Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Horse Show Time - Video Added

After getting to the showgrounds at around nine in the evening, it was finally time to school my horse. Everyone else had already gotten lessons earlier in the day from being able to get there in the early afternoon. Now, it was late and Sarah didnt really have the focus or energy to give me a lesson. But I didnt blame her for my arriving late. I figured I would at least get to school in the show pen, even though I was hoping to get a lesson on my horse since it had been at least a month or more since I had.

At any rate, I saddled him up and headed into the show pen. The arena now pretty familiar to the both of us after an entire series last winter there, and the last schooling show there last month, he wasn't excited or spooky, even with a few other riders schooling in there as well. From laziness and lack of energy, I hadnt cared to change out of my Georgia Romeos and into my Double H's with the spurs attached, nor did I feel like moving my reins from the snaffle bridle to that with the lifter bit. I felt a little stupid knowing that I should school in the gear I knew I would ride in the next day, but figured Milo would be fine. I go from spurs to no spurs and snaffle to lifter bit all the time at home. I think he's pretty used to it now.

Our ride that evening went really well, actually. I felt really connected to Milo in the saddle, my cues came from my body first and rein only after leg. The main thing I noted from the ride was how stiff Milo is on the left side. Especially at the lope, he had a really hard time arcing his body to the left. I had noticed this subtly at home, but with the luxury of the large arena I could get him on a longer straight line and note how his body was without an impeding corner. He was eventually getting dull to my lope cue, and I definitely could have used a motivator whip or a spur, but I would just bring him back to a trot and find rhythm in our bodies again, then load the outside hock and was able to get good lope departures even after the partial refusals (trotting through the cue).

I was really happy with the schooling and was able to at least fall asleep that night without pre-show nerves, one benefit to not worrying about a reining class coming up the next day. This show was just going to be about going out and schooling, and having fun. I would have loved to go into a reining class, but it was a good opportunity anyways.

The next morning we were greeted with more rain, which lasted the duration of the day. I signed up for my classes after tending to Milo, and based off of the schooling at home and the night before, opted out of signing up for the western pattern lope class. We were having too hard of a time with our lope to trot transitions again, and I figured that the western pattern trot class and one western pleasure rail class would be enough to school with. I had also signed up for showmanship 18 and over, later deciding however that we should have gone into the novice showmanship - those 18 and over people were darned good! As were most of the competitors, actually, this show series being one that many of the breed show people use as their winter schooling. It was tough competition. But I didnt worry too much about placings at this show. We were here to school.

I brought Milo into the warm up pen, and began working on some showmanship. The quiet, complacent horse I had ridden the night before was gone, and snark was apparent on Milo's mood today. I tried not to blame him, however, knowing that the weather made everyone (myself included) feel tense, cold, and achy. Our first trot off yeilded some resistance from Milo in the skyward direction, with a shaking head and grumpy demeanor. I continued trotting him hoping it would work out of his system. But he only got more snarky, biting at the lead chain (which was only doubled over on itself, since he doesnt need a chain nor had I schooling in one, I didnt want to use it), dangling down and apparently begging Milo to chew on it, which he obliged to for the duration of it's use.

Our showmanship schooling didnt go as well as we had been performing at home, but it was ok. He bothered me to no end with that darned chain, but we readied ourselves at cone A, third into the class. I wanted to just get showmanship over. The pattern was friendly and one we had been able to school on the week prior to the show. Trot from cone A to halfway to B, break to walk for two strides, trot to and around B and straight to the judge. Set up for inspection, when excused, perform ninety degree turn, back two horse lengths, perform one hundred eighty degree turn and walk straight away. I was most concerned over the initial trot from A and around B, knowing that about eighty percent of our trot departures had yeilded one with an attempt from Milo to bite the chain. But no matter, at A we trotted away and Milo pleased me with a nice departure and continued with a nice flowy trot around B. I was pleased with his even pace, with our previous schooling having much faster tensed trotting. We stopped at the judge and my fear of running over the judge subsided as we stopped well enough in front of her. We quartered (I think I did it right) and as I went to turn Milo ninety degrees, he reached for the bit again, making the turn crooked through his body. From this, the back was crooked and the remaining 180 degree turn crooked as well. He thought we were supposed to trot away after the turn and began to, although the pattern called for a walk.

