Dylan and I survived our first show together this weekend! And not only survived, but did pretty well considering everything! I made some dumb rookie mistakes but I learned a lot of things, and I certainly won't make those same mistakes again! I'm going to split this post into two parts, the mini clinic on Friday and then the actual show on Saturday. Otherwise it will just be one gigantic block of text and that just won't do.
|White for just one day!|
On Friday, I headed over to the showgrounds in the afternoon for a private lesson with Tarrin. I'm glad I did this, because I had questions about literally every obstacle. I had NO idea how to even attempt a few of them. Each obstacle has an entrance and an exit point, which are marked by red and white markers. As usual, red is on the right, and white is on the left. Remember this - it will come into play later. I was confused about the entrance points to several obstacles, and definitely needed to know more. Dylan was quieter and much less zoomy than he had been the last time, which made working on the obstacles much easier. We discussed the garrocha, and how the rider can ask the ground jury before they start their courses to place the garrocha where they want it in the barrel. (Also remember this.) On our course map for the show, the Intermediate riders had to go first to the garrocha and pick it up at the canter, then carry the garrocha through the next three obstacles before spearing the ring and depositing the garrocha back into the other barrel. This meant riding one handed while carrying garrocha going over the bridge, through the livestock pen, and around the figure-8. That's HARD. We decided to do some more practice on the livestock pen, which is so much more difficult than I thought it was. I had no problem cantering through it the first few times I did it, but for whatever reason this time, we both anticipated what was happening, and Dylan swapped his leads behind while scooting through it. We also managed to run right into the interior panels, knocking them all down right onto us. Poor Dylan scooted out of there quick like a bunny, and while we were waiting to have volunteers set it back up, we continued to canter around the exterior of the pen, hugging it close and working on maintaining a better balance. When I'm focused on doing a task, I tend to revert back to relying too much on my reins and not using my legs enough. Not surprisingly, this makes it impossible for Dylan to do his work, so I need to be careful when I'm focusing on something other than myself. We did a few more attempts at the canter, then went back to the walk to chill him out before moving on.
We also went through the gate backwards, which is something I had never done before. Intermediate has a rope gate (and sometimes, a solid gate) that can be passed through either direction, depending on the approach. There is a distinctly set way to do this obstacle - you approach the gate perfectly perpendicular and at the canter, then walk, then smoothly step sideways and halt next to the opening of the gate. The rider reaches down, opens the latch (or picks up the rope), the horse moves forward just enough to clear the opening, and then does a reinback through the gate, moving back around to be parallel again to the latch (or post) so the rider can close the gate. Then the horse executes a turn on the haunches so that they are perpendicular again, then canters off. I think. Man there are a lot of details! Anyway, going backwards through a gate is something we had not attempted before, and Dylan was not very happy about it to start. He thought for sure that he knew how to go through a gate - and he does, going forwards - so going backwards was very confusing at first. He more or less figured it out, but I wasn't sure how it was going to go at the show.
We finished by doing some practice on the cloverleaf barrels, and verbally going over the rest of the course to make sure I didn't have any other questions. I specifically made sure to ask how to hold the garrocha when going through the livestock pen (held upright, behind my leg, so as not to stab anything), and also asked about what I needed to wear. I had been told that this was a schooling show, so I asked if schooling attire would be appropriate - nice polo shirt and clean white britches, etc. Tarrin looked at me like I was nuts. She told me it was not a schooling show, it was a rated show! I had NO idea. I told her I would be sure to wear my nice show clothes, but I'll admit I was totally knocked off guard. I don't know that I would have attempted a rated show for our first one had I known!
Back at home after our lesson, I decided to leave most of the rest of prep for the morning - cleaning tack, bathing horse, etc. My show clothes were already in the trailer and ready to go, so I just had to make sure all of my courses and tests were memorized, and the final cleaning details would be finished in the morning. I didn't ride until 2:10, and the showgrounds was only about 1/2hr away, which means I didn't have to be up early. B2 and R told me they would come to watch me the next day, which I was super excited about seeing as I barely get to see them anymore - they moved all the way across the Metroplex from us!
I'll admit, I was a little nervous about the following day....