We have been having just beautiful weather here in the PNW so imagine my dismay when I checked the weather report on Wednesday and found that it was supposed to rain all weekend. I love horse shows but camping is not one of my favorite things as it is so I’m sure you can all imagine how excited I was for the rain. It poured the whole way down to Aspen Farms. Fabulous. We did encounter a bit of luck in that it stopped raining long enough for us to put up the tent and get settled.
It started pouring again in the middle of the night and it was still going strong when we got up to feed the horses at 6:30 the next morning. We were stabled in Barn C which are the worst because the flood. Sure enough, Dandy was standing in basically a mud pit. Fabulous moment number 2. I cleaned out what I could and grabbed the bag of shavings I had brought with. It wasn’t enough but the boy was nice enough to take the truck and run up to grab more shavings from the local feed store.
I immediately got started on making Dandy look beautiful. He had a relatively early ride time and I wanted to be able to see JLE ride her advanced horse first thing at 8:00 am so I knew I was going to have to leave and come back. I left him with his coat all rubbed down, sock cleaned off and whitened (don’t know why I bothered… more on that in a moment), and his tail all brushed and showsheened up. I came back to a horse covered in fresh shavings. *sigh*Luckily it didn’t take long to get him looking great again and braiding took me half the time it did at EI.
Once I started getting him tacked up it was very clear that Dandy wasn’t the quiet horse he had been at his last show. He was up. He held still long enough for JLE to get on but after that? Yeah, not happening. We had to skip the bit check and I had to just hold his number during warm-up. Thankfully JLE had gotten on almost 40 minutes early and, after about 20, Dandy was finally willing to settle down and stand still for his bit check and we slipped the number on the bridle.
Dandy was in Ring 3 for dressage which ended up being the grass ring. Remember how it had been pouring all day? The footing was not good. It was slick and roughed up. Warm up started in a sand mud ring and by the time they moved to the grass warm up, Dandy was coated in mud. No more white socks. No more bright copper coat. Everything was a dull brown. Just yuck.
“But, on the plus side,” as I was telling one of the other members from the barn as JLE trotted Dandy around the outside of the ring, “at least Dandy was calming down and looked ready for his test.” Not so much. He passed a rack of jumps and for some reason LEAPED into the air. Spoke to soon. Eventually the bell was rung and the came down the center line.
It wasn’t a great test. He didn’t look completely relaxed, slipped a few times, refused to do a free walk, and again stuck his haunches out at the halt. The only really good thing about it, or so I thought, was that he waited to lift his front feet off the ground until right after the halt. Ugh. To be fair, it wasn’t a full on rear. Just a little hop that he was unhappy with the rain and the footing and the pressure, all understandable really. I didn’t want to be out in the rain either. Still, I was happy for him for getting through it and for not having a full on melt down, only green-horse show nerves.
I was even happier to see that the judge had given him a 31 despite all of that. He would have broken the 30 mark if he had gotten his normal free walk or even a slightly better halt. I guess that just gives us something to work on for next time! That 31 was enough to put JLE and Dandy in fourth going into Stadium Jumping the next day.