Wednesday, July 26, 2017

7/22/2017 - NODA Dressage Recognized Show

This past weekend, I loaded Penn up and drove to a recognized show that I decided to go to on a whim- it's held at the same location as all the winter shows I've gone to for the past two winters, so it's actually relatively close and I wanted to take a crack at Third Level.

Hint: We did not stay dry on Saturday.

The fun part is I did all the Friday and Saturday morning stuff completely alone. While it's nothing new to haul on my own, this is the first time I've loaded alone, driven alone, arrived alone, and not met anyone once I arrived. It was really nice to be on my own schedule, but it got lonely really fast when I was stabled between two large groups. It made me miss my own group! Both groups were super nice and I talked to them some, but I mostly enjoyed my alone time.

This show had an awesome unloading/stabling check in crew though! They came up to the truck and we figured out where Penn went, I unloaded him while they brought a gator around, then we put everything of mine in the gator and drove it to my stall! The trailer was unloaded in about 5 minutes. They praised me for my lack of stuff, lol. A trunk, step stool, hay net, buckets, saddle, bridle. Apparently I travel light compared to some! I went and parked my trailer, only to drag the muck bucket on it's cart stuffed with Penn's fan, a 100' extension cable, his show schooling boots, and a drink for me.

I got Penn's stall all set up, and most importantly, his fan. I had to creep into someone else's tack stall to get to an outlet, and she wasn't around so I did a "do now, ask forgiveness later" because Penn was melting. Within about 15 min of Penn getting his fan up, someone stopped by and was like, "Do you have something to cover up that cord?" My bright orange cord had to go across the dirt aisle. I was like "No, I don't have a carpet yet. I'll be getting one tonight." I had husband hunt down a Wal-Mart from the computer at home since I had limited signal and then text me the address.

The offending cord.

I hustled to get Penn tacked up and out of the barn to school- the barn was significantly hotter than the outside air. I didn't school for too long- Penn was back to feeling NQR (uneven up front) and lazy. It came and went at the trot, which was a bit unnerving, but I chalked it up to bridle lame because I could make it go away if I really got after his left hind. I worked in the dressage court we'd be competing in so we would both get used to corners and having correct geometry again. I called it quits after 15 or 20 min, he was being good and I didn't want to push him.

I scrubbed him down in the outdoor wash stalls and that's where I really noticed that he's a star- I loosely looped his lead rope around the very low boards (like just above knee height) and he stood like a champ for his scrub down and rinse... Other people had to bring helpers, haha.

I got him tucked in for the night, took my tack back to the trailer and locked it in, went off to Wal-Mart to buy a rug, found dinner, and checked in to my hotel.

I was back at the show early to do morning chores and put my carpet out, only it was just starting to drizzle when I arrived so I said "Screw everything, Penn is going for his walk before breakfast." I hand grazed him for a long time, up until the rain started really coming down. At that point, I took him back in and fed him breakfast, cleaned his stall, dumped and refilled his water buckets, etc. I braided him and then was left waiting for Husband and my dad to arrive. I certainly wasn't cleaning tack BEFORE my ride... I knew I'd have to clean it after!

They watered the rings and the driveway Saturday morning. Like, FFS, did you not look at the radar?

The show ended up getting put on hold because of the rain- the storm was apparently severe nearby and it was quite the heavy rainstorm. We had some thunder, but I'm not sure about lightning because my stall was too deep into the indoor to be able to tell.

More severe south of us. I think they weren't sure how the storm was going to pan out. It was very slow moving and the heavy spots didn't move as expected.

I was hoping the rain would quit before my ride... nope. I got all tacked up and warmed up in the big indoor ring, then went outside for the last 10 min of my warm up. I was soaked in minutes, but Penn was a total champ about being rained on, and better yet, he felt fine. No NQR moments!

Off we went to do dressage in a swimming pool! When I got to the judge, I said "Hello! It's such a beautiful day!" in an extremely cheery voice. She laughed and said she thought I had done it right by putting an ear bonnet on to protect Penn's ears from the rain.

