Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Championships Day 5, 9/19: Long Drive Home & Final Thoughts

Sunday night was the only night that Penn did not do well- I think there was too much activity on the property and a lack of horses near him. We got there and he had churned his stall up badly. I fed him breakfast and packed up the last couple items in his stall (hay net, alfalfa bucket, one of the water buckets).

The farm crew had been hard at work long before we got there. They had managed to clear out two of the barns by 7:30am and were working on Penn's barn when we arrived. They were very courteous, even stopping and turning off the machines when  brought Penn out to load him up.

Loading to go home.

The drive home took a bit longer, 11 hours, because we hit some pretty bad rain in VA that made seeing difficult. Leftover tropical storm I think? Either way, we made a bunch more stops than we did coming down. It was uneventful, which was very nice!

Home in time for evening feed!

We got back to the barn at a normal hour, just as they were bringing in to feed for the evening. Husband helped me get stuff out of the trailer, and I actually unpacked the whole thing and cleaned it out, and reset it for next time before we left! It took no time at all. We were on our way home at a very decent hour.

These furballs missed us!

As I said in the Day 4 post, I spent some time being very disappointed and I needed to find some perspective... which was hard. What I came up with is this:

  1. I've only had Penn for a year and a month.
  2. Penn NEVER showed before coming home with me. He was barely an Intro Level horse when he came home. He has been showing First Level for five months and is pretty much ready to move on.
  3. I brought him along myself with Trainer's guidance, but I did the bulk of the riding (99%).
  4. This is the biggest show I've ever competed at, and I kept my nerves in check. I was a valuable partner for Penn so he could keep his own nerves (if he had any, I'm not a mind reader!) in check.
  5. All but one of the horses that placed in the top 8 were already showing at Second Level, some of which were in the top 8 in the Second Level AA Championship the day before.
  6. 9th out of 29 people at championships is nothing to sneeze at either!
  7. We got awesome scores in a competitive weekend!
  8. This is just our first visit to champs. There will always be another year!

So, 9th out of 29 horses, in a large competitive region, at a high participation level, AT CHAMPIONSHIPS, on a very solid test, is nothing to be upset about. In fact, he came to work that day, ready to play. There was a lot of atmosphere from people packing and leaving, in addition to the atmosphere of a big show. I really wanted to go to finals, but oh well. Instead, Penn is learning his flying changes instead of spending more time at First Level!

Trainer looked over my tests from championships at my lesson last night. She was looking for a trend in the tests for what went wrong... And couldn't find anything that was wrong. Mistakes yes, but they were all green horse and rider error, not "you have a gaping hole in your training." The trend of needs better connection and more steadiness in the bridle is something struggle with at home, yet it all came together for the championship test. She was very pleased that I brought home such solid tests with no glaring holes. She got to see all the videos during the show- I sent them to her for distance coaching!

Oh, and durrr, this is actually something important that happened at championships!

Penn finished his First Level Horse Performance Certificate!

He needed just one more score (darn that 58% he got in his first recognized test, or he would have had it before champs), and he got it on the first day of competing! I've been keeping track of it off on the right hand side of my blog, but here's the recap:

USDF First Level Horse Performance Certificate:
Score 1 - 62.500% (5/21/2016 - Vogel)
Score 2 - 62.206% (5/22/2016 - Vogel)
Score 3 - 69.063% (6/5/2016 - Schmitt)
Score 4 - 68.971% (6/5/2016 - Schmitt)
Score 5 - 68.750% (6/11/2016 - Vracko)
Score 6 - 64.412% (6/11/2016 - Schneider)
Score 7 - 62.794% (6/12/2016 - Vracko)
Score 8 - 69.063% (9/4/2016 - Lees)
Score 9 - 67.941% (9/4/2016 - Malone-Casey)
Score 10 - 65.469% (9/16/2016 - Hyslop)

Different Judges: 7/4
Different Shows: 6/4
From 1-3: 5/4


I went with the first 10 scores, not the best 10 scores (since he had it after the first 10 anyway, the last 3 don't really matter much). The scores don't get recorded anyway, I just apply and USDF checks to make sure he met the criteria, then I'm sent a neat piece of paper. Now I can send in his First Level Horse Award with my First Level Rider Award money!


  1. Congratulations! I like your perspective. It is an accomplishment either way, but when you look at it in context, it really highlights what you two have achieved.

  2. I agree with Shauna, in context it's an unbelievable achievement.

    1. Thanks! As soon as I realized he's only been doing First Level for 5 months, I was like, oh, that's no time at all!

  3. Congrats on the 1st level award. 9th at Championships is really amazing. I think it sucks the second level people were even allowed to compete in the 1st level championships. There should be rules against stuff like that.

    1. Thanks! The two championship levels go along with being allowed to do two consecutive levels at regular shows. Training/1st and 1st/2nd are pretty easy to do both levels. I think there are some levels that people don't do that at- like mixing 2nd/3rd because of the whole flying change thing at 3rd and 2nd usually doesn't work well after changes. I kind of see being able to counter canter and truly dictate when flying changes happen as a 4th level skill, so it's kind of beyond most 2nd level horses and riders. But I kind of think there should be a rule too.

  4. Good perspective! And congrats! :)