Added: showmanship video. Dont know why I didnt upload it when I originally posted this!

Haha, only noticed now after watching it that Milo didnt even go down to a walk when we were supposed to, he just jogged really slowly. I didnt even notice the little sneak! Better keep an eye out for that...

I was happy when we were done. Even though we placed fifth out of six, I was happy with the pattern. Milo had trotted out nicely and was relaxed through the beginning of the pattern. More schooling and proper work on showmanship would provide a more crisp presentation, particularly since I now Milo can do showmanship really well. But I was just happy to have it over and relax a little before our first under saddle class - western pattern walk jog. Again, this pattern had been posted previously and we had been able to school at home. At home, we worked it really nicely, and I was extremely happy with our schooling at home.

The next class was western pattern walk jog, again the pattern being posted beforehand so we had a chance to school on it at home. I really liked the pattern, which required a three turn serpentine around the cones, with a jog to extended trot back to jog. It was a great pattern. Unfortunately, we were the very last ones to go, which meant we stood in the line up of about 18 people for a long time. By the time we got to cone A, our  previous schooling had faded. But the pattern wasnt that bad, in fact after the initial jolt to the jog, I felt we extended the trot really well and he really stretched into the bridle. I was happy with the pattern but we didnt place, not surprisingly with the many breed show equitation riders on the pattern. But again, I was happy with it.

Just a few of the people in the pattern class.

At cone A, ready to start on pattern. 
We had a few classes between the pattern class and my last one of the day, western pleasure walk jog. Yep, I only went into walk jog classes for the day. But I discovered something in that last pleasure class. After the break in the jog for about a half stride right behind the judge and of which I was certain the ring steward saw, my mind allowed myself to focus on my riding instead of the class, certain that out of the fourteen riders I wouldnt place. So, for the duration of the class, I focused on my breathing, and keeping Milo at the slow jog through my body. I was actually having a really fun time, my Milo jogging around on a loose rein quietly and with the subtlest ease. I felt I could jog all day long in that class. The icing on the ride was the sixth place calling we were given, out of fourteen!

All in all, the show itself was a lot of fun, even though I cant necessarily say that we placed well. But I felt we accomplished what we needed to for the weekend - just going out and riding instead of competing, and allowing myself to make mistakes and correct them in the show pen. It was a good show. Although now I am really broke and not sure when I can show again, I am looking forward to when we can again! And redeem ourselves in the reining pen.

Milo rockin' his camo. :)


Story said...

Nothing wrong with doing the walk jog classes! Really a great place to work on the finer points. Funny, as much as I have shown, I still always wonder if there will be a rodeo when they call for the lope in rail classes. It's nice to not have that to worry about lol. And congratulations on the placing in walk jog. It's crazy but those walk jog classes are some of the deepest at these schooling shows so that would be a hard earned ribbon! Nice work!

I've been strongly encouraged in the past to ride non-reining pattern classes to help keep my horse from getting ring smart so your pattern class was probably good experience for Milo, too.

After all the drama the day before, sounds like a good show. Sure wish we had a series like that around here!

Our Beautiful Life said...

Sounds like you had a very successful weekend, no matter the color of the ribbon! Milo is a beauty!



Story said...

Ha, that's funny, I was just thinking, where is the video, Nina always has a video! And gee, I wish my horse looked like that right now. She's a big fat hairy pasture puff! Milo looks great!!!

SillyPony said...

Milo plays even more than MY pony! I'm not certain a chain is a required thing, but I suppose it depends on the show association. Last year Hobbyhorseinc.com started promoting showmanship leads without chains to show off horses that don't really need them. Maybe a lead without the chain would keep him less busy. And if you had your hand on the chain I think that's usually frowned upon.

You two are so cute together!

in2paints said...

I'm planning a lot more schooling shows this year and I'm really excited about them. Sometimes it's fun to "show" without having to worry about showing. Sounds like you and Milo had a great day together. It's too bad you didn't have a chance to do a reining pattern, but any pattern class is good practice. :)