Last weekend was the first Heart of Texas WE series show. There are four or five of these shows, three or four of which (can't remember....!) need to be shown in in order to gain points for year end awards. I planned on showing in all of them that I could, as I wanted to qualify for year end awards. I couldn't secure a pet sitter for the weekend, and Future Hubs couldn't be home either, so I decided I would just trailer in and out. The show was held near Waco, which is not quite two hours from here. It wasn't too big of a deal to trailer in and out.
On Friday, I went for a pre-show hack around the neighborhood. I wanted to put a fly bonnet on Dylan, which I usually don't do - the new rulebook states that fly bonnets are legal now, as long as they are checked by the steward. I love this, as I don't have to mess with a forelock braid or hairy ears. I prefer ears to stay hairy but I love the clean look of clipped ears - this is my compromise, everywhere I can do it. Dylan was sort of shocked by this new addition, and spent a few minutes with his face crinkled up and ears flat out.
|Hooman WTF you do to me|
At some point he realized I had not pinned his ears to his head, and perked up.
He's a weirdo. That's all there is to that!
On Saturday, my ride time for dressage wasn't until 2:20. EOH and Speed were being held on Sunday, and dressage and the course walk were on Saturday. I had everything prepped and ready to roll by Friday night, and it was nice to actually sort of sleep in for a second on Friday. On Saturday, I bathed and braided Dylan without any particular rush. I am still horrible at running braids, much to my dismay. There is a video going around showing how to do buttons on a long maned horse, and I tired it on Dylan - total failure. His mane is too scraggly and thin and short to make it work. I braided and rebraided the running braid a few times, sprayed it with enough hairspray to create my own hole in the o-zone, and then headed out, making really excellent time on our way to the showgrounds. Once there, Dylan was super chilled out, content to nap and hang out tied to the trailer. Sometimes he can really be hot and spicy at a new place - perhaps I just trailer him enough that he no longer thinks much of this? But, he trailered a ton with K too, so who knows. Perhaps he was just in a good mood that day.
I've had trouble at the last two shows with my relaxation. Dylan hears the dressage bell and he jerks to life. He can get so hot and so strong that it's hard to keep him relaxed in a test where you canter in, halt, and then go right into a bunch of walk work. He expects to trot or canter away again, and he's not keen on keeping it under wraps. My goal at this show was to keep him mellow, which I think I've more or less figured out by now.
He did not disappoint. He was so mellow during our warmup that I actually was glad when the steward came over and asked if we would like to go early. He stopped dead and held still in his first halt, which was amazing - then he stopped again after I had asked him to walk and he considered trotting off. That first transition out of the halt obviously didn't score well, but after that he walked off relatively quietly, while still keeping his walk pure. He scored a solid lot of 6.5s for all his walk work, which was impressive considering how poorly they went the last two times. I need to focus on keeping his shoulders first, as he prefers to lead with his haunches in his lateral work, which is not correct. His trotwork scored some 7s and 6s (haunches leading in lateral work again), then his canter work did the same. There are three flying changes in this test - the first two we scored 6s, the second he completely botched, changed twice, cross cantered, flailed, and did I don't even know what. I think he had jammed my left leg hard during the change right before it, and as such I just didn't have him set up before the following change. I also forgot where I was supposed to halt - it was at G, but I couldn't remember if it was at X or G - so I sort of just slammed to a halt somewhere between the two without a lot of preparation. Ooops.
If I can get a few movements to be a bit smoother, we will score better and better every time. As it was, this was the quietest and most accurate test we have had so far.
I'm super disappointed that I didn't get to go to the second day. The EOH course looked fun, albeit a bit cramped in that arena. But oh well, I got a baby horse out of it so that's okay! March has two FEH shows for Pax, which I will write about shortly, and one regular dressage show for Dylan!