Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dressage Queens

Sorry this is probably going to be REALLY long.

Saturday I went to my first show of the year, the Show-Me State Games/USDF Region 4 Competition (it's been almost a year and a half since I went to a show with my Thoroughbred).  It was epic!  The weather was AMAZING!!  It has been basically 200 degrees around here for almost two weeks now and yesterday it was a blistering... 75 degrees!  Oh Missouri how I love you.

My first ride was at 7:45 in the morning so I wanted to get to the show grounds no later than 6:30... that sure didn't happen.  We pulled out of the drive at 5:15 AM (already behind schedule) to go pick up my horse from my trainers barn.  The electric brakes on my trailer started grabbing really hard, even when you weren't touching the brakes on the truck!!  I had to jump out at a stoplight, yank the plug from the truck and jump back in.  So now the brakes stopped grabbing but it was still dark out and we didn't have any lights.  We had to sneak to the barn (which is 45 minutes from my house) without getting busted.  Thankfully, we made it, but we were seriously running behind because we didn't get to the barn until 6 and still had to load all of my tack AND Buck (my Thoroughbred)! AHH!  I am starting to stress out.  We got everything loaded and Buck decided he wanted to be a good boy and didn't fight getting into the trailer too much, we pulled out of my trainers drive at 6:30.  I tried to hurry as best I could pulling a 5,000 pound trailer with a 1,500 pound horse in it. 

It was 7:00 AM when we got to the show grounds and got parked.  I raced to change into my show clothes (red polo, white breeches and dress boots), ran to check in, and threw my tack on Buck.  My trainer showed up some where in the middle and we went to the arena to warm up (7:25!).  One of the show stewards (who was not a horse person) came up and snapped at me about not being out in front of the arena for my test (7:40).  Luckily for me, my trainer, who is an 'R' judge and has been around the block once or twice at dressage shows caught her, telling her that my ride was not until 7:45 so I still had time to warm up, the lady was NOT happy.  My trainer saw the person in the ring was headed down the center line for her final salute so I made my way to the big standard arena for my turn, I was SO nervous!!

Buck was a ROCKSTAR!!  Despite the crazy hurried morning he was brilliant and did everything just the way I asked him (even though I did not do the best job of asking).  Going back and looking at the video later I was very impressed with how far he's come since our last horse show (which was a DISASTER). Hopefully at some point in the near future I will be able to post some pictures from this horse show and our last one so you can see what I'm talking about.  After the ride I took him back to the trailer since we didn't go again until 11:13 AM.  I waited around for our score, watching the other people in my Training Level Test 2 class and also watching an awesome FEI test performed by a gorgeous Fresian stallion.  Scores were up and tragically... 48%, sad day.  Considering how well he did I thought we would have done a little better, but I was just happy with the way he performed either way, he was such a good boy.

I did my second test, Training Level Test 1, in the small grass arena and it was much worse than the first one despite the longer, amazing warm up.  Buck kept trying to out run me, possibly because of the cross country jumps he could see since the small arena for this test was on the grass in the barns cross country course.  There was a different judge for this test and surprisingly he scored a 59%.  I wonder what he would have scored on the first test with that judge...

I was done and got to sit, relax, and watch the rest of my team mates go the rest of the day.  Sadly for them it started raining about noon and didn't stop until almost 3 PM.  2 of my team mates rode beautifully (in my opinion) even though it was pouring rain on them the entire time.  The final team mate had a decent ride I had thought, but she was not happy with the way her horse was performing and pulled out of her final test.  He had some serious fly bites on his wither area she thought might have been hurting him.  I had heard before she rode we were sitting with a good chance at a team silver medal, but because our scores on our 2 tests are added up and divided by the number of riders on our teams and she left before her second test, we received a bronze medal instead.  I can't say for sure what I would have done in that situation but needless to say your horses health and happiness comes first above all else and if he was in pain there was no reason to ride the second test.  

All craziness aside, I have to say after not going to a show for a year and a half, Buck was brilliant and I hope to get to show more this year with him.

**Edit** I finally received our team photo from the show so I decided I should at least post that up here :-)  Buck and I are the ones on the far left!