Friday, June 9, 2017

Heart of Texas Working Equitation Series Show #3 - 5/20-5/21

The pictures are in!! Now I can tell the story of the show!!

The third 2017 Heart of Texas series show is in the books. There are five of them; you have to complete three in order to be eligible for end of year series awards. I have completed two, since the first one was the one I had to scratch from because O decided to inconveniently drop a baby that weekend!

On Friday the 19th, I loaded up Dylan and headed for Navasota TX. The showgrounds was in a nearby town, but it was close to Brenham, which is near where Pine Hill is (Bellville). We made good time, unlike the last time we went down to that area! When we arrived we were one of the first to get there, even though we made it late in the afternoon. There were a few people in from Oklahoma, me from DFW, and most of the rest of the people were coming in from Waco or the Houston area. The Watts Way facility is owned privately, and just opened up for these shows and some clinics a couple of times a year. 
We arrived safely, and were warmly welcomed by the owner of the facility and her daughter. They showed me to my stall, and I settled Dylan in before I went to the office to check in. The daughter, J, told me I might want to go school the outdoor bank, as they had planned to use it in the EOH and speed courses. There are so few facilities around that have a bank, so it almost never gets included in courses. We schooled it in hand, with his wraps still on - I figured he woudn't have a problem so I wasn't worried about it.

I was right.... no problem!

After I put him away, J, A and her husband A (yes, lots of As around here) all invited me to come join them in Brenham for dinner. These guys don't really know me but they went out of their way to include me and invite me along to dinner. T, the owner of the facility, also offered me a room in their guest house - I was planning on staying in a local hotel, but this was much more convenient and cheaper to boot. We drank, feasted, and had excellent conversation all evening, and I stumbled around the barn doing night check a little more intoxicated than I had expected. Thankfully, I didn't ride until almost 4 the following afternoon, so it didn't matter much how late I got up in the morning!

Saturday dawned, and I was up early polishing boots, cleaning tack, and handwalking and bathing Dylan. I watched some of the lower levels going, then had the awesome luxury of going back to the guest house and taking an actual nap for an hour. That's unheard of! A lot of these WE shows are now being held over two days, but there just isn't quite enough to do for a full two day show. But, one day shows are crammed... so you either get to spend a large amount of time loafing around, or a short amount of time frantically running. Not sure which format I prefer more!

Finally my time to finish braiding and dressing came. Coats were waived, and I almost never go without my coat, but it was so horribly hot and humid that I decided it would be best not to die. Dylan's warmup was surprisingly poor - he bounced around in his back end through his changes, and missed several of them. We were warming up outside in a big hilly field, and the ground was rock hard. Once in the arena, I had my regular old horse back - apparently he just hated the footing outside. We had a solid dressage test - about the same as the last show. He got all his changes clean, did his lateral work well, did clean pirouettes, immobile and square halts. He has one nanosecond where he almost hopped into a canter from the walk when I was just asking him to trot, but he self corrected before he even took half a stride and trotted off. I doubted if the judge would even notice it.

Back at the washstall, one of the judges I showed under last year talked to me about how far Dylan has come - how much looser and freer she thought he was. She said he looked even better than he did at the Taylor show, which pleased me. I was expected a high dressage score and was excited about it.

The scores came out..... and I got a 59%. I actually stopped and blinked for a few seconds. Did we really suck that bad? Even with a test that was comparable if not better than the Taylor show where we scored almost a 67%?

I looked up and down the rest of the scores and was completely surprised to find that my abysmal 59% was one of the highest scores of the day. There were a couple of 61%, mostly at the Introductory level. Everyone else scored even worse than I did. Apparently, the judge was a harsh one. That momentary hesitation bobble that I thought the judge wouldn't even notice got me a 4.5. Mostly the rest of the test was 5s and 6s. I was really surprised and slightly annoyed because it meant it wouldn't count for a medal score. Nobody's would count for a medal score.

Half pirouette right

Ohhhhh well. It is what it is.

Savage wild stallion with a mare right next to him. Whoa wild beast whoa!!

That night, a whole group of about 20 of us went back out to the same restaurant in Brenham for dinner. There was more feasting, more laughing, more jokes and more storytelling. I felt slightly less in my element than I do in smaller and more intimate settings - I am a notorious introvert who relishes her nights alone at horseshows. But it was a ton of fun and as before, these total strangers welcomed me into their lives and never once made me feel like I wasn't a part of their group. That was truly special to me as it is hard to find your place in a new group.

