IDS\Hamilton County Horseman's Club Schooling Show: 1-2 and 1-3

Let's just say last weekend's show didn't go to plan.  Or that it was a great reminder that horses are horses.

After 1-3.  Connor "WTF just happened?" Me: "Dammit, horse."
Thanks to Paul Wood for the