Sunday, January 15, 2012

Snow is in the forecast, Let’s Horse Show!

Happy to say I made it back safe and sound from the show on Saturday even with an inch of snow on the ground where the horse show was held. For those of you not living in the Seattle area you should know that it only takes 2 inches of snow to bring our entire world to a standstill. When I was getting Grace ready for my late afternoon classes large fluffy flakes started falling from the sky, pair that with the freezing cold temperatures and I have to ask myself, what kind of people would choose to participate in a horse show in this kind of weather? My kind of people, that's who!

I rode in the reining class to help fill it and being the first riding class of the day it gave us a chance to get stupid in the show ring out of the way. With cold rain coming down outside the indoor warm up ring was nuts. I am not at the point that I can really accomplish a good warm up riding next to horses that are standing on their hind ends, so Grace and I headed out into the rain to warm up. When we entered the main show ring for the final warm up Grace and I became stiff and out of sorts. I talked to Sarah before my run who reminded me that it was a SCHOOLING show and I was to take my time and SCHOOL (yes, she said it in caps!). The reining run gave us a chance to get some nice lope work in and Grace changed leads only where asked. Big step for her as in the past she’s been known to make up her own changes everywhere else in pattern.

The trail classes were being held outside in the rain and since we were already wet and cold I decided to go for it. My copies of the patterns were soaking wet and were falling apart as I was trying to read them. The trail judge sat in a car at the end of the arena to stay warm and dry, the pattern was set at one end of what is normally the outside schooling area. There were people wandering into the pattern the entire time, I saw one woman who had to stop mid pattern while someone lunged a horse right into her path. On my first pattern I had someone schooling the trail bridge right behind me. Despite the distractions Grace did and I did well, winning 2 out of the 3 classes. I was really pleased with both the jog overs and lope overs as Grace stayed relaxed and on rhythm.

It took me a rail class or two to get into my body, but when I did I was rewarded by my horse stretching for the bit and driving up from behind at the jog. We stayed on the inside track and lapped the slow pleasure horses on the rail several times. I didn’t care as I was enjoying feeling my mare’s hock drive up from behind for what may have been the first time ever in the show ring. We improved with each rail class, even placing 3rd in a lope class that I accidentally entered.

This is the second show that I’ve entered the equitation pattern classes and I was able to see and feel a big improvement from the first show. Grace was much more relaxed and was better about waiting on me, it was no coincidence that I was better about staying relaxed and taking my time on pattern. During the lope pattern we had to do a simple change from the right lead to the left lead. Grace anticipated when I asked for the jog so I brought her to a halt and made sure to get her into position before letting her lope off. That might have just been the biggest success for me the entire day. Better than any blue ribbon, I used my brain in the show pen! Starting to finally get the point of this “schooling” show thing.

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