**I have most of the patterns from the clinic posted now if you'd like to go back and look at them. It seems the new thing is for shows to sell the pattern booklets for the shows for $1. I like the idea. Good, easy fundraiser and I get to add them to my pattern binder. The ones from the clinic were postcard size which made them easy to stash in the waistband of my show pants or in the pocket of my jeans, but since I can't find one of them are a lot easier to lose. :(**
Sunday morning I headed to the barn to move all of my show stuff to the barn entrance so when B arrived with the trailer we could load up and go. Zip loaded like a champ, but the trailer (2 horse straight) is the smallest trailer I've ever put Junior in and he wasn't convinced it was a good idea. He got half-way in and shot backwards, dragging me along and wrenching my lower back quite badly. I had felt it coming on before the yank, probably due to the time I spent last week with a broom over my head de-cobwebbing the barn. It's pain I've felt before so I knew I could continue with the day but that it would make it a little tougher. I'm a bit stubborn and I've shown through the flu, torticollis, and what I think might have been fly-spray poisoning... you are actually not supposed to use barn spray on your bare, wet legs, after all, but what did I know? B ended up getting him in for me and once he was in and found his morning grain he was just fine. He bumped his head on the way out of the trailer, but not badly. For only his 2nd show/event being tied to a trailer I thought he was good. He whinnied a lot, and pawed a little, but didn't fuss too much.
I was, of course, nervous and nauseous as I always am on Show days. I try to relax and breathe and get through it as best I can. Memorizing four patterns at once is difficult when you're also listening to how fast the show is progressing and thinking of all thing the little details to get ready. Where is my number? Did I remember to bring the electrical tape for his tail extension? Should I pee now or wait? I think part of that anxiety is that we do the Showmanship classes and then only have a few classes between that and our first riding class, so right after SMS he's got to get tacked and I've got to make small adjustments like taking my number off my back (there are numbers on either side of my pad) and putting on my spurs. More mileage for ME would help.
B was a great Show-Mom and it was really helpful with everything. Because it's been nothing but rain here, we were trailered on grass but Junior made it into a muddy grassy mess and every time we took him from the trailer his feet were covered with dinner plates of grassy mud and B had the illustrious task of cleaning them off. Because the arena is indoors and kind of dark I didn't bother spray painting his white legs or adding hoof polish. I sometimes wonder if this does knock me down in presentation points, but he HATES the spray and it just seems like a lot of futile work. I get jealous of the kids with show-moms who do all that stuff for them while the kids socialize and memorize their patterns. And memorizing FOUR patterns in one day is rough for me.
But anyway, back to the actual show. I realized as I grabbed his bridle for our first class that I had lost a curb hook and it was no where to be found. CRAP. So I would not have the leverage the Clinician said I should use and technically my bit was not legal, but since it was an open show maybe it wouldn't matter.
Adult English Showmanship.
There were 4 in the class and I got 3rd. The 4th horse was DQ'd for totally messing up the pattern. I actually remembered the pattern. He was yelling the whole time. We need to work on some things. Thank you all for your suggestions after the Clinic post. The snap and cadence are my next steps, along with the more deliberate movements during quartering. The judge commented that I need to take at least two steps each time I move to the other side of the horse. Here I thought I was being efficient. WRONG.
Adult Hunter Under Saddle. I worked him down a bit in the warm up arena and since I had very little bit to work with I had to be a bit demanding with him. In the class, however, Junior was lovely. We were 5th out of 9 so we got our first pink ribbon! Now we have a complete set! Consistency is still a problem, as well as anticipating the walk-to-canter transition that always comes soon after the "reverse and continue walking."
B was amazing and found a tiny curtain hook that I kludged into a curb hook so I had some leverage for the class. It was a difficult pattern calling for a lead change and we're really not good at those. I was so shocked that he made the change I forgot to come back down to the posting trot and therefore got 5th out of 5. Such a shame because he was doing the best pattern we'd ever done until I screwed it up. Poo.
Adult Western Showmanship.
He was much quieter by this time and set faster and stood better than he has before. Still need to work on cadence and snap. We got 3rd out of 4 and after watching the video I'm not sure why we didn't get 2nd, but oh well. I just wish I knew what the difference was. That's why the clinic on Saturday was so nice when she gave all of the reasons for placings. During inspection the judge asked me if I knew what I did wrong in the Equitation and I told him I realized it too late to fix it.
The lope to extended trot transition wasn't very pretty but the rest was good (for us). I think he thought I missed the 90 at the end because I made eye contact and nodded and THEN turned away but he'd already begun walking away and wasn't watching me. It's those little things that can really screw you.
I got lots of compliments on my outfit, including from the guy who won our western showmanship class and also several comments on how good Junior looked. I also got a few "that's a gorgeous horse" comments and I gave my standard answer: "Thanks! He thinks so, too."
I opted not to do the Pleasure classes, but probably should have since he was being so good. They're just sooo late in the day and I was worn out and hurting. B and Zip got 3rd and 2nd out of 5 in their reining classes and I got a chance to visit with my friends from the old barn. It was nice to see them all. We left after the reining classes and Junior still didn't want to get on the trailer but B got him on safely. We got back to the barn at 7:30 and Junior unloaded easily. Max's awesome mom had his stall all clean for me so I only had to toss my stuff in the car/barn and be done.
Overall I'm pleased with his performance. I can see improvements in posture and obedience. We need to continue to refine in consistency, cadence and carriage. We need to work on keeping weight on the hind end so that stops are smoother and have better self-carriage. A lot of that is strength related. He's working much closer at shows to how he works at home and that's very helpful. I no longer worry that he's going to be crazy or disobedient and can concentrate on keeping him working correctly. He did have a moment before Horsemanship where he didn't want to go into the warm up arena but it was a half-hearted refusal I was able to adjust easily. As the Clinician said, he's still at a place where I need to keep riding him to keep him working correctly, but that's an improvement over not working correctly at all. It'll come with time.
My back is in pretty rough shape and yesterday was a long day with a candidate for a position we're hiring at school that ended with breakfast this morning. All of my stuff needs to be sorted and readied for the next show but until I can bend over without shooting pain it'll have to wait.
Here's footage of my patterns and some of the rail work in my classes.