Everything about this test was lackluster- he needed more impulsion, lateral work was slow to develop and not enough, I let his halts be crooked/not square. We rein backed too many steps (I wrote 3 steps in the video comments but it was 5 steps that we did and the judge wrote).

Why. Why couldn't he have stopped square? This would have been stunning.
Also, the wet.

I thought his first turn on the haunches was OK, and the second bad... apparently the judge thought they were both terrible, with the first being more terrible. Then I let him break in the left lead 10m circle... knowing he would want to. Sigh.

I think the left lead circle started well, haha. I need to sit down.

The only thing to be thrilled about in this test is that I threw him to the wolves for the flying changes and he basically went: "Sigh. She stopped riding. I'm pretty sure she wants these though." Saint Penn came through big time and did the changes despite me. The first change was two strides late, and the second was actually clean! I had to slow down the video to catch that though because the judge wrote that he basically changed up front, changed back, then did a clean change. She still thought they sucked the big one, 4 and 4.5 respectively.

Right before he changed for the second change. He must have been like, "Mom, I need more hop to get this done."
I need to stop doing whatever the hell it is I'm doing here, lol.

By the way, the rain stopped after I did my final salute. Ugh.

All in all, we got, and deserved, a 58.030%. I rode conservatively because of the weather (and I couldn't see because glasses + rain + humidity = fogged up) and we lost a point here and there on stupid things that we can do better (entering the ring, SI, half pass, halt rein back), then combine that with bigger mistakes like the TOH (which is x2), breaking from the canter, the changes not being correct, and pushing him into canter in the extended trot. Between all of that I lost more than the 6.5 points I needed to break 60. On the plus side, everyone seemed to have had a rough go of it- of the 5 horses that rode their test, the high score was a 60 flat, and we were 3rd. We ended up with a second place though because they split the class into 3 placings- Jr, AA, and Open, which was neat!

I was super bummed because I couldn't have asked more of Penn- I felt I had reached his max comfort level with this work in the Saturday test and he really couldn't have given me more. I was worried about the Sunday test because today our max ability proved insufficient, so what did that mean for the next day? I had wanted to finish my bronze, and with a 58% that wasn't happening... but I'd settle for a single 3rd level score at this point. I hoped that he used some of his flair to slog through the footing and it would come back the next day.

Still, Penn got a ton of cookies and hugs and pats for being an extremely good sport and really trying his best... and saving us in the flying changes so we at least got 4 and 4.5 points instead of 0-2 points.

My dad went home shortly after we got lunch, and Husband and I went back to the hotel for a little bit so I could hang up all my wet show clothes in hopes of them being dry when I had to put them back on the next day. We went back to the show so I could sign Penn up for night check and we could do his evening stuff. I gave Husband the choice of hand grazing the horse or mucking and freshening the water buckets... he chose to do stall work, lol. The fact that the horse moves around while grazing bothers him, haha. He did a super job mucking the stall, adding an entire wheelbarrow of fresh sawdust (bedding is free at this location!), dumping the water buckets, and refilling them. That left me free to get rained on and grab this gorgeous picture of Penn in the sun getting rained on with a rainbow:

I of course took like 40 pictures to get one that came out OK!

I usually wrap Penn's legs overnight when we're at shows... I couldn't bring myself to do it this time. It was just so hot and muggy, and the barn had very poor ventilation (temporary stalls set up in an indoor ring- except these stalls are up year round). Husband said he prefers this location in winter... summer here sucks, lol! Anyway, we tucked Penn in and got dinner before passing out...

Hopefully I'll be able to post about Sunday's show soon!


  1. That last picture is gorgeous! Hope the next day was better. :-)

  2. Penn is so consistent in the rain. It's like he's had lots of practice, or something. ;)

    1. Hahahaha. He's had quite a bit of experience hasn't he?

  3. I also love that last picture!! Looks like miserable riding conditions so 58% seems pretty damn good in my opinion.

    1. It was pretty miserable... but the ex-eventer came out in me and was like, "Why are people whining about the footing? We're supposed to be balanced dressage horses!" Haha! I am very pleased with Penn, and 58% is still higher than majority of my attempts at 3rd level.

  4. Penn is the very best boy. I love that he picked up slack for those changes <3