Monday, July 25, 2011

Our Personal Best

Settling Into The Show. 

My first class was Reining 1st 2nd Year Showing, to be judged following NRHA's rulebook. There was one caveat - two handed on a curb bit was allowed, but simple changes resulted in a penalty deduction. Initially I had been informed that one handed on a curb bit was the requirement so I was prepared for one handed riding. Right before going into the arena, I was told the exception. But I decided to go one handed anyways. I could always use the second class (which also allowed for two handed riding) to school if I needed to.

Milo felt a little strung out and wasnt quite as round as I was hoping for. But we began with our four spins each direction. A few bobbles, but overall I was pleased with his pivot foot and increased speed we have began touching on. I shortened my reins just a touch, feeling he might get a little long in the loping. As I did so, he seemed to think that I was cueing for a back - a problem I had encountered two days before riding at home. Hand forward and light bumping from my legs and he still backed. I gave him a swift kick behind the rear cinch to send him back forward again, but I was sure we had exceeded our allowed five steps before it was considered an additional maneuver and penalized accordingly.

No matter, I got Milo forward into the lope. We were to begin with two large fast and one small slow. Forgoing soft and round for speed was my dilemma, and I decided to keep Milo correct rather than fast, so there wasnt much speed difference, but Milo felt relatively even between my reins so I was pleased with them nonetheless. A simple change in the center and we completed our circles to the right, which felt far more balanced and controlled than the prior ones. I was pleased with our second simple change which consisted of only a one step change, and off we were heading for our first rollback.

I had only started making sure we had a rollback this past week, but Milo had been doing well so long as I stayed centered and soft in my back and seat. The first stop and rollback felt pretty nice - I had allowed myself to melt into the stop and finish the maneuver before asking for more as Sarah suggested from the night before. I tensed up more as we came to our second rollback right in front of the judges, but Milo still pleased me with a good turn and lope off. We rounded the corner again for our run down, and I realized how straight my horse was staying. All to soon, another realization came that we were reaching the end and my horse wasnt as round as I should have prepared him to be. I quickly jammed my seat down for a stop, leaving Milo to stop the only way I had allowed him to. A scrambled back, and we were done. I was still pleased with the performance.

We scored a 63 from both judges, placing us far behind the first and second place riders. I wasnt surprised, however, knowing they had executed flying changes and also hadnt incurred an additional backing penalty. But I was still tickled with the knowledge that Milo and I completed our first nice reining pattern - one handed. I was proud that I pushed ourselves to go one handed. My second class was coming up fast, however, and I had another pattern to memorize. Quickly, I did that, and I was called first into the arena again.

My horse felt much more with me this time as I walked to the center of the ring. I had debated jogging in, as was allowed, but felt it might get Milo a little excited to start with. The judges could just wait until I reached the center, allowing myself lots of time to get my horse together.

This time, a lope off to the left was first, and we had no extra credit backing steps involved. I was pleased with our more balanced lope off, and our two circles to the right. This was the Dave Reaume Memorial Green Reiner class, whose pattern did not depict fast or slow circles. I conferred with the show secretary quickly before entering, who advised that I complete two circles even together. Milo felt well balanced and cadenced. We even had a nice little butt to the dirt stop at center for our spins to the left. I was happy with the two spins, and soon we were off onto our new circles to the right, which felt just as nice, if not better, than those to the left. Another nice stop, but I rushed right into the turnaround, not fully setting Milo up. He tried to step out after the first quarter turn, but came back and completed another nice turn. One more lope off now and we rounded the corner for our one and only rollback in this pattern.

Milo felt straight and round as we came down the quarter line, and he stopped nicely to my softer lower back. I was happy with the rollback, but the final rundown was left to come, again in front of the judges. Why this gets to me I dont know, but I feel the pressure is really on when I stop that close to them. I let it get to be again, and my horse lost impulsion as I froze up mere strides before I was supposed to ask for the final stop. Milo did as I only allowed him, again, but backed well. We were done, and again I was very happy with our ride.

We scored a 68 and a 68.5 from the two judges. Not placing us above the only other rider, but it was certainly our very best score yet! A 67 was my best score previously from the last Winter Buckle Series show in February - I was pleased. Although the pattern didnt call for lead changes, possibly boosting our ability to pass our previous score, I was still mighty proud of my Milo. 

My two favorite boys. Many thanks to Boyfriend, who helped make the show possible for me. 
Milo got a rub down after I watched both Sarah and Melissa complete their western riding class, and I had packed a few cookies, which he got as well. I relaxed and watched a few classes before deciding to pack it up and head home. The show was moving quickly and Sarah only had one more student still showing, so she would be heading back home too. 

Milo wrapped and ready to go. (I picked the entire standing wraps set on craigslist for $10. I think the orange looks striking on Milo, and Boyfriend agreed). 
On the way home, we stopped at Cowboy Country, a western shop we dont get to frequent much, and Boyfriend decided to dote on Milo just a bit...

Brand new Weaver halter, in orange! I think I like it too. :) Need to order the matching lead now as the purple just doesnt work. 
A successful weekend in deed. Milo rolled as soon as he stepped foot back into his pasture. Back to normal horse-dom now for him, this shiny clean show horse existence is fun, but just for the weekend. 


Mare said...

Wonderful! Love the videos:) The pictures are adorable, and Missy agrees that Milo is such a cutie:)

in2paints said...

Dang, girl! You two look fantastic! Your spins and stops have really come a long way since the last time I saw a video. Congratulations on such a great show. :)

But are you sure you don't want to reconsider and show western pleasure instead? Milo has a natural, level head carriage that would look so nice in the western pleasure ring!

He looks adorable in orange, by the way.

paint_horse_milo said...

hahaha in2paints youre sounding like Sarah now. Lemme get this reining outta my system and maybe we can consider it. At any rate, I would like to try my hand at western riding too....maybe thats another option. But I got a compliment from Melissa (at that she appreciated Milo's level headset too.

I like the orange too! :P

Story said...

Congratulations! Gee, a 63 with simple changes?! Get those flying changes and you'll be finding that magical 70. Milo looks so great. He is so nice and consistent going around. I'm terribly envious of that headset, too. Not only is it pretty but he rarely deviates from it. I can see why you scored so well. Totally awesome.

Cedar View Paint Horses said...

They have reining at the paint can work that in after a day full of WP classes.

smazourek said...

Way to go you two!

I agree, he looks smashing in orange.