Thursday, May 24, 2018

First Show(s) of 2018

Oh look, I haven't posted since January!  Luckily, you haven't missed much!

I've been riding Kevin since December.  I admit I've been taking it pretty chill and only riding about once a week December-April.  In May I bumped that up to 2-3 times per week as the show dates loomed closer.

I'm kinda back where we were in 2015: I'm schooling and exercising Kevin and helping his owner out as she navigates her second show season. 

She's showing the walk-trot division at our shows and I decided to go for the Open division rather than the Amateur where Huck and I were Res. Champ for 2017.  I chose this for two reasons: One, because the showbill order goes Jackpot, Youth, Open, Amateur, Walk Trot for each type of class.  Showing Open allows us a lot more time for our tack changes.  Reason two is that last year there were far fewer competing for year-end points in the Open than in the Amateur.   This year looks to be the same so far.

Our first shows were this past weekend, both run by Buckeye Equestrian Events. Western Dressage show on Saturday and Ranch on Sunday.  I grew up with dressage letters and a classical or military seat so I'm a little familiar with Dressage, but I know enough to know I don't know anything, if you know what I mean.

I chose the Basic Test 1 and I ended up with a 66.46% which I'm told is pretty good for our first time out, and that's with a 2-point error because I forgot where I was supposed to start the free-walk.  We also rode in an Equitation on the Rail class and placed 4th. 

On Sunday I was more in my element with a full day of Ranch classes.   My division gets points for Reining, Pleasure, Ranch Riding, Trail, Horsemanship, Conformation, and Showmanship.  I showed all but reining.

3rd in Pleasure out of 20 - He was really good.  Little bobbles but otherwise super smooth and easy.
4th in Horsemanship - Pattern felt like crap but the video looked like I knew what I was doing.
4th in Showmanship out of 5
2nd in Conformation out of 9 - even for a 14 year old fattie, he's quite balanced.

My trail pattern was good but I got killed on a side-pass over an "L" with 4 penalty points for ticking the logs, which took me out of the placings.  Trail and Horsemanship are at shown "at will" in another arena and I forgot to look at how many were in my classes. 

My ranch riding pattern started fine, but I knew I was going to have trouble with the extended lope to a lead change.  Kev is still muscling back up and doesn't quite have the fitness he needs to go all day so he gave me some trouble.  He didn't want to slow his lope so I asked for a simple change and he started to fight me.  I got him to pick up the other lead but it was late and then he did that thing where he says "Eff You!" and threw his head up (and himself totally out of balance) and didn't want to slow to the extended jog - broke back to the lope a few times - didn't want to stop.... well, you get the picture; it was ugly.

It got uglier after we left the arena.  I took him into the warmup pen and we had a bit of a conversation about keeping your balance (and your brain) intact while loping and bending and doing a simple lead change.  It took a good while of this exercise for him to stop fighting me and just say "Yes, Ma'am."  I was pretty firm with him and I'm sure it was ugly to watch, but I think I was fair.  I kept my emotions in check but kept my boss face on until he offered what I asked.  Then praised him and let him rest.  I couldn't let him just be a jerk like that since his owner still had to go in and do the same pattern (without the loping).  She ended up having a very nice pattern.

We ended the day with Showmanship and even though Kevin is getting really good at setting up and turning, I'm still trash at the inspection.  I suppose it's because I never get to have a person play judge for us so I get easily flustered if the judge changes directions or stops.  This time, the judge was just about to cross the near-side shoulder and Kev moved a front foot out.  The judge and I both looked at it and I became dumb not knowing if I should change my position and then fix the foot, or fix the foot.  The judge stopped so I tried to fix the foot but Kev wasn't making it easy and the judge just said "he's kinda done for the day, huh?"  Well, it's our 11th class, so yeah.  I couldn't blame him and at least we didn't DFL.  He got some nice grass before loading up and then got to go home to his field.

We are currently tied for Reserve in the Open division for the year-end award - our BO/Friend, B is in the lead.  There are 4 more shows to go, two more of the shows just like this, and then we can get points for ranch classes at two other open shows, one at the same facility and one at a big facility that I've never shown at before. 

It's not a bad start to the year.