Sunday, September 30, 2018

Show Recap of 2018

In June we had our 2nd Ranch show. The first week in September we had our 3rd, and mid September we had our final show of the year.  Clearly I am behind on bloggin!

June Show

We had a pretty great show!
1st Open Horsemanship
2nd Open Showmanship
2nd in Open Trail
3rd in Open Conformation
4th in Open Ranch Pleasure
6th in Ranch Riding - no points for this, but considering how much trouble we've been having with lead changes in those patterns, I was thrilled with how we did.  We actually tied for 5th, but had more penalty points than the other 5th place so we get squat.... BUT it was a good ride for us!

We racked up 23 points, compared to 15 at the May Show, sneaking us up to 1st Place standing for the year end awards.

There was a show August 19th but the Thursday before Kevin came up lame.  We prayed for an abscess rather than something more major. 

Kev got to miss the show, which I'm sure didn't disappoint him.  The vet diagnosed a "deep bruise and blood blister" in his left hind foot, so kind of an abscess, but not yet infected.  Full disclosure: I've been riding for over 25 years and I've never had an abscess.... knock wood. I've had plenty of other crap including multiple contusions, injections, colic, you know..., so don't be too jealous.

Vet opened the sole on a Monday to drain the blood blister, wrapped him up and sent him back outside (our horses live out 24/7 with grass, dry lots, and run-ins) with instructions to take the bandage off after 5 days and as long as he wasn't painful on the drain hole we were good to go.  We suspect he did it when he came down hard on a pole during our practice the previous Tuesday.  :(

By Thursday it became clear that his lameness was not improving and was potentially getting worse, so the Vet came back out.  The bandage came off and we discovered that his "sensitive sole/frog" was protruding out of the drain hole like a little black rubber nub.  I admit I "skipped that class" and am not as knowledgeable about anatomy as I really should be, so I had NO idea what this all meant.  After much explanation I equated it to stepping on a lego with each step.  Ouch Kevin, no wonder you were getting worse.

Vet pushed the nub back into the foot, which Kevin did not appreciate, but is a very patient patient and required no sedation. Then Vet created a 2-part rubber cast of his sole that would become a "plug" of sorts to keep pressure on the hole.  We were to change out an idodine soaked wool pad each day and he got to spend 7 days on stall rest.

On the 7th day we had rear shoes and pads put on so that he could go back to normal horse life in turnout and we began light work with only 4 days until the next show.  We monitored him closely and by Saturday we decided as long as he was still sound Sunday morning we'd go to the show.

Kevin cooperated and we got to show!

September 2nd Show
Imagine sitting in a sauna for 4 hours before you get to show.... now imagine feeling like this was a bloody waste of your time and money because the classes that the Open Division got season points for were also the Open Jackpot classes so all the good open, amateur, and youth riders would also be in the classes.  Dang.

We lightened our show load, and only did the Pleasure, Horsemanship and Conformation.  His owner showed only her W/T Pleasure and W/T Ranch Riding.  Both of her classes were also Open and BIG so we were THRILLED that she placed in both classes: 4th in Pleasure and 2nd in Ranch Riding!!!

Kev and I made it to the finals in a 26 horse Open Ranch Pleasure class but didn't place.  After having two weeks off, half of which was visibly lame, I really am quite happy with the way the class went.  He lacked his usual consistency and cadence, and by the time we were done (we went straight from our split back to the rail for the finals) he was a bit tired, but he was easy to ride and I couldn't have asked for more.

I didn't do the trail since the outdoor pen was a bit too stoney and I didn't think it was fair to him to make him trot over poles on poor footing so soon. 

I went back and forth about whether or not to do the Horsemanship class.  It was a short pattern with almost entirely loping, and it had our bad-way lead change in it.  BUT, he seemed really good after his other classes so I added it.  By the time the class came, however, he gave me the "oh for frack's sake are you really tacking me up AGAIN?!?!" face, so I just did a quick warm up.  Have I ever told you Kevin AIMS for cones?  If you're trying to go past a cone, he will try to aim for it, and that's what he did at the end of the pattern.  I was able to get him next to it, but we needed to do a 180 pivot and he decided to be a boob and turn on the haunches for the first step which placed his rear squarely over the cone while he finished the turn.  Ha Ha.  Ooops.  I am NOT good at fixing those moments while they're happening.  No place.

We ended the day at 9:30pm with a 2nd place in Open Conformation so we grabbed 5 points for the season.

Our final Show was on September 15th.

I wasn't feeling optimistic about the show.  We were 3 points behind the leader in our division.  My workload increased this fall semester and I wasn't able to ride much between shows, and the patterns were kinda tough.  Lots of schooling in the days leading up to the show helped a little, but I just wasn't feeling like it was going to be our day.

We began the day with Trail.  Kevin was a gem.  He did all the things exactly like I asked him to do.  I was thrilled to hear our number called for 1st Place! 

Our next class was Reining.  Wait, what?!  Yes, I decided Kevin needed to revive his reining career.  We'd done reining all through 2015, though it was never good.  The season points were getting really close and I thought that maybe, just maybe if we kept it quiet and clean (and all the other competitors dq'd LOL) we had a slim chance of placing.  I just didn't want to end the season a few points behind and wished I'd taken the chance.  Not surprisingly, we did not place, but we had a respectable (for us) 64.5.  The video made me laugh... pleasure loping our "large fast" circles.  LOL.

The Pleasure class was good sized and I was completely shocked to hear us called for 1st Place! I made it my goal to keep him smoooooth and make nice transitions and have solid extensions, and he felt like his old self again, loping down the rail like he was born for it and reminding me how much I enjoy riding him when he's enjoying his job.

Yet again we failed to place in Ranch Riding.  It's the lead changes.  Biggest thing we need to work on for next year. 

Horsemanship called for a bunch of things we struggle with:
-begin with a walk - he anticipates the next gait and gets wiggly
-extended trot - not a problem, but since we need to sit the trot in horsemanship, it can get ugly if I ask him to abruptly
-180 left, 180 right - sometimes he's awesome at these but mostly he's a turd
-lope on the LEFT lead and make a right turn

I'm not sure what I did right, but he was just so unbelievably "with me" and he did everything right!  I was so relieved and grateful that I started crying when I left the arena.  We got another 1st Place!!!  WHAT!?!?

Next up was a 3rd in Conformation.  The judge later mentioned that I had him set up in a hole so he "looked like a ski slope".  I always forget you can do things like level the ground with your feet before you set up....

We ended the day with a 3rd in Showmanship.  The little turd was doing his auto set-up in the warm up but stopped like drunk octopus and it took way too many adjustments to get him square.  Oh well. 

Overall the last show was so stinkin' good I couldn't even be mad about it.  He gave me so much more than I could have asked for.  Mucho cookies for Kevin.

Oh, and we happened to win Open Champion for the year end awards.