The show wasnt offering reining but had an Advanced Stock Seat 3 Gait and a Western Pleasure 3 Gait Pattern class. I decided to go into these two, and my friend was going to go into the Mystery Jackpot class. The pattern class had a lot of elements to it like a reining pattern, and it would be good practice for our lead changes. The goal for the show was to have fun and really utilize the schooling aspect.
We got to the show about an hour before our classes (which were held at the end of the day) which I looked forward to as Milo had only been at this venue his very first show - five years ago!! At his first show, we didnt ride in the arena, only doing showmanship, and he screamed the whole time. I was hoping that would repeat this time. When he got unloaded, he yelled a bit to his travel buddy, Middy, and spooked at people walking behind him in the bushes - pulling back on the trailer but fortunately giving in. I was a little nervous after that event but eventually he settled down.
My first class was Advanced StockSeat Equitation, 3 Gait. Apparently I was the only one entered and didnt even realize they were waiting for me when I was standing right outside the gate. Melissa and Grace decided to enter so someone else was in the class. As soon as we entered the arena, Milo's head came up and he got tense. He spooked at the first corner with a girl simply grooming her horse, and immediately I reached for the other rein to correct him. I knew that instant that I blew the class, then thought: who cares? Its a schooling show, my horse is being stupid, I am going to school him. Throughout the class I went from one hands to two when needed. But nothing was like it had been in the warm up - no lope, no jog, I was upset with him but didnt want to get frustrated. He had, after all, never been in the arena ridden before, and the last time we had been here was five years ago with little arena time. I figured I would school in the warm up again (btw, we got second after Melissa, lol) and hopefully get it put together for the pattern class.
Photos from the stockseat class - I picked out the good ones:
|Daaaaang, red hair!!|
|A little forward....which might not have been helping to calm Milo down.|
|Went to two hands to school.....|
|Dropped stirrups! Good thing Sarah made me go months without stirrups it was a breeze!|
|My favorite photo even thought Im looking down, but Milo looks like he is paying attention, but the tail says it all!!|
Milo schooled really well after I got after him a time or two, and we got a couple of lead changes, which were called for in the pattern class. I was really happy that he came right back to me in the warm up and thought that we might actually be able to pull off the pattern class. Melissa went first and was my only other "competitor" and she did really well. I knew already that we werent getting first, but I was eager for the opportunity to school, and hopefully, get some lead changes in the show pen. Well...I'll let the videos speak for themselves:
Well, Im happy we got a couple lead changes in the show pen, even though they were rushed and not so nice (and one I had to stop for). BUT at least I can actually try and do lead changes in the class, so thats good. For it being a complicated pattern, Im also happy that we actually stayed on pattern the whole time, and that we did accomplish each element to the pattern, if not done beautifully. But thats the beauty of schooling shows, right? Practice.
And just to show that Milo WAS doing good in the warm up, this was schooling work after the patter class and I found a good place to end the day with.
I noticed in my last warm up/schooling session that in the lead changes, I need to remember to follow through on the front. The first attempt I thought he didnt change, but when watching the video he did change in the back, but I didnt follow through on the front. I felt that after I turned him around and noted that I needed to remember to follow through on the front. When I asked again, he took a step of trot and although I was asking for a true flying change, I was happy with the quality of the change nonetheless, and decided to end right there.
All in all, Im happy with the practice and exposure. Even though it wasnt a super glamorous show, I think it was beneficial. And as I left the arena Sarah commented that she feels more rail classes before patterns are what we need - to get that stupid out. I hate to agree with her because that means spending more money, but I think she's right. Another time in the arena might have been just the ticket to get him thinking in the show pen instead of just the warm up.