Phew, our last regular show weekend of the year is in the books – we just now have to power through to the championship show in October. This particular show is a special one to me since my dressage chapter is the one that hosts the show. We only have 45 members, so it takes everyone plus our supportive family members to pull off the weekend successfully. Planning starts pretty much the year before when dates are selected and judges are secured. Since so many of us also like to compete at the show, there is careful planning so that everything is set so that we can still get our horses ready for the competition. Needless to say that the week leading up to the show is crazy as all the pieces and parts must be delivered to the show grounds and then assembled before the competitors arrive on Friday.
And, if I can boast for just a second, I must say that we might be a small group, but we are mighty, and we pull off a mighty nice dressage show. We’ve got a tent full of vendors with fabulous wares to sell, delicious food, an air-conditioned and flushable port-a-john trailer (yes, you read that correctly, air-conditioned), lovely ribbons and prizes, generous sponsors, and the BEST volunteers. Mother Nature was a bit of a wicked witch on Saturday with some heavy rain, but the show went on and Sunday dawned a stunning fall day.
There was a brief moment on Saturday morning that I questioned whether or not we would make it to the show. My husband and I arrived at the farm to hook up the trailer and load Ike. While my husband hitched the trailer, I was responsible for retrieving said horse and having him at the ready when the ramp went down. Ike revived his one man play of “The Gingerbread Man” and ran as fast as he could around his paddock avoiding Mom. Not even an apple would draw him close even when I shared the better part of it with his brother. Luckily Ms. C felt sorry for me and stepped in to help. Thank goodness that Ike never says “No” to her. When that happens, we are doomed.
As I mentioned, Saturday was a bit of a soggy day. And when I say soggy, I mean soaked through to your underwear as you watch the rain stream off your very expensive saddle as you pray that there is no permanent damage. I must also get on my soap box for a moment and ask again who thought that WHITE pants were appropriate riding attire??!! Unflattering to most of us and rather transparent when wet. I’m fairly certain that the tag on my underwear was readable through the wet fabric. We ended up only riding our First Level test and with a personal licensed show best of 67.9% we came home with a pretty red ribbon. That test made me feel secure with where we are as we head to the championship show.
Sunday dawned a better day. Crisp fall air and bright sunshine. Since we didn’t want a repeat of Saturday, Ms. C brought Ike in before we arrived. Sorry big boy. My first ride time was identical to Saturday and my second was shortly after – that meant we only had to tack up once which is always a good thing in my book. Anyway, our First Level test was not as tension free as Saturday’s ride, but we still managed a respectable 65.7% and another red ribbon. Would you like to take a guess at what caused our tension? Geese. Canadian geese waddling about right outside the fence line. Just what is it about birds that Ike cannot handle? At least they did not take flight since that would have guaranteed that I would have had a short duration flight as well.
Our second test of the day was Second Level Test 1 or as I like to call it, the one with all the simple changes. Luckily, Ike and I have made progress in our simple changes and we actually received some 7’s for them during this test. Woohoo! There is hope for us yet. As you can see from the video, we still need to develop better throughness and Ike needs to sit on his hind end more, but considering that we really just started Second Level a few months ago, I am pleased with our progress. The plan is to work hard all winter and be ready to bust a move with Tests 2 and 3 at our first show in May 2016.
We ended up with a 63.333% and a third place ribbon. Our goal for Second Level this season was not to make it to any of the championships, but to achieve at least 60% in our scores. I’m just thrilled to say that all of the Second Level tests that we have ridden this year have hit the 60th percentile range.
With this show behind us, our sights are now set on the Region 1 GAIGs in mid-October. Big man is going to get a well deserved break for a few days and then we will be back to work to fine tune the elements for the First 3 test.
Thanks for sticking with us this season!