Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Final Ranch Show of 2017

We had a really good last show!

Here's the TLDR Version:

1st Am. Trail
1st Am. Reining
2nd Am. Pleasure
1st Am. Conformation
4th Am. Showmanship
4th Freestyle Reining
NP in Ranch Riding
NP in Ranch Riding Jackpot
NP Horsemanship

I really pushed Huck more for this show than I ever have and I am really pleased with how he did.  We did NINE classes from 9am to 6pm. 

We practiced the trail pattern the night before since it was already set up.  The pattern ended with a walkover of a log jumble and he could not go over it without ticking damn near everything and knocking poles over.  I was so frustrated with him.  I have no idea how to teach a horse to be careful.  He has such big solid feet that he doesn't mind hitting things.... Junior was the same way. I did not have a good feeling when I left the show grounds Friday night. 

BUT  Huck was sweet and quiet in the morning so I rode my trail pattern first to get it out of the way.  He seems to do better with that kind of stuff when he's fresh, which is opposite of my thinking, but I've found that after reining it's hard to get him to relax enough to just let me do things like drag a log or back through a small space.  He was so good!  He didn't tick ONE log! And we won!
I spoke with the ring steward after the show (someone I just know from being around horses over the years) and she told me the trail Judge said I had the best run of all 4 trail classes that used that pattern!  Video:

The pleasure class was deep as usual.  There were some horses there that we hadn't seen at our shows yet and I heard they were there to warm up for Congress. There were some nice moving horses in there and I was thrilled with our 2nd place finish.  I feel really good about the fact that the first time I tried to show him in a rail class he tried to do a rundown every time we hit the long side of the arena.  Now he lopes along like grandma's horse, extends, and comes back like NBD.    Video:

Reining went as usual.  I had a really hard time forming circles in that arena since it's kind of a square... then again I usually have the same problem in a rectangle too...  I have really been pushing his speed on spins since we needed to do 4 spins in the Freestyle reining so he was too reactive when I was trying to do just a 1 1/2 spin.  It was kinda ugly, but oh well.  Thankfully we managed to still have the best score in the class but it was low.   Video:

Freestyle was a hot mess - pun allowed but not intended.  I really shouldn't have done the class, but how can I not do a class that combines horses and COSTUMES!?!?!  I'd been choreographing a routine to Girl on Fire since I was showing Kevin and I knew Huck would look cool in a fire theme so I did it anyway. The streamers in his hair made the same "shhhhhh" noise as I make when we do our fast circles so he kept wanting to run and I kept holding him back which gave him mixed signals..... we basically scrapped our planned routine and just loped around and managed to get all the required elements in. We actually had our best stop of the day at the end of the freestyle so that was cool, and he backed up so well he stepped on and pulled out a small chunk of his tail. :( The best part of the whole thing was my wig so I'll just leave it at that.  My bad for not realizing I needed to practice in the hair streamers and also my bad for not trimming his tail lately!!!  LOL.

Ranch riding and Horsemanship were after the reining classes and they weren't great, which doesn't make me feel optimistic about showing RR at Congress.  I really feel like he has a hard time relaxing after we do reining.  He did all the things in the patterns, but lacked any finesse so we were out of the placings, especially with the other congress-bound horses there.  He looked anxious (on the hollow side) and he took every small cue as a big one and he guessed wrong several times. I'm hoping if we stop working on fast spins and hard stops and really focus more on quiet transitions that we'll be in better shape for Congress.   It may be fatigue, too.  I showed Trail at 9:20am and my last riding class at 4:40pm and I spent most of the time in between in the saddle either showing or watching or walking around and he probably only had 30 minutes in there where he was untacked and just loose in his stall.  Nine classes are a lot to ask when I usually only ride for an hour once a day. 

We won halter again so he went undefeated this year.  Showmanship he was so much better than the last two shows, but I suck at quartering and I missed an entire movement when the judge switched directions and Huck moved a foot. That's one of those things that is hard to practice when you don't have a coach.  I still placed but barely.  :(

Overall I'm happy with how the show went and I'm happy with how this series of three shows went. For the year-end high point awards, I came into this last show 21 points behind the leader and 16 behind the 2nd place rider.  I was pretty pessimistic about closing the gap.  I knew I'd have to have a really good show to even get to 2nd place.  But the day went in my favor because not only did we place high in most of our classes, the rider in 2nd place couldn't come to the show because her horse was injured (she's fine now, thankfully) and the other only placed ahead of me in 1 class and didn't place some of the classes I placed high in.  I'm not sure how the final math worked out because it's based on the number of entries in a class.  For example, I know I won trail, but I don't know if there were 5 or 8 or 15 in the class.  I know there were 6 in the reining so I know I got 6 points from that, but I didn't always pay enough attention to feel like I have an accurate count. I know I'm in the top 3 at least, and it's possible I squeaked by the leaders, and since it was my goal to win a year-end buckle, I'm anxious to find out.  The other two leaders are wonderful ladies with very nice horses, and I'm proud to be in the top three with them.

It was a fun show and I am grateful that my BF has been coming to the shows with me.  I didn't know if I'd even want him at my shows since I've been my own show-mom for ever and I didn't know if he'd just get bored or distract me or what, but he's learning how to be a good helper/gopher and he makes sure I drink water and eat and he films my classes and is generally quite enjoyable to be around.  And when the long day of showing is through I can hand him my car keys and let him drive us home.  It's worked out quite nicely.  He even wears a hat for me. *heart*

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