Tuesday, March 24, 2015

another show! (proving why we're not hunters)

Naturally, because we had show plans mother nature decided to dump one or two more inches of snow on us, despite it being officially spring. Nbd tho - show day dawned beautiful with the expectation of sun and highs in the upper 50s. We'll take it! 


In typical schooling show fashion we spent a lot of time waiting around. Isabel was a total pro tho (shocking exactly nobody) and hung out with me in the arena (dozing, actually) while I spectated and encouraged B through her two divisions: baby green and green horse. For a schooling show these divisions were surprisingly competitive - 12 horses each!! I was sure they would split the classes, but nope. B and Wick held their own tho - three 6th place ribbons and one 5th, all for over fences classes. 

'what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine too' - isabel
(she has her own hay net in the trailer!)

Then came a quick schooling break where I warmed up amid approx. 15 other horses (who all could only track left, apparently? except, of course, when they were jumping this way and that with no warning...) and hopped a couple fences. Isabel was very relaxed and paid zero attention to the traffic and didn't look at anything. I jumped everything, called it a win, and headed back to the trailer to wait out the next two divisions before ours. 

she is her own bridle rack lol

I entered the equitation division because it was the only one where every fence was set at 2'3"... the other options were intro hunter (2'-2'3") and low hunter (2'3"-2'6"). Right now I need to hammer into my brain that 2'3" is nbd. So really we should't be jumping anything less. And 2'6"? Soon. But not yet. Plus I thought that going the equitation route might mitigate any bias against Isabel's decidedly non-hunter way of going.

'mmmm hay.... wait, are you taking pictures?' -isabel

And actually for a couple hot minutes I thought we might be the only ones in the division. I was chatting with other riders warming up in the outdoor while we waited, and none seemed to be doing equitation, except for one ADORABLE girl (in a super chic pale jacket with matching brown CO helmet - snazzy!) and her pony, but she was just going to flat. Can we say champion of a class of one??? Haha... it was a fun thought while it lasted... :)

our two courses

Sadly we ended up having actual competition... tho oddly it was a slightly different set of riders in each class. 

I thought our first course went pretty well. The first few fences came up very nicely in stride, tho Isabel was not playing the lead game very well so we had to do our little simple change song and dance after almost every fence. At least I avoided any cross cantering tho - a common struggle for us.


The lines were measured as either a balanced 5 or a going 4, and I opted to balance. The second line coming home tho I was a little late in my efforts and we had the rail. Then I rode her to a terrible distance at the barrels and we kinda ate it... which bummed me out bc SO MANY horses were spooking and refusing the barrels, and Isabel really gave zero fucks about it and I kinda wanted to show that off... Oops. Instead she just had to bail me out with a fugly jump. Oh well. We took third in that class (of 3).


Next course started at the barrels... and, well, we pretty much ate it again, and fence 2 too for good measure. Ughhhhhh sorry mare!! At least she kinda just tuned me out and took the longer distance when things got hairy (she says, 'hang on emma i got this!'). 


We were at least much better about leads tho. I pretty much figured we were not placing in this class after those first two jumps (esp since our class size had ballooned to 7-8) and commenced chatting w Izzy through the rest of the course, which actually went ok - including the 5 stride line home. 


Then it was time for our flat class. Isabel thought we were jumping again and started a bit braced, and Judge caught us trotting at a moment when she was quite against my hand... but she settled soon and even stretched a bit on a relatively loopy-ish rein. Judge caught us again at the first canter when we misfired after getting run into the wall. Judge did not look at us again throughout the whole class... (trust me I was checking haha). 

yep this about sums it up lol

So I knew we wouldn't pin. For the record tho, Isabel was LOVELY. She has discovered how to stretch at the canter (how long have I been bemoaning our canter woes??) and it just brings the biggest grin to my face. 

we don't need ribbons to know she's a champ :)

I left the ring a little bummed, but reminded myself that this experience was all about mileage - and that my goal of boosting confidence at 2'3" was successful. I checked w B about the placings for course 2 (announced while I was flatting) just in case we maybe pulled out a ribbon. She handed me some 2nd place satin. WHAT?!? 


feel free to chime in if you agree (or disagree) with the judge, and why!

My opinion, tho? My first round felt smoother than the second, but neither felt particularly competitive. And the first course winner had a nearly identically lovely second course, but was 3rd behind me (in fact the winner of the second course was a new entrant). Huh? Well. Color me confused, I guess. Maybe the judge just missed our first two fences??

In any case we had a really great time. It was a long day and the horses were very happy to be home again after it was all said and done. But I feel like both did a great job for showing in a different discipline, and I always enjoy the occasional return to my roots :) 

31 comments:

  1. I think you guys look really comfortable at 2'3"!! Izy's totally got it! I know EXACTLY what you mean about getting comfortable with it though! Same struggle here.

    I think the 1st course looked smoother too, but eq classes never cease to completely mystify me for some reason. Every time I watch one and I think I've got t all figured out who did a good job the judge pins it totally opposite of what I thought!

