I didn’t have high hopes for coming out of Area Champs with a ribbon. Not when there are 17 riders in your class and they’re all good. Not when you know dressage is a hit or miss. But I did kind of hope. Our ride at Stable View (which I will some day get around to recaping) had been absolutely beautiful. I knew that if we had another test like that, we had a chance.
But I also knew I was going to be battling the heat and humidity with a ride time of 3:22. Lovely.
Still, I was excited and I headed off to warm-up hopeful. And warm-up was perfect. Hot. Dusty. Blessedly short. But perfect. My hope started to rise. We could so do this.
Then we got into the arena and Gus fell apart including mini bucks as I asked him to enter the area where all the dressage tests were. I honestly don’t know what his deal is. He could care less about the horses in warm up. He could care less about the judge’s booth (he has never once even looked sideways at it) but we get in the dressage ring and suddenly he can’t bend right to save his life. Or move off my leg.
The three things I was happy with were: our right lead canter out of the diagonal which was ironically the only time he was willing to bend, the fact that he kept his head down in the free walk instead of giraffing, and our halt was as good as it has ever been. Otherwise, it was bad. Gus just could not even deal with dressage apparently.
I admit that it looks better than it felt as I received all 6’s and 7’s except for a 4.5 on the free walk/medium walk for jigging and a 5.5. on the medium walk prior to that for being behind the vertical.
Annoyingly enough, this only seems to happen at Chatt Hills. Not that we’ve had great luck elsewhere but the complete 180 is a Chatt thing. I am thinking about having my trainer take him to a schooling show here and just ride every test she can (and blow them if she has to). And then I’ll do the same.
Partly because I had to get ready for XC and partially because I really didn’t want to know… I wasn’t too concerned about checking scores. I knew that wasn’t good enough for a top 10 placing. Sure enough, it was a 39 and change. And we were sitting in 15th.
Normally I don’t talk a lot about the pre-show time. Normally because it goes something like this: we got to the show, we set up, we walked courses, we rode, can’t wait for the actually show to start, woo hoo!
However, here’s how the pre-show time went for Stable View:
We had a four hour drive from the barn to Stable View that actually turned into six hours due to construction and rain. SO MUCH RAIN! Husband and I were hauling two horses this trip and there were some definitely scary moments where we could not see the road. But, luckily for us, Stable View was reporting wonderful sunny weather…
That is, the sun was shinning until we pulled in with the rain clouds. Seriously, drenched in seconds.
But the rain did manage to stop for a few minutes so that we could go walk XC.
Only to have it start thundering and lightening when we were five jumps from home.
Then the working student realized she left her helmet in her mom’s car (which was not on the grounds) so instead of having a quick lesson together, Gus and I waited and practiced our selfies under the huge covered arena while she borrows my helmet.
Then it was off to LT’s friend’s farm where we would be staying the night. Last time we were there Gus stayed in a little covered and hot-wired fence run in. He didn’t sleep all night so when I was given the option to let him stay in a big open field, I said yes. We let the horses out but they were both more interested in the grass so we went to clean up and decided to bring them their dinner in an hour.
And then I cried. And laughed, because what else are you going to do?
I may have been a little bit exhausted doing Poplar just two weeks after Sporting Days, but it ended up being the best choice! Having two back to back shows really helped Gus and I settle into show life and I think we both learned a lot.
Dressage was no exception to that! I was a little bit worried on Friday because I had a firecracker in warm-up. To be fair to Gus, warm-up was crazy and it was cold and dreary. I didn’t really want to be out there either. Still, I wish he could have just settled and got to work. That way we could have both gotten inside faster!
Thankfully Saturday was much nicer weather and Gus was much calmer in warm-up.
The test was really nothing special and the judge, apparently already a tough judge, scored it that way. However, what the judge doesn’t know is that it was the most consistent test Gus and I have ever had. We rode Test A, which I like better than Test B. I did have to really fight for the consistency with Gus but I’m proud that I went in there and held him to the rules.
The one thing that I was sort of disappointed with my score about was our free walk. I really thought that was the best free walk we’ve ever had but we got a 5.0. That really hurt considering the coefficient. I hate to think what the judge would have scored our Sporting Days free walk!
Our final score was a 36.8. Yuck! I thought we had done at least a 34. But the judge scored everybody just as harshly so I ended up being in fourth place afterwards out of eleven. Can’t complain too much.
He’s a good boy though and we keep getting better and better in the actual ring.
I cannot believe all the choices I have here in Area III for showing and clinics. In Seattle, you had one option every other weekend during the summer for events, a couple of derbies in the spring, and maybe some clinics over the weekend. In some ways that is nice, you know your schedule year in and year out, no wondering where you’re going this year. Most weekends here I have a recognized horse trial within a few hours or a schooling horse trial or any number of dressage and jumper shows.
When my trainer sent out a proposed schedule for this spring and summer, my eyes bulged out. There is something literally every weekend! There’s no way I can do all of that, I do have to spend some time at home with the dogs and the boy… I guess?
Anyway, I’ve narrowed it down to the following so far:
3.18.17 – 3.19.17 : Ashland Farm Clinic
3.25.17 : Chatt Hills Schooling Show
4.1.17 – 4.2.17 : Lainey Ashker Clinic
4.15.17 – 4.16.17 : FENCE H.T.
5.6.17 : Silverthorn Jumpers
5.20.17 – 5.21.17 : Chatt Hills H.T.
5.26.17 – 5.28.17 : Circle of Friends Agility Trial
6.3.17 – 6.4.17 – Aiken XC Schooling Weekend
6.17.17 – 6.18.17 : Stephen Bradley Clinic
6.24.17 – 6.25.17 : Stableview H.T.
7.8.17 – 7.9.17 : Chatt Hills H.T.
8.12.17 – 8.13.17 : Windridge Farm H.T.
Just looking at that and I’m starting to feel a little overwhelmed but very excited! I am going to have to make sure I keep on top of things both at home and at work. We’ll see how things are going in June before I start penciling in the rest of the summer but I’m hoping for good things!