Red and Blue Banner Day

I love my big man.  He gets four gold stars for the schooling show today: the first one for being a gentleman for getting on and off the trailer with no fuss, the second one for being very well-behaved with his ground manners for tacking and waiting his turn, the third one for his performance in Training Level Test 1, and the fourth one for his second showing in Training Level Test 2.

This was the first show that Ike was asked to do two Training Level tests…and let us not forget that I just rode the current Test 2 for the first time ever from start to finish this past Thursday.  We arrived with plenty of time to tack and warmup – in all honesty, I could have arrived 30 minutes later and been just fine.  I’m just used to tacking taking 45-60 minutes as I played ring-around-the-rosy with Cigar in order to get the saddle in place.  But Ike being the stellar boy that he is, stood quietly and he was tacked in under 15 minutes.  Since we were early, I walked him to the competition area to observe the warmup ring and the competition arena.  I had many friends at this show who’d never met him, so he preened from the attention.  I have no doubt that he knew people were saying nice things about him.

Here we are in warmup receiving instruction from Ms. C.  This picture cracks me up since it looks like Ike is really trying to listen to and understand the direction we are receiving.

Test 1 was up first.  If you remember, we got a 58.3% in our first attempt at this test.  Today——-69.375%!!  Woot woot!  Ike was spot on today.  Canter transitions were prompt and correct.  We got an 8 for our stretch down trot which really helped our score since it is a coefficient movement.  Decent stretch down walk; I could have asked for more, but didn’t want to goose him and then really get hit.  We did get hit on our transition back to medium walk since Ike likes to show off his giraffe neck at that moment.  Our centerlines were not that spectacular in this test, but good enough.  The judge liked us as a pair and liked his trot.  I was in awe that we got first place – a totally unexpected, but delightful outcome for this ride.

We had an hour before Test 2.  Ike seemed a bit distracted in warmup (there were people starting to leave which seems to worry him) and the distraction continued into our ride…let me show you our entry halt…

“Look Mom, people are leaving me!  Oh dear, what if I am left alone?”  The trot to the right was also not our best effort.  Ike flattened and the hind end started its own orbit on our trot circle.  I got him back on the trot diagonal, so we were successful with the canter transition and our canter circle.  Our stretch down trot in this test was a 5.5 effort – Ike never really committed to the stretch.  The rest of the test was steady with lots of 6’s and 7’s.  Focus returned for the final halt (8).  When it was all said and done, we got a 67.857% and second place.  I’m tickled with Ike’s performance with this test as well. Again noted in the comments was the need to work on the transition from free walk to medium walk – point taken and understood.  The judge also commented that the front and hind ends sometimes appear to belong to two different horses – just not in sync.  I had to laugh since she was spot on with her observation.  She said that in time with consistent, correct work, we should see the problem less and less.

It was great to be amongst friends today.  Weather was great for the end of July.  Ms. C was present to witness her pupil’s success.  My supportive husband was there to cheer for us, and he was able to relax rather than having a white knuckle grip on the warmup ring with one hand and the cell phone in the other ready to dial 911.  Feeling very lucky as the day winds down.  Life is good.

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