Saturday, August 26, 2017

Alphabet Soup: Show Recap 8/26

OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS we did the thing, we showed at First level at a rated show in very soupy conditions and my pony tried her heart out.

We looked pretty good doing it too :) Still a little shocked by that actually since I'm the queen of crazy faces and awkward outfits.

Somehow (still not sure how) we ended up being able to load, trailer to the show grounds, warm up, ride our test, and load to head home in a break in the rain. As soon as we left the show grounds it started raining again which was fine by me.

I'm pretty sure now that my unicorn (pooping rainbows) socks and Stubborn Together bracelet are lucky and my pink toes just kicked it up the extra notch we needed today ;)

Katai loaded first try, no hysterics, (since the trailer was completely open like a stock trailer) and we headed out. At the grounds she was pretty good but just a few minutes in started rearing which caused the show secretary to tell me that if she didn't quit I needed to get her a stall. I wasn't against it but I'm not sure it would have helped much beyond containing her. Mostly it just upped my stress level and I felt so bad that we caused her to need to give us a talking to. I untied her and took her to graze over near the ring we'd be riding in.

I was watching the warm up and keeping an eye on how things were going. It was soupy and at first I wanted to try it out to make sure I could actually ride in the equally soupy ring but after seeing multiple horses slipping around I changed my mind. L was showing in the same space and ended up warming up in this driveway area near a building and advised me to do the same.

I also took the time to walk her through a few puddles. It's not like she doesn't do that in her pen but I've probably only ridden her in a wet arena once in her life and that's when meltdowns were a common thing so I'm not sure I schooled her through puddles at all.

In this part of the show grounds she was pretty relaxed and quiet. We ended up doing a pretty short warmup and then just walking around and standing a bit. When I first rode her into the arena for First Level test 1 it was pretty clear it was going to be tough to get a good test. She stopped dead at the first puddle and I needed to pony club kick her forward. I took advantage of the chance to walk/trot/canter (although the canter took a few pony club kicks to get going and was so rough) around the ring and then let the judge know I was ready. 

I knew I was doing a lot of bending and being busier with my hands than I like and she was trying to get tense and braced. She's definitely behind the vertical in a lot of these pictures but we're not riding that way at home and Jane isn't too concerned about it. It's just the next thing we need to deal with.

Little on the forehand but MOVING IN THE MUD!!!
So much freer in the shoulder than she was!
We got stretch!!!!
BTV but more lifted in front
We got medium walk and free walk without breaking to trot!!
She thought about it but I shut it down and she listened.
Little tight but we're cantering!
I'm definitely tight through my elbows here so even more btv
The hock action was certainly improved ;)
Love my face here as I was going OH SHIT. There was a
HUGE puddle right along the long side in the middle of
where we needed to do our canter lengthening.
It was either jump over it or go around it at that point for Katai
#notaneventer so I was very thankful when she sort of went around it
Then she was back to business (Darn right toe still didn't want to behave)
and btv (darn elbows)
#actuallygotalengthening Jane was squealing about this one after :)
This is sort of a weird angle but you can see how much higher her front leg is!
Finally, we nailed the halt :)
 In the end we had a few mistakes. She broke to canter in the first lengthening (at least that's a good mistake as far as mistakes go), she broke to trot in our second 15 meter canter circle and then picked up the wrong lead so I needed to shut it down and try again, and then went around the puddle. Not completely a mistake but almost off course. I also had a couple of sloppy corners. I was trying not to upset her or pick a fight over anything especially with the mud.

My judge was great and fair with the conditions and the mistake that was purely condition related (going around the puddle) didn't reduce our score much.

In the end.
Another blue and some more glassware
We're 3 for 3 and while it's awesome and encouraging to win these classes this one was only two people and the other rider was a junior :) However, I did get a really great score of 64.074%!!! If this weren't opportunity that would have been my first Bronze Medal score but/and also certainly not competitive enough for first place. However, with that score at this show, I'm even more confident that we can get our 1st level Bronze scores next year!

Katai got STUFFED FULL of all the treats after since this time I'd remembered to have some in my pocket. After getting her untacked, I walked her around and let her graze and she was really pretty good despite turning into a pony kite a few times. We finally loaded her (she walked right on again) and then went to pick up my tests.

That first halt seems to kill us every time
8 for the final halt and 7.5 for the lengthening!!!!
I'm also happy with 7 for Rider's position despite me feeling floppy with all
the corrections I was needing to give to keep her going the right direction at the right speed haha.
Jane's comment was "yeah for a 70%+, otherwise that's 2nd level".
I love how sassy and protective she is of her students :)
Also, everyone always thinks Katai is a boy...
We had an uneventful ride home with lots of rainy dressage show stories and then I got Katai unloaded, cleaned the trailer and let her roll in the arena a few times before I got her mostly sprayed off. She got even more treats, granola bars this time, and hay and was looking better and less stressed by the time I left.

I'm so so so pleased with how this went. I had almost thought about not braiding because I was just meh about dealing with it in the rain but I'm so glad I did and so glad that I had my friend M there to take all the amazing riding photos. She's not a professional photographer but she's got an AMAZING eye and camera and because she also rides dressage she knows which pictures to take when. It's so incredible to have these pictures and so amazing to have her there to support me. She was really shocked with how much we've improved (so am I) and it was nice to have someone who's seen Katai at her worst (we boarded together right after I left J's) notice how much different she looks.

Now, of course, that this went so well and it was my last planned show I'm already looking forward to next year and to a winter of pushing both of us for the next step. This was certainly even better than the way I hoped to end our 2017 show season :)


  1. Yay! I am SO excited for you!

  2. WOOO you guys look fantastic!! Hope you're framing some of those pics! Major congrats on bringing this tricky pony so far, she looks downright professional! Those are some nice scores too!!

  3. Heck yeah!!! Winning all day long!

  4. Way to go! You handled the conditions very well.

  5. Good job! I have to say she looks so white and clean despite all the mud. I can't even keep my non white horses clean; I don't know how you do it.