The next morning dawned cloudy and questionable. The EOH course was supposed to be set outside in the enormous and awesome field behind the indoor, but the weather made it too big of a question - so no bank for us. We did, however, use the roundpen at the end of the arena - you walked out of the end gate, went through the livestock pen inside of the roundpen, and then came back into the arena.

The course went, in order:
Single slalom weave
Cloverleaf barrels
Garrocha pole, spear ring, replace pole
Livestock pen
Double barrels/cans
Pick up jug
Bell corridor
Switch cups
Sidepass poles

It was blazing hot with outrageous humidity by the time I was tacking up. I had this convoluted idea in my head that I wouldn't need to warm Dylan up very much, as I didn't want to roast him alive. This was a huge mistake and I should have know that I did not have him ready when I couldn't get him to hold still while we were standing around waiting out turn. If you can't stand still before you enter the arena, you're not going to stand still when you get in there. I should have known better.

As a result, I had way more horse than I needed, and one that was heavy on the forehand and rushing to boot. Had I done a better warmup, this would not have been a problem. My EOH score was abysmal - a 50% - one of the lowest score of the entire day, and decidedly the worst score of anything I've EVER done in my life. One of the highest dressage scores, one of the lowest EOH scores. EOH has solidly now become a 'thing' for me, a problem in my head. I seem to have trouble with it every single time. Every! Time!

Watch the video though and see what you think. There were clearly some things I deserved a low score on. The single slalom right off the bat I botched the first change on, and never quite recovered - got a 4, deserved it. The bridge he jigged over, so it also deserved a 4. So did the gate, which he knocked into, and so did the jug, where he just sort of did half steps through the whole thing (actual scribe comment was "half steps not required.") But I thought other things did not deserve such low scores. He patted the ground a little close in his changes in the cloverleaf barrels and that scored me a 4 - I did not expect that. He also halted but moved so briefly in the bell corridor - it also scored a 4. The garrocha pole I thought was smooth and easy - it only got a 5. The only thing that scored a 6 at all was the livestock pen.

Also, I'm super dissapointed because it had great music playing in the background that matched the horse really well.... but YouTube has copyright infringement issues and it wouldn't let me upload it with sound. Boooooo. 

I actually went out after that and galloped his butt for a few minutes, adding in some stern halts and insistence for immobility. We have worked VERY hard on the immobility issue and it was irritating to return to it, after I had thought it was solidly beaten.

Fine, run your ass off! Do it!

After a break, it was time for speed. I did finally have a horse who was listening to me and was slightly *slightly* tired, only now I needed the run in him. I'm going to ask Tarrin what she thinks, but after this show I may just try to do my speed courses like I would my EOH courses - quietly and rhythmically. I am not sure he's quite able to differentiate "we do this quietly sometimes, and super fast sometimes." I don't think that helps his hotness at all. And he is HOT.

That said, speed went off great. He did touch part of the bell corridor but didn't knock anything down - but that cost him a couple of seconds in penalty. It's all right though. We also didn't get the ring, either in EOH or in speed - didn't even try for it really. It was a very, very short distance from the ring to the second barrel.

These pics are all from speed!:

Run for home Dilly!!!

At Intermediate B, we scored better in dressage than the two other professionals, both judges I have shown under - which was awesome. We of course scored worse in the EOH but what can you really do about that except to try harder next time?

Awards ceremony - more blues to bring home!

The next show is at the end of June, another B-rated WE show here in Decatur. There is a B-rated show at Haras in July - which is going to be hot as hell - and we were also asked to come to an invitation only Tiago Ernesto clinic in July, which is going to be awesome. We have a lesson with Tarrin tomorrow, and a lesson next week with Louisa where we start to consider what we need to move to 4th level. So much going on!!!!


  1. Bit of a roller coaster show! Congrats on having a good (relative to that show) dressage score. And I have no doubt you guys will get the hang of EOH soon 😀 the pics are fantastic!

  2. Such great pictures and I really love the one of you galloping him :)

  3. He is such a sexy beast!!!! Good work

  4. Congrats on the ribbons. You guys look good in the pictures. It's a shame you didn't get to ride outside with the bank.

  5. Ugh to the tough judge, but great job regardless! Hope you have a new room that needs tons of blue-based decor ;-)

  6. OMG you got an invite to ride with TIAGO?!?!?! I'm SO JEALOUS! He's fantastic!

  7. His canter is so dreamy with that jump!