Thursday, May 18, 2017

First Show of 2017

Our first show was April 6th.

It was chilly!
About the Show Itself:  Part of a local traditional (English/Western) summer open show series. Last year they added 7 Ranch/Performance classes to the end of the day. This was the same show we started with LAST SEASON.  There are paybacks for classes which is pretty sweet, but I admit I still like getting ribbons and prizes more.  This was a double-judged show and it was the kind of show where they dismiss a class and bring the next one in and then call the placings later so I am not sure exactly how we placed in some of the last classes.  It's hard to listen and show at the same time. Oh, to think there was a time that I would religiously record our placings and how many were in each class.  Over 20 years of showing will do that.  LOL.

It was a day of scattered showers but we managed to avoid most of the rain since the show was indoors.  There wasn't a warmup area, but they gave us time in the arena before our classes started.  I was wearing a base layer top in the morning but I got too warm and took it off before we left the farm and stupidly left it at the barn.  I could have really used it later!  Good thing I had my sweet new Noble Outfitters vest so I could look ranchy enough to show in it!

I was really happy we got to go show, partially because our next two will be part of a buckle series and since our first show last year was a bit of a .... learning experience... I wanted to get one out of the way before it "counted."  There are always things we need to work on and going to a show is the best way we can really know what's working and what's not, and make a plan of what to work on before the next show.... and yes, that's always a moving target.

I couldn't be happier with how Huck was at the show.  He's never bad at shows, but I tend to get pretty nervous and he does feed off of that.  He has taught me to "be the grownup" when I need to be, but it's so against my nature that it gets a bit exhausting.   This time around he flinched once when coming around the back of a trailer on our exploration walk.  No idea what he saw but it only lasted a second.  He was cheerful and obedient all day and I was happy with how we placed.

Ranch Conformation: 1st & 2nd.  We usually do well in this class and he's learning how to stand still for ages without moving.... but he moved right when one of the judges came to do the inspection.  I read somewhere to just calmly reset and if the judge leaves, she'll come back to get a better look later.

Walk/Trot Trail: 1st & 2nd.  This was our first trail placing!  [Our first (and only) trail class last year included the word "unruly" in the judges comments. Yikes! To be fair, he did EVERYthing I asked him to do in the class but he was a dancing giraffe the entire time.]  This time he was super awesome.  The class set up was really tight but he handled really well in the tight space and didn't hesitate stepping up onto a strange bridge.

Reining: DQ This has become my least favorite class, even though it's what all his training is in.  Our spins were wonky and dumb because I have a hard time relaxing and trusting he'll go off of my subtle cues.  Our lope off and first circles felt so un-cadenced and out of control and his frame was stiff and bent to the outside and he broke to a trot a few times.  For the 2nd set of circles I decided to DQ the class and take him two-handed and school the rest of the class.  Once I got him a bit more rounded up/in he felt much better and our lead change was solid.  He did the run-downs nicely and because the footing wasn't really good for reining I didn't try for slides.

Jackpot Ranch Pleasure: 1st/4th.  Clearly the 2nd judge didn't see the wrong lead (took left instead of right) and the brake to the lope on the 2nd extended trot.  I was really happy with the class.  It's almost baffling how he can be so out of sync in reining but drop his head and be cool as a cucumber in a rail class..... maybe it's me...
That trot though...

Ranch Riding: I think 2nd and 2nd?  This was listed as a Horsemanship class but it was a standard Ranch Riding PATTERN which I was thrilled with since I need all the mileage I can get on our future Congress class!  He did all the things, we just lacked some finesse.

Ranch Pleasure: ?/?.   I honestly don't remember, but it might have been a 1st?  No idea why they have two pleasure classes.  He still picked up a left lead instead of a right lead so I'll need to remember to bring his hip in when I ask.

We won all but $0.40 of our entry fees back with the payouts, so that was a neat surprise.

Our next show is on the 27th.  It's the first of three in a brand new Ranch series.

So what are we working on in the mean time?
-Picking up the Right Lead
-Quiet and steady in the reining
-Correcting the bend in reining circles
-Finesse in Ranch Riding transitions

Hopefully we will have the patterns a few days ahead of time so we can get comfortable with the trail, reining and ranch riding/ranchmanship patterns.

Post-show pasture naps are the best.