Part 1: Lesson and Show Prep
Saturday was a LONG day. I worked at the barn in the morning (feed, turnout, stalls), then had a half hour lesson, then it was time to pack the trailer and drive to the show and do all the pre-show activities. Bedtime ended up being around 11:30 or midnight maybe?
Lets start with how one of the horses pooped in his feed bin, and because I wanted to keep rolling that morning in getting the horse out ASAP, I decided to hold another bucket up for him to eat out of instead of cleaning his bin out right away. It was fine until he got a drink and coughed. All over my freshly cleaned fleece jacket. I don't have children, but I now know what baby throw up is like, and it doesn't make children appealing. At all. I washed my fleece in the bathroom, hung it up, and prayed it would dry before we left for the show because the temps were only in the 40s that morning (with a mid-50s high), and now I only had my long sleeve shirt and polo.
|Penn playing with Ike the dog. Towards the end of their play session, because Ike got a little overexcited and had to be called back. I wanted to get some video of it though! It's hilarious.|
I found out that Penn has a dog-friend, Ike. I don't know how it gets started, but Ike runs and barks next to the fence line and Penn trots and canters and head tosses and bucks next to him. They parallel each other like a cutting horse and cow. They seem to really enjoy running back and forth, so that's fine. Ike generally stays out of the field, but BO is ever watchful and calls him back to the barn when it looks like he's going to go under the fence. I think the whole thing is hilarious!
Anyway, I got to lesson and the idea was to warm up a bit and go over one of our tests. Trainer got after me to keep his haunches in just a bit more on turns and circles. We used the trot loop and canter work from T3 to warm up, so I ended up riding T2 instead of practicing T3.
There were 4 major takeaways from lesson that are more show specific, but still helpful:
- When coming back to the rail- from a circle, diagonal, or shallow loop- make sure Penn's shoulder hits the rail first. When he gets all fish-taily, his haunches are actually hitting first.
- Once I'm on the circle or diagonal, push his trot or canter just a hair more forward and give the inside hand just a little. This let's him open up and get some loft in his step while stretching his neck and really lets me show off his gaits. Near the completion of the movement, collect him back just a hair and make sure he meets the rail properly.
- In corners and turns up centerline, think about keeping the haunches in (but absolutely DO NOT push them in at all), and use the thought of counterbend to help him not collapse in the turns.
- In T3's left lead canter work, Let his canter be a bit open for the circle and coming down the arena, but as I get closer to the corner, start collecting, and then keep collecting past the judge and down the diagonal. This will keep him from flopping like a fish down the diagonal.
Penn got clipped, which wasn't as much of an ordeal as it's been in the past (whiskers, goat hairs, bridle path, fetlocks). It seems if I start with his legs or somewhere on his body, he's more cooperative about his face. It's not that it scares him up my his poll either, because he doesn't give two hoots about the clippers buzzing away up there. He only cares when it's by his nose. I missed a huge section of hairs because I was trying to keep him from attempting to break the cross ties. More practice is needed!
I got all my stuff packed up (I cleaned my tack Thursday night), and Hawk and I loaded up the horses and off we went to the show!
When we left around 2:30, it was sunny, breezy, and around 50 degrees. In general, it was warm feeling.
It turns out our early ride times saved our butts because they forced us to haul the day before the show. Just as we were arriving, it started snowing. A lot. The really wet and heavy stuff. And it was super windy.
|About 10 minutes into unloading the trailer.|
Where the hell did our sunshine go???
My fleece jacket, which had managed to dry before we left, became unwearable again after making several trips to the trailer and then standing out there to unhook the trailer. At least I grabbed my Carhartt jacket on a whim when I walked out the door Saturday morning. While it was too warm to wear it at home while doing chores and riding, it was very nice to have at the show grounds where it was 20-25 degrees colder (and much more windy).
Hawk and I got to ride in the dressage arena itself (yay!) and it was excellent practice. Penn was definitely less reactive on Sunday because of it. I finally got to school him in left lead canter past C. At all of the previous shows, he's turned into a spooky mess past the judge in T3. I just try to hold it together and get past it. Saturday night I got to reapproach and try again! And continue repeating it until he finally relaxed.
We braided after riding, but that's about when the barn started getting super cold. We'd been sharing the ring with another group, but they had only hauled over to practice and were going home... so they kept going in and out of the barn, leaving the main door open so all of the "warm" air in the barn was escaping and winter was coming in! Penn and Fiction got extra blanket layers and extra hay with their dinners, and we set off to find ourselves some dinner and go to the hotel for the night.
Can we talk about how a blizzard decided to happen while we were in the barn? Snow was creeping under the barn door, and there were several inches out in the parking lot. We'd only been in the barn for 3.5 hours. I used a broom from my trailer to brush off the windows and headlights of my truck because my ice scraper wasn't in the backseat anymore! The roads were horrible, the temps plummeted to around 22 degrees, and the wind was fierce (pumping 21 gallons of gas into the truck was a horrible experience). We were VERY happy that we hauled over Saturday. The roads would have been too treacherous for us to haul early Sunday morning.
|WTF Mother Nature? April Fools Day was the day before! Also, we're in APRIL which is NOT WINTER!|
Stay tuned for Part 2: Schooling Show - Series Finale!