to their shows this year so myself and another barn mate entered to support it. It was two 2'6" over fences classes and a flat.
|all everyone at the barn can keep saying about bobby getting to do some jumping|
again is, "he looks SO HAPPY!!!" dude is definitely enjoying the pimp life.
Bobby was a total super star for both rounds. Our first was the better of the two. We got a little close to the single on the long side, but BM was drilling me to "own your spot" in my lesson on Thursday so I was like, "Whatever, chip spot, equitate bitch!" I felt like I was with him for every jump and landed moving on and thinking towards the next one. I let him coast down the lines--even the blue line that was set as the longest five stride in existence and we had to Jesus Take the Wheel out of it both times, but Bobby took the big gappy distance and made it feel easy peasy.
|meanwhile the red line rode a touch tight, but whatevs.|
The second round was not quite so smooth. I was too grabby and didn't let Bobby carry the same pace as the first round. Bobby did an interpretive dance move over the second jump, but was smart enough to be careful of Fungus Leg and while it looked and felt speshul, he didn't even brush the rail.
|never fear, fungus leg got out of the way in time|
My solution of course was just to pick before each fence even more and we added a half stride to the outside line as well.
|yes on giving the horse enough of a release to get us out of this messy situation.|
no to that face. mine obvi. the horse doesn't seem to care much. #usedtoit
But we finished by cruising into and out of the blue line and when Bobby wanted to gallop off in celebration upon landing all I did was give him a tiny half halt and he came immediately back to a lovely canter instead of embarrassing the shit out of me and taking off with me. Again.
We were third in both the over fences classes and fourth in the flat to some really nice movers from the host barn. Overall though I was so, sooooo happy with this dude. First show of the year, doing the thing he hasn't gotten to do in ages after not even getting ridden in almost a month, and he just went out and did what he was told. I'm so glad I decided to embrace his health while he has it. He's such a seasoned show horse now that it's just fun to ride him, and not knowing how many more times I'll get to do this made me love it that much more.
|future mules might not stand so majestically in the miserable wet and cold.|
This Sunday we're hopefully heading down to Geneseo for a hunter pace with a big group from the barn. Bobby got his feet packed and a little bute this morning, and when I stopped in quick to drop off more meds he was having a wild stallion rearing party with his frat brother in their field (just look away) so I don't think he's feeling too awful. I'm not going to have to worry about the footing being too hard this weekend since we're supposed to have another six solid days of thunderstorms blowing in and out.
After that? I'm not sure. I'm having a hard time looking at shows since I can't keep making two to three hundred dollar donations when I have to scratch last minute. Obviously best case scenario he stays sound, but my checkbook can't count on that. It's too busy counting on medication for the rest of eternity and another vet visit next week with a possible lung ultrasound. So we shall see. We might be stuck in dreadful hunterland for the foreseeable future.
|fungus leg doing its best to blend in. don't be fooled by this mule's docile expression.|
he'd just gotten booted in the ribs for pawing.