We are calling yesterday’s schooling show a success. The weather, albeit cold and drizzly, cooperated enough to let us get both tests completed and Ike loaded before the rain restarted in earnest. Ms. C’s schedule was flexible enough this weekend that she was able to accompany us for schooling and moral support. My dearest husband was the best cheerleader and chauffeur. And Ike? He was again a superstar and demonstrated a maturity well beyond his four years.
Since our ride times were some of the last rides of the show, we didn’t need to leave the barn until close to 1:00 p.m. That meant that there was plenty of time to groom in the morning, but my lazy side kicked in and I only braided Ike’s forelock. What can I say? The motivation wasn’t there to even attempt my cheater braids (http://www.dressageextensions.com/ProductDetail.asp?KEY=14985). We did make sure that Ike had no big hunks of dirt on him and that he had plenty of hay to munch since the ride would take almost an hour and a half. Ms. C rode with us which meant my hubby had to endure an hour and a half of horse talk and test strategies. Have I mentioned that he is a saint?
The drive was uneventful and we arrived in plenty of time. The facility was lovely and big, so there was a lot for Ike to take in and process, including riders and horses in costume. Once I checked in with the show secretary, I went ahead and tacked up and hopped aboard. Well, okay, there is no hopping aboard Baby Huey – even my legs aren’t long enough to reach the stirrups without a mounting block. My clever husband with great foresight purchased a portable mounting block for the trailer last Christmas.
Warmup went well. Ike got a bit tense when the herd of deer (it is a herd isn’t it?) appeared out of the woods and bounded through the field, but a proffered peppermint from Ms. C soothed his nervous soul. Food motivation can be such a useful tool to have available. We stayed in the warmup ring for most of the time since the warmup area near the competition ring was grass which was still a bit wet from the morning rain. Didn’t want to tempt fate and slip.
We were able to ride early because of some scratches. As we headed around the ring waiting for the bell, the judge asked, “Where is your costume?” I smiled since she is dressed as a judge in a black robe and answered, “We are dressed as a four-year old.” Wasn’t going to tell her that if I was too lazy to braid, there was no way that I’d had motivation to make a costume. Also didn’t want to deal with costume malfunctions since I didn’t know how Ike would do at a show in the cooler weather. I should have know that he’d rise to the occasion and perform like the champ he is. Training Level Test 2 went well and we came home with a 65.2% and third place. The judge liked Ike and commented what a good boy he was for his young age.
Then came time for Test 3. My biggest worry was knocking over the ring as we attempted to make the canter turn off the short end and onto the long diagonal. I had visions of the entire arena falling like dominoes and the ring having to be reset while the volunteers cursed us under their breath. We nailed our centerlines and achieved 7’s for our trot loops which I never expected. It is our canter that still lacks good engagement in the hind end (more half halts was the judge’s comment), but we did manage to canter onto the long diagonal without hitting the rail. Final score – 65% and second place – not bad for Ike’s first attempt at Test 3. And if I can just say that the first place rider rode Test 1 while the other three riders in the class rode Test 3. Hmm, not sure how I feel about that.
So we now have six decent Training Level scores from schooling shows which are enough scores to submit for year-end awards. The competitor in me really wanted to have at least one score that eked over the 70% mark – we only had one that even came close with a 69.375% – missed it by that much. So today I asked my saintly husband for one last show at the end of the month…god bless him, he said yes. We will head back out on October 27th for two more rides/attempts to cross that 70% mark. And who knows, we just might try it in costume…
Congratulations on your scores! It’s always tough showing young ones in cooler weather… And at age 4 that’s an awesome result for Training level tests! My girl is 7 and I did a Training Level test 1 this summer, and we didn’t achieve nearly that high of a score due to her head placement and lack of engagement of her hind end. Your hard work is paying off! Congratulations again 🙂
Thanks – you are too kind. Engaging that hind end is a lot harder than it sounds in books.