This horse show was just brutal in terms of getting anything else done during the show. The storms yesterday brought the pace of the show to a screeching halt, too, and it took forever for the evening session to wrap up. Audie was in the last class, so I stayed to watch her go, but I didn’t get back to the hotel until almost eleven. That is way past my bedtime, and I had to be up, packed, and out of the room by 7:50am. I am so tired, and I didn’t get to read anything, play Dark Spire on the DSi, or take a nap. I didn’t even get to eat anywhere more exciting than Pancheros. It’s going to be a challenge to keep the other blog rolling in reviews because I haven’t had time to read anything!
Me and Nyk
The championship with Nyk went well, but a junior exhibitor edged us out for the win. Since I used up Nyk’s energy in the earlier class with the roadster gait instead of the road trot, he was one tired little pony. He tried to give it his all, but he didn’t have a lot left to give. I don’t know why they had the qualifier and the championship on the same day, in back to back sessions. The jr eq horse was fresher because it got to go first thing in the morning, while Nyk went later in the afternoon. Anyway, good first time out for Nyk, though I was disappointed that he didn’t win it all.
I am more excited about the classes today. We were in a huge rush to get Blondie ready because there were five of the kids from the barn in the showmanship class, and it took a lot of effort to get all of the horses ready. There was supposed to be a five minute break before the performance classes started, but they didn’t follow the schedule. M was just freaking out that we were going to miss the class. I wasn’t really all that stressed about it; Blondie works better with a very short warm up, and I thought it would be best to just trot into the class.
Because the warm up ring, which is outside, was underwater, they were allowing a 2 minute warm up in the ring before they called the class. I should have just stayed outside until it was time for the class to start, but I trotted in to get her around the ring. She got a little goofy, and I just wanted the class to begin before she started blowing off her feet. Finally, it started, and I learned more about my horse during that five minute class than I learned about her in the last four years.
I was having a problem at the far end, with her spinning around and getting light on her feet. M was on the other end, and she told me to loosen the curb rein. Then it dawned on me; every time I have had trouble with the mare in the show ring, I was hanging on the curb rein and pissing her off. I let off on it, and she was good for the rest of the class. Still a little spooky and she still wouldn’t go near the rails, but she didn’t get ignorant. We didn’t place very high because she spun around in front of the judge, but I hoped that I had learned from my mistakes and we’d have a better showing later in the day.
Getting ready for the class
During the class, I also tried to stay behind a horse, because Blondie works better when there is a horse ahead of her. I tried to park behind one of the trainers, but her horse was faster than Blondie. Then I almost ran up Big Bob’s butt when we transitioned to a walk. I wasn’t finishing rails, which was leaving too much time at the walk, which Blondie doesn’t like to do. I cataloged these errors in judgment, talked to the trainers, and worked out a plan of attack for the next class.
In the afternoon session, we tried again. I felt much more confident, because I understood that I was making Blondie do most of the stupid stuff she has been doing. I let up on the curb rein, took and gave, took and gave on the snaffle rein, and tried to only adjust my reins on the corners, setting her up for a nice show pass. I tried to keep my fingers light and not clamp down on the reins. I finished every rail, even if it meant not walking. Both D and M said the spinning around was worse than not walking. Most of the trouble I have is at the walk. When Blondie is moving at speed, she stays pretty solid. It’s that walk that kills us. So I tried to set it up so we did it as little as possible.
We had a good class, and we placed in the middle. Last year we were last. I learned that my mare gets pissed when you pop her in the mouth with her curb bit, and she doesn’t forgive you for it. I have to keep my hands still, still, still or she fights the bridle. She is actually easier to get her head set than Nyk, but you can’t bump her mouth once you have it where you want it. It has taken me four years to figure this out. Or it has taken me four years to ride well enough to do it. Now D said that he is going to soup her up a notch, because she is more of a country pleasure horse now than a show pleasure horse. Hopefully we will be more competitive for the next show.