It only took me two weeks to write this but at least I'm getting to it! So the first show of the season has officially been accomplished...let's do a quick run down:
Friday evening, we arrive at the Raleigh Hunt Complex (aka "the State Fairgrounds") and find our stalls with my friends Kay & Foy Robertson and the crew from Ginn Farm Dressage & Sporthorses. I was super excited to see my friends since I did not show at all last year and these guys, well girls, are an absolute blast at a show! The set-up proved to be a little difficult. The stalls are kind of a mess since they are like off-roading in a 10x10 area. Setting up a tack stall ended up being very creative ;) Buddy settled in right away and became quite attached to his neighbor Little Buddy (Kay's Pintabian gelding). Then it was back home for an early night since Saturday was supposed to start early with braiding and a bath.
Saturday morning did start early, but not as early as originally planned...something that anyone reading this should know is that every Arabian show I plan on going to (it happens every single time) rain is always in the forecast. Wouldn't you know it, it torrential rained the evening before making the rings not a total disaster but something that would not keep your show-ready pony very clean. So, I made the command decision to forgo the bath (something that I have NEVER done for a horse show, schooling or rated!) and just decided to take him for a long walk and braid him up for his 8 something AM ride time. Buddy was extremely relaxed for everything that morning so warm-up time came and all was going smoothly. First up was Second level test 3, the tougher of the two tests I signed up for. I met a couple more friends in the warm-up, did some chatting while stretching and proceeded with a leisurely warm-up. It came time for my test, I heard the whistle, went down the centerline and started my test. Unfortunately, I only got through the halt, salute, medium trot, shoulder in right, renver left, medium trot and the beginning of left shoulder-in transitioning over to renver before the horse in the ring next to us stepped on the chain ring and knocked over one of the wooden letters right next to me and Buddy. Needless to say, that was the end of poor Buddy's brain. I managed to get him back and continued on with the test as best as we could. The rest of the test was semi-accurate with only breaking in both counter canters which were extremely tight to begin with but we managed to finish. At the end of the test, the judge called me up to her stand to tell me that she got lost during my test and thought that overall Buddy did a great job for it being an already very difficult test without adding the incident that the younger horse. All of that ended with a 64+%!
The next test was only two hours later, I had hoped that this would give Buddy some time to forget what happened earlier that morning. Alas, it did not. The next test we were doing was much easier but he never let go of the tension he had acquired from the morning. It was again semi-accurate but lacked pizazz that he had originally shown before he lost his poor little brain. We also lost the function of a half-halt as well as our simples. For this class, we had the same judge as we did in the morning and she must have seen something promising because even with tension and plenty of "boo boos" we still earned a 61+%. I grabbed a blanket from the trailer since another terrible thunderstorm was in the works for the evening, tucked Buddy in and set off for home.
Sunday morning started very unpleasant. My allergies were in full swing and I could not see or breath without discomfort. Mom gave me 2 allergy pills which did not appear to be Benadryl but Oops! it was the CVS generic equivalent instead (this will become a problem later on in my story). So after meds and coffee were had, it was back to the Hunt Complex. It was another wet morning but I had some renewed hopes that it was a new day, new thought process, no more show nerves and overall it was going to be a great day with great tests. Nope, I was wrong. My very-drowsy allergy meds had started to kick in and getting ready to warm-up was remarkably difficult. After I finally got Buddy and myself ready to ride I was exhausted, how was I supposed to accomplish a Second level test like this?!?! Maybe Buddy would be sympathetic to my issues...again wrong. The tension was back and worse than ever. I had no strength to try and deal with his issues and all of my corrections were too late making me disrupt the next movement. I literally warmed-up until the car horn was honked in order to keep myself from exiting stage right off of Bud. We got the test done but man it was not pretty! Lots of hiccups including breaking again in the counter-canter, shallow travers and lazy simples. The new judge was very gracious with some encouraging compliments and a score of 60+%. After that ride I had to crash in the car for a nap because the "Benadryl wanna-be" was kicking my butt! Two hours later, I awoke very refreshed and ready to try again. I was thwarted one more time by the fates. For our last ride, I just had no horse left. Buddy had spent all of his energy being tense that I had nothing left at all for Second 3 which requires so much of the horse. It was depressing. We did a super short warm-up and went in for the test. It was just not something Buddy usually puts out in the show ring. We had the same judge from the morning who still had nice things to say about me and my black horse but she crucified us on more than one movement.
In conclusion, we got through the first one. We came home with four blues and High Point Second level so maybe it wasn't all bad :) Buddy and I had high and not so high points but we have run through the new tests in a relaxed environment and qualified for 1 class at Nationals so far. We have our homework and I have a lesson scheduled next weekend with Lynn before we leave for our next outting. This one will still be small but it has more pressure because it is a USDF show and I may be making an attempt to qualify for Regionals for the first time at 2nd level as an AA, eep! I'll be sure to keep this blog updated after my next lesson and of course after the horse show. Until next time!