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Horse Show… Fun?

 

Back from three days of horse showing in Albuquerque and I’m exhausted.  Still, I accomplished my goal — to earn two scores above 60% at third level so I could apply for my Bronze Medal.  To earn the bronze from the United States Dressage Federation you have to earn two scores above 60% at first level, second level and third level, and each score has to be at a different show and under a different judge.

Despite incredibly challenging conditions on Friday and Saturday we pulled it off.  It all started when spring weather vanished and winter returned on Tuesday.  I continued to be cold and windy and horrible so I wasn’t able to bath Vento on Thursday as planned.  The weathermen had promised lovely weather on the weekend so I thought, “I’ll bath him on Friday at the show ground.”

Well, Friday dawned cold, snowing and miserable.  I turned him out to run before we put him in the trailer, and Vento raced and bucked for 30 minutes.  Then down to Albuquerque where we lunged him for another 20 minutes.  Then Tom and I took turns riding him for over and hour and he was still high and hot.

That night I was speaking at our local science fiction club so I cleaned up and warmed up and headed off to the ASFA’s meeting and read from my upcoming novel, THIS CASE IS GONNA KILL ME.  I went to bed serene in the knowledge that Saturday was going to dawn warm and lovely.

It was snowing when I got up at 6:00 a.m.  I had an 8:45 ride so I was on the horse a little after 8:00 riding in howling wind that whipped snow into Vento’s and my face.  He was — to put it mildly — high as a kite.  It was like sitting on nitro.  I managed to get through my 3/3 test (then would put the hardest test first), and to my amazement I got a 64.7% score which had me halfway to my goal.  It was amazing because when we had to canter down center line at the end of the test and then trot and X and halt at G, Vento decided a canter half-pass would be better.  I corrected him, and he got confused and indignant and stopped, but continued cantering in place.  I grabbed him with my spurs and he launched himself to X, I got him trotting and we finished.

Tom had an awful ride at 4/1, and I had an okay 3/1 ride that afternoon.  If Vento hadn’t kicked at my leg I would have done better, but it wasn’t too bad.  The weather was so cold and miserable that my muscles were cramping from the cold.  I crawled back to the hotel, fell asleep in a hot bath, ate some dinner and went to sleep at 9:00 p.m.

Sunday dawned bright and beautiful, but it had snowed over night so I began the day by scraping frozen snow off my car windshield.  Then off to the show, and my first ride.  Once again they had me riding the hardest test first, but this time it went beautifully, and you can see it here.  A friend from the barn very generously recorded the ride.  I secured a 63.7% and now I can apply for my bronze medal.

Tom had a much better go at 4/1, and earned a 62%.  And then there was my last ride of the day.  I debated ending on a good note, but Vento really needs the miles.  This is only his fifth show.  He hasn’t been in the show ring for over a year, and it was his first time out at third and fourth level.  I thought the experience would be good for him.

Unfortunately we were the last ride of the day, and Vento could see the trailers and the horses leaving and going home, and then his girlfriend, Maya passed him coming out of the ring as we were going in.  I could feel him getting restive and resentful.  

The test started out pretty well, but when it was time for the walk pirouettes he decided a piaffe would make this test way better.  When I tactfully corrected him he got really mad, and when I cued the canter at C he just started bucking and rearing and backing up.  We were one second from being disqualified when I finally got him into the canter and we, by god, finished that test.  It was literally like a three year old throwing a temper tantrum — on the floor, drumming heels, etc.  Not sure if him learning he has to work even when he’s tired, and even when the other horses are leaving was better than having him leave on a high note.  But he has to learn submission.

We got home at 6:30.  I took another long hot bath and read DRAGON’S HAVEN until my skin looked like a raisin.  I finally found some dinner (breakfast for dinner at 9:00 p.m.), and now you’re all up to date on my weekend.

Overall, I’m very pleased and now I can move on to fourth level at the May show while we school Prix St. George.  I have noticed one other interesting fact about Vento.  The harder the test the better he does.  If the test is easy he gets pissy and throws in his own moves to “spice things up”.  The sooner I get to the F.E.I. the better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwAoO8MiSTg 

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