Monday, July 23, 2012

PPHA/OPZ Two Day Show - Day One

I was really looking forward to this upcoming show. Held at the Clallam County Fairgrounds and offering really fun cool classes and prizes. We would have to stay the night with it being a two day show, and the award classes were combined totals from both days, but I was eager to get the full "show experience" again - you know, sleeping in a cold trailer, waking up early, buying coffee from a vendor in the morning, letting Milo sleep in a stall - the whole she-bang.

We hauled in Saturday morning, as I worked until ten Friday night. It was an early morning start and we got there an hour ahead of time. I took my time getting things settled, just like I had a few weeks prior at the last show. Found Milo's stall and got it prepped so I could easily put him in there when we were through. I slowly started wrapping Milo's legs, then get the saddle on. We got in the arena at 8:40, and had about ten minutes to ride before the tractor came through. Sounds like a small amount of time, but I really just needed to get him in there seeing the arena, jog a bit, lope a few circles, and know what I have. He felt just like he did last time - quiet and mellow. But I knew his little tricks that once we got into the pen he would most likely have woken up.

This show offered only two classes, the Dave Reaume Memorial Novice Reiner, as always, with a Champion directors chair going to the overall from both days, and Open Reining Sweepstakes class, with prizes to first and second. I vied for the chair award figuring that Open would be far too stiff of competition.

We entered our first class.

I went in two handed since the class allowed it, but after I did felt like I should have just gone with one-handed. I think I get too "handy" when using two and it might have contributed to some of our poorer maneuvers. We did pretty well, or at least it felt OK. He anticipated the lead changes almost every time we came through the center, which I think contributed to the poor stops at center. He just felt that he knew what he was supposed to do (lead change off to the new direction) and we had a little trouble after the first stop at center. Our turnarounds were lackluster (arent they always?) and I couldnt seem to round my pelvis under for our stops like I was getting better at doing at home. Oh well. We scored a 64 1/2 giving us second place in the class just behind a 65 1/2.

Class two was Open Reining and I was last draw for it. I watched as the real competition ran through her pattern and it was beautiful. Fast circles to slow, great stops, killer turnarounds, fast rollbacks. Definitely no way I was out running that pattern. Another competitor went off course, and the third too did a great run. I figured we would end up at the end, but at least this would be more time in the pen.

This was pattern number 3, one I had never done before and was kinds different (nicknamed the pattern that never ends). We started at a stand still to lope off and as we went down the rail and around to the other side, Milo felt pretty good. We came back up the other side, he tried to take off but came back. Decent stop. I totally did not calculate the space needed after the second turnaround to make it cleanly to the center, but we did - sort of LOL. The first set of circles were ok, although we still struggle with a good fast to slow. The first lead change was clean and nice, but the second Milo dived down into the circle and took off. What I liked about this pattern was the final rundown was not the first lope down the fence, but around to the other side, which was good so Milo had to wait before being able to gain speed down the rail. We got a little bitty slide on the stop. I completely spaced the immediate back up, but eventually did and began our turnarounds.

I was happy with the run as it was a difficult (and long) pattern that we had never done before. Imagine my surprise when we tied for second place! That meant that if I did well tomorrow too I might be able to win the Res Champion halter! I didnt focus on that though, but was just happy that we made it through the pattern - with a 65 1/2. This judge was pretty tough with her scores - even the winner (whom I thought got like a 72 or something) scored just a 68.

The announcer called that Paint/Pinto/Breeding Stock Halter class needed entries so on a whim and to help fill the class I said I would enter. I quickly found a halter to borrow (I only had our orange nylon one!) and stripped Milo of his saddle and wraps. Brushed out the saddle marks although he hadnt really sweat much, tossed my spurs off, then quickly got my number off my saddle and onto my back. Just like that we entered the arena.

Walk to the judge, trot away and into line. As we stood, trying to be square in line, Milo got bored and tried chewing on the chain. Fortunately, not when the judge stood next to us. She looked him over, I forgot how to quarter, but was happy it was only Halter not showmanship. She left, we struggled to stay square, and keep Milo from nibbling my hands. She looked us over one more time, then the results were in. Milo and I took first out of three! I was stunned. Milo always does bad in halter classes, but I guess the judge just really liked him.

I put him away in his stall and started changing. Then the announcer called all first and second place halter winners were coming back in for Halter Championships. In a flash I threw my shirt back on, but had already returned the halter. In we went in our orange nylon halter and brown rope lead. Milo was a little pissy as we trotted away, thinking he had been done. We watched as all the other nice horses came through and of eight or nine total, Milo got third! I was again amazed. This just really did like him! I wondered if maybe it wouldnt hurt to start giving halter classes a try. Later on in the day a woman came up to me and questioned why at the last show we hadnt gone into halter. Maybe we were turning a new leaf...

I was done with classes for the day and set up my jewelry stand. I sold a couple items, then Boyfriend and his Mom (who had made the drive up with us) and I left to get some food. It was three o'clock and I hadnt eaten anything since 5:30. We enjoyed some good food and when we got back, Boyfriend slept in the trailer, I worked on some homework, then trail classes started at 6pm. I watched the classes and thought to myself that we should have gone into beginner trail. Oh well. Good runs, average runs, but it was fun to watch. Once all the classes were over I tacked Milo back up to school a bit in the arena again. I really wasnt happy with his mind of his own. We worked on loping consistently without every other stride one he tried to pick up speed after. We counter cantered, didnt do any lead changes, and overall, made him wait for my signals. It was a good ride. We even had the best stop of our life! I was so proud I made Boyfriend come look at the skid marks.

We got into "bed" at about 11 pm, with another early wake up the next day.


Story said...

"The real competition"?!?! You are the real competition! Milo is just getting better and better. Congratulations on the awesome results! And don't worry about those spins. They are improving every time. Take a look at where his spins were last year! The pieces are all coming together.

I'm like you, I get way too handsy if I go two handed and even though I can't make the same sort of corrections, I also tend to over correct and even correct stuff that doesn't need correcting if I go two handed. No kidding, our best spins are done with the reins tied to the saddle horn. Riding bareback and in just a halter lately due to the heat, Husband commented that Dee's maneuvers are so much better like that and asked "why"? It's like, "'cause I'm not in her face all the time". Not saying you are in Milo's face like I am with Dee (I'm a total handsy rider to start with), just that I think sometimes two hands gives us all too much opportunity to fiddle.

I think Milo is a super good looking guy and it doesn't surprise me that he did well in halter! I love his overall balance and just adore his big strong bum!

Can't wait to hear about the next day's rides!

Story said...

Oh, and I don't think I've ever seen that pattern 3 ridden at a show before. It's so different from most of the others! Tough to ride for sure!

in2paints said...

Congratulations on those scores! I think both of your patterns looked great, but I especially enjoyed the second one. You're both doing so well! Nicely done!