I took a half-day on Thursday but even so it seemed like 1:00 pm would never come. I was literally counting down the minutes until I could bust out of work, grab Guinness and make my way to the Washington State Horse Park. But finally the clock struck one and I was on my way.
This was my first time at the Horse Park and wow was it gorgeous! You’re really not more than five minutes from town but you feel like you’re in a little horse paradise (except for hearing the freeway). While they could have organized the parking a little better, everything was set up great, the stalls even had lights hanging overhead!
Dandy had caught a ride with JLE and was already settled into his cushy end stall when I got there. He had his head hanging over the stall guard and seemed interested in everything that was going on. N was just about ready to tack him up for a hack so I lent a hand and we quickly got him ready to go. Before JLE got on, N tossed Dandy on the lunge line to see how he was feeling. On the lunge, Dandy was quiet and lazy. N actually had to encourage him to get his butt moving.
But when JLE got on and took him into the arena, Dandy finally woke up and he wasn’t completely pleased. He was up and there were moments where the pressure was just a little too much for him. Nothing major happened and JLE was still very pleased with how he acted. Apparently he has made progress even from his trip down to California.
Needless to say that I was both excited for Dandy’s dressage test the next day and worried that he wasn’t going to be all there mentally. But that’s why JLE was in the irons, just incase something bad did happen.
The first test of the day for our team wasn’t until 10:34 so we got to sleep in and didn’t have to feed the horses until 7:00 am. Dandy and JLE’s ride time was at 12:10 so I figured I would have plenty of time to get him braided and looking like a million bucks by then.
Turns out that I didn’t have as much time as I thought. This was the first time I was going to be doing a full neck of button braids and Dandy has a very long neck. I managed to fit 16 buttons in and five of them I did at least twice (a few I did three times). I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I just wasn’t happy with how the first ones looked. In fact, I wasn’t really pleased with the braids in general but eventually I ran out of time and just had to get them done.
The warm-up ring was packed but Dandy didn’t seem to care. I was shocked but very pleased. Dandy was on his game and wasn’t worried about the other horses running around him. Maybe this wasn’t going to be the disaster I originally envisioned.
Finally they called Dandy and JLE to head over to the dressage court. She was in Ring 2 which was being judged b Teresa Stewart. JLE had a few minutes to warm up around the ring while they waited. Then cowbell got rung and she turned my boy down the centerline.
The test went just about as perfect as you could hope. Dandy got almost all sevens except for one 8 (for working canter left lead) and two sixes (down center line and halt,salute). The six for the halt was actually a little generous, I thought, as Dandy not only stuck his haunches out he actually took a few steps backwards. Oops!
But the judge seemed to really like him and said at the end “A nicely presented test. Keep lovely horse stepping to bit in halts. Pair has talent for more!” They ended up receiving a score of 30.5(!) which was enough to have them sitting in 5th, out of 26, going into XC.
I couldn’t have been prouder of my boy and it seemed that JLE felt the same. She actually said that he was so lazy thru the test that she was trying to discretely kick him into gear. While he will eventually need to be more forward and energetic, I consider this a great success as I would much rather have him be lazy then panicked.
I spent the afternoon watching the rest of the team ride their tests and quietly dreaming that maybe Dandy was going to come home with a ribbon.