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Act II: Show Recap 5/29

After a horrible night of sleep I woke up to my alarm at 5:30am and rolled out of bed. I put on my show clothes, made coffee and loaded myself into my car. I was running pretty early (nerves?) so I got to the barn earlier than planned at around 6:15am.

One of my other barn mates had arrived earlier and fed all three horses from our barn so Katai already had her grain and hay and was calmly eating. L got there right around me and we spent a little time getting our tack back out of our cars and in the isle. Of course, as soon as we got everything out it started to rain, first light and then fairly heavy. We were crossing our fingers that it would end by 7:30 when we planned to pull the horses out for some lunging/hand walking.

Luckily, almost on cue, the rain stopped and switched to some random spots of mist so we took that as a sign and got tacked up. Katai was decent in her stall and listened while I got her saddle on. She even snacked on her hay and drank some water while I was there. L finished first so she pulled her youngster (who was still quite calm) out and brought him to a back field to lunge. Since lunging isn't part of Katai's routine and it often just causes her to gallop and spin like a top, I elected to just walk her over to the cluster of show rings and into the midst of everything.

One of the quieter moments
On Saturday she had been quite calm, not sure if it was the relatively quieter environment or the Quietex, but on Sunday that wasn't the case. Pony was quite prancy, did some rearing and carrying on, and fussed in general. She was a little worried about umbrellas but mainly she just was high as a kite and didn't want to listen or pay attention to me.

I knew that it would be better if I just got on so that I could allow her to move forward. Only problem was getting on since she didn't want to stand by the mounting block for more than half a second. I just kept her moving, did some schooling and pats for standing for even a moment in that corner, and eventually got her to stand for a very brief period of time so that I could jump on.

Warmup - small dressage ring in the background
As soon as I got my second stirrup picked up I got her into a trot and had nothing to fault her for in the warmup. She was, again, really, really, really good! She was a little nervy about the horses running around in warmup (there were a bunch of kids on hunter/jumper ponies that were doing a lot of random canter shapes and coming up behind us) but really listened. She was forward and didn't have any tantrums and was evening listening to my half halts and slowing cues. We did some walk and trot and it was a huge success. I was riding right after L in the big ring, across from the warm up we were in, and my goal was to trot the whole time that L was riding so that she'd be quiet when we crossed over to the big ring.

I judged it as a huge success that I actually got her in the big ring since there was a LOT to look at over there. Then it became a bit rough. On Saturday Katai was fine with the closed up trailer that would serve as the judge's stand but I figured she'd have an issue with the open trailer with people in it. I was right and she slammed on the brakes as I went to pass it while we were still warming up outside the ring. I decided to pick my battle and looped her back around the other way. It paid off and I got her past in that direction but it still wasn't good and she was hot and upset. She started to spin and went to rear and I let the judge know that I was "ready" since I figured getting her in and moving was better than continuing to do loops at that point.

One of the good moments
Again I was proud that I actually got her in the ring and then we did our own version of the test including a shoulder in (or was it a haunches out) all the way to the halt at X where we did actually sort of halt. I sort of did a salute and then did a trot but sort of didn't make it to C. Whenever we were going away from the judge's trailer she was quite good but going towards it she was very reluctant and worried.

Another really nice moment - L's 4 year old in the background looking like an expert show horse
We did another sort of shoulder in thing, sideways to the final halt (which in test C is of course very close to the judge) and again, we actually halted, probably only because Katai wasn't willing to get any closer to that trailer.

Pretty square based on our trajectory!

It felt a bit like a disaster based on how well she'd done in the warmup but mainly I'm just glad that we pretty much got through the test, sans canter. L congratulated me and let me know that she was very proud and that I should be too. She said that we had moments of brilliance :)

At any rate I decided to scratch Intro A. We would have had to put Katai back in her stall for about an hour and then go back out there. I doubted that I could do it, plus I wanted to make this as positive and easy as possible and getting untacked and tacked again plus just trying to mount the fire breathing dragon just didn't seem possible at that point. What you can't see in these photos is that as soon as I dismounted after our test she quickly lathered up with sweat and was clearly at her limit.

I was reading for L's second test, Intro B, and we didn't have much time so we got both horses back to their stalls. At that point Katai's brain had completed the process of oozing out of her ears and she completely lost it in her stall.

Tantrum level Unicorn
She spent nearly the entire half hour we spent back at stabling on her hind legs. We think that she was so in heat that she NEEDED other horses and was trying to see over the partition. It was painful to stand there and, thankfully, while she can be a bit nuts she's also intelligent and very aware of herself so she never actually does anything stupid. Plus we knew that once I left she'd be better so I headed over to the small ring to wait for L and find someone with a test B for me to read from.

L had a REALLY good intro test B on her baby and we found out later that she scored a 65% with a couple of 8s and despite at least one 4. By that point her horse had lost his brain a little as well only for him it meant being tired and withdrawn. L and I brought him back to the barn, witnessed more craziness from Katai, and got our tests. I ended up with a 35.25% on my test which was very fair and accurate based on how Katai behaved.

The smily face shows me that we were crap this time and she gave us an accurate score but she has hope for us ;)
We quickly moved to load up and, based on how things went the previous day we loaded up L's horse first. He took about 10 minutes and then I walked Katai right in. I was really proud of her and despite all of her circling, screaming, calling, trying to run me over, rearing, rearing and flailing into me, and just generally loosing her crap, we got there and did what we meant to do.

We got back to the barn by around 10:30am so our show day was short and sweet (don't ask Katai cause I'm sure she'll have a different story). I went home and chilled the rest of the evening and was really glad that it was Memorial Day weekend so that I'd have another day off.

** The beautiful photos were taken by a friend who we used to board with at the last barn and who also takes lessons from L.

She also took this photo and her horse is the bay Arabian


  1. I hope that I can do as well as you when we get to ours.

    1. :) I'm sure you will!! I'm glad to have our first one under our belt and excited for the next one

  2. Sounds look it was a really good experience for everyone. Maybe not the brat score, bit you guys went in there and got it done. Plus those good moments are GORGEOUS.

    1. Thank you so much Carly!! I'm very happy with both of us and I'm sure that if we can just get her used to the show environment it will be amazingly fun :)

  3. Sounds like my first dressage show with my haffy. Sounds like you both did a great job. She is a beautiful hormonal unicorn!

    1. Glad it's not just me :) Thank you!!

  4. Sounds like my first dressage show with my haffy. Sounds like you both did a great job. She is a beautiful hormonal unicorn!

  5. Congrats! That's a very successful first outing! Good job, both of you!

  6. So many positives in there for your first outing! And when Katai is good, man. So pretty and fancy!!

    1. Thank you so much Tracy :-) That means a lot!


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