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    1. thanks! i think the 2'3" demon may finally be conquered (at least for now haha)... and yea this judge did not necessarily pin the way i would have thought throughout the day...

      tho he was also really nice and helpful for riders who had problems (and actually took a pony in hand by the bridle and trotted it over the barrels after it had been eliminated bc of refusals

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  2. So glad you're feeling comfortable with the height! Sometimes eq placings can come out of left field, it's all dependent on what the judge likes to see.

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    1. oh god, i'm so glad too haha. it feels like it's taking forever to build back up again... but c'est la vie.

      and i wonder now in retrospect if the judge actually liked our first round too... but heavily faulted the rail? tho he pinned other riders with rails throughout the day so idk haha

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  3. Definitely some tough competition for a schooling show, though sounds like you came away with a lot of great food for thought and had an enjoyable time!

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    1. haha i was SO surprised by the class sizes. seemed like everyone wanted to come out of hibernation and knock the rust off, which was cool (i like busy humming show scenes) - but in my past experiences they just split the classes... (ribbons for erryone!!!). it was a great time either way tho :)

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  4. It looks like it was a nice confident and steady go at 2'3"! I'm so happy for you!

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    1. thanks! it felt confident and steady too - even when i made mistakes and had ugly jumps. it felt like i rode every step the course (for better or worse) rather than just survived it haha

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  5. This is in large part why I gravitate to dressage. "Oh. Yes, judge, you're right, that corner WAS horrid." and so on. I know exactly what's up!

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    1. haha true... tho if the stories can be believed, dressage judges aren't always innocent of bias either...

      a woman was just telling me about how she scribed for a judge who would only pin dutch warmbloods. everything else was 'heavy on the forehand' or 'not enough bend' or SOMETHING that was decidedly not good enough... and this woman was so disgusted that she asked show officials to assign her to a different task

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  6. I thought you guys looked super confident and your simple changes looked really nicely done! Congrats on the nice satin!

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    1. thank you!! her simple changes are quite nice when i get to them in time... otherwise she swaps the front and careens around the corner before i'm fully organized again haha

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  7. Your trips are really quite lovely for the most part! Simple changes are always hard in the hunters, believe me - I know that struggle :) She jumps lovely when you get a good spot, and is a super honest girl when it's too deep. Lots to be happy about!

    In the pictures it looks like you are wearing boots, just want to confirm that you only wore boots in the Eq... because if that was a hunter u/s class and you had boots the judge wouldn't be able to pin you.

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    1. thank you! i thought isabel did a pretty good job playing hunter, all things considered haha.

      and thanks for the tips about appropriate equipment - this show was actually pretty casual (only 50% wore jackets), and the class list made it clear that all boots, bits, and bitless bridles were allowed. the only thing they stuck to was no martingales (except in the green divisions). but you can also see that i didn't bother changing out my stirrup irons or switching to lace reins lol... eh, the judge didn't seem to care :)

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    2. no martingales on the flat, i should say

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  8. Congrats! You gotta keep a positive outlook on shows because every judge is different!

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    1. thank you!! and i agree - i try to figure out what each judge likes and ride to that... but honestly these hunter shows are more for experience than anything else, so winning classes isn't the priority

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  9. Miles are always more important than ribbons! It sounds like it was a really productive day, and you got what you wanted out of it. Having good experiences at a schooling show is invaluable! I have had many, many rounds like these, where there are good parts and bad parts. Eventually you put it all together :)

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    1. thanks! the good experience at this show definitely counts as a solid win in my book - as it helps me feel super prepared for our stadium round at our first event in a couple weeks! at least in stadium they don't care if you deer-leap over the fence, so long as it stays up haha

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  10. Miles and satin!? Major win in my book! And I think you are being really hard on yourself, everyone has bad moments on course. I think your second round was nice!

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    1. thank you! and don't get me wrong - i'm *thrilled* with our jumping rounds at the show - isabel had maybe the loveliest rhythm we've ever achieved at a show. that doesn't necessarily make them competitive in the hunter ring, but that's fine by me. and i agree - the second course is technically the better of the two for our purposes bc i didn't knock any rails haha

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  11. Over all your rounds have a really pleasant safe look to them, yes some polish is needed here and there, but give yourself a pat on the back for big success!

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    1. thank you - i like that description of 'pleasant' too haha, a perfect word for it :) we'll polish it up eventually.... tho i kinda feel like a course isn't complete if i don't eat at least one jump lol

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    1. thanks! it was a great day and the horses were very good

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  13. I think you guys are looking really good! It sounds like a great experience and that Isabel was fantastic!

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    1. thank you! isabel is such a pro at shows - almost like she's been doin it her whole life

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  14. It can be hard showing with a horse that needs mileage. You want to do well and work perfectly on stuff (I know I do) but sometimes you gotta sit down and just school and its ugly and get the uggos out so in the future you can look perfect. Great job!

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    1. thanks - we almost never managed to get through a course without a little uggo right now haha, so my goal is to just make the ugly a little less ugly each time! we'll get there eventually :)

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  15. Cant watch the vids at work but sounds like you were better than you realized lol!

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    1. thanks! i was pretty happy with her performance in general but was definitely taken by surprise when we got that 2nd place ribbon!

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