Thursday, October 27, 2016

Working Equitation B-Rated Show 10/22/16 - Intermediate Division

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear last weekend. I was up and ready to go before I needed to be, which was actually quite relaxing. Feeling like I wasn't in a rush and didn't need to speed my way through getting ready really calmed me down and made me feel pretty zen. I cleaned my tack, put my show clothes together, and eventually pulled Dylan up to tidy up his feet, bathe him thoroughly, and braid his mane. I've never been very good at french braids - a vital skill I seem to have missed out on in 2nd grade, when the rest of the little girls were braiding each other's hair - but I seem to be getting slightly better. I think it will just take practice, like anything else. Either way, I hair sprayed the crap out of his braid, and crossed my fingers that it would stay.

Once at the showgrounds, I unloaded and settled Dylan in with a haybag. He munched quietly away for the most part while I picked up my number and watched a few riders warming up, still feeling pretty zen. I had my dressage test memorized, but still felt like I was drawing some blanks here and there - I blame it on my many head injuries, but I seem to be having an increasingly difficult time remembering things as time goes on. About this time, B2 and R showed up, and we had a very excited reunion (which may or may not have been complete with affectionate boob grabbing). They helped me finish up the last final details of cleaning up Dylan and suiting up to ride, and then I was mounting up and ready to roll for my dressage test at 2:10.

And holy crap, he was ready to go too. He about scooted out from underneath me when I was mounting up, leading me to have a completely undignified fish flop onto his back while he was trying to make a great escape. He was SO hot. There was quite a lot of zooming around for a few minutes, but eventually we went back to the walk and just went sideways for a few minutes for our warmup. I did not leave myself enough warmup time, which I will need to remember for the future. Since this was my first show, I made an educated guess as to how much time I would need to settle him into his warmup, and I was not correct. Going into the test, we were still a bit all over the place, me feeling nervous and him feeling very, very hot.

As a result, the dressage test was not all that great. We didn't have any mistakes, and did score some 8s and 9s, but also had some 6s and even some 5s for my major geometry mistakes. I was not paying attention during the test, and seriously overshot several of my movements just because I was not prepared. When I get a little anxious, I tend to revert back to old habits like rounding my shoulders and completely taking my leg off. (I dearly love my O, but she was the one who taught me to be super defensive in my riding. I'm still trying to get over that!) Whenever I take my legs off, I lose total control of Dylan's back end, not to anyone's surprise. But, these are all things that I know, and therefore can continue to make sure that I am really paying attention to while showing.


More cheesin

Majorly overshooting my canter circle

Half pass left at the walk, at least that's what I think we were doing...
Start of our medium canter

No video of our dressage test, although that's probably not a terrible thing as I don't think it was that fantastic anyway! It will definitely be better next time - I feel like you have to get through your nerves at the first one before you can really start to do well. 

Ease of Handling was up next. We had the ability to walk the course once it was set up, and I made it a point to latch myself temporarily to one of my other competitors who had WE show experience, so that I could pepper her with some last minute questions. She was kind enough to humor me until she was able to shake me off near the end of the course, so she could walk it herself. The course went like this: enter, canter to the garrocha pole and pick it up, then with pole in hand continue on to the bridge, then the livestock pen, then the figure-8 around the barrels, then back to spear the ring (if possible), then deposit the pole back into the receiving can. From there, we would proceed to the water pitcher, backwards gate, bell corridor, double slalom, jump, sidepass poles, cloverleaf barrels, cup corridor, jump again, and then finish. Sound completely confusing? Have no idea what I'm talking about? Fear not, I have a video!

Before we get to that though, I have to explain where I went wrong in my course. Every obstacle has an entrance and an exit point, marked by red and white markers. Red is always on the right, which is universal throughout all horse sports (and pretty much every other sport I've ever been a part of). I've only had that beaten into my head since I was a child, surely I wouldn't forget it right? Well... I did. On the 4th obstacle, the figure-8 around the cans, I went in the wrong way. I just had it in my head that I was going in that way because that was what it was set as for the Novice riders. It was marked the other way on my course map, and had I just looked at it while approaching, I would have noticed it, buttttttt I didn't. As such, I disqualified from the ease of handling phase. But! You still receive scores for each of the other phases, so it wasn't the end of the world. I can tell you what, I'll never do that again though!

Bridge with garrocha

Entering livestock pen with garrocha

Figure-8 with garrocha

Defensive leg to the rescue!


Weaving backwards

Double slalom

Jump.... can you tell I haven't jumped in years lol

Sidepass poles

Return jump

Handsome dude

So, I was DQd from that one, but I think I would have scored well otherwise. We got a 9 on our first obstacle, then a 6, and then the scoring stopped because I was DQd. But we did several of the obstacles pretty well, so I think we would have scored decently. I am especially proud of the gate and the backing corridors, simply because teaching a horse that has spent his entire life going perfectly straight backwards to go backwards in different directions is HARD. We also had to back through the gate, which he had only one for the first time on Friday. If you watch the video, he does remarkably well at it. I was really pleased! Not to mention the fact that I was able to carry the garrocha successfully through four obstacles and not die. I have barely any experience riding one handed. Admittedly, carrying someting in one hand makes you be a better rider, because it forces you to use your body and not rely on your reins for anything important (which I should be doing anyway, but you know, old habits die very hard.)

The speed course was different from the EOH course. In the speed, it doesn't matter how you do the obstacles as long as you do them correctly. You can walk, trot, gallop, flail, whatever, so long as you do it successfully. If you manage to spear the ring, you get 10 extra seconds off your time, so I was hoping I would manage it and planned to trot with the garrocha to try and maximize that possibility. I've never successfully speared the ring before, so Plan B was just go really fast. I have another video - you'll see a lot of counter canter and trotting, just because it doesn't really matter. I'll make a better effort next time to make sure we smooth everything out!

We were 1st in dressage and 1st in speed. I think we would also have been first in EOH had I not made my dumb mistake, which would have meant we would have cleaned the entire thing up!

I think Dylan has a great future as a WE horse. And I had a TON of fun. We will definitely be doing more of this in the future!!


  1. You guys totally rocked that, yay! So fun to watch!

  2. I'm surprised they let you complete the EOH course after the DQ at a rated show. Nice that you had the opportunity to ride the obstacles and Tarrin pulls no punches in setting her courses.

    Dylan looks like he is having so much fun!!

    1. It was really nice of her. I think she probably wanted me to get through a course for the experience. She knew I had never done a full course before and as I imagine it she didn't want to discourage me, but I could just be projecting there. Either way I'm glad she let me!

  3. Wait you still have to wear a show coat at this shindig?

    Much disappoint.

    1. Only if you wear dressage tack! If you wear western tack you can wear all that weird sparkly stuff.

    2. Only if you wear dressage tack! If you wear western tack you can wear all that weird sparkly stuff.

  4. Awesome! Congrads on a good show, despite the one teeeeny tiny mistake. ;)

  5. Amazing! I love how you're always trying new things and KICKING ASS at them!

  6. Woohoo! What an awesome first outing for you both :D

  7. So cool. Sucks about the E, but you guys looks great out there.

  8. Sounds like a wonderful outing, regardless of the DQ!

  9. Your doing awesome! I have a friend with over 40 Lusitanos and Andys that I ride/handle/start for her. She wants me to start some of the stallions and up and coming colts in working EQ so this has been fun to read. I'm looking forward to it.
    By the way I love Dylan and all the pics. He is such a cutie. He looks so happy when he jumps. Face of pure joy.

  10. Bummer on the DQ, but huge congrats overall. Yall look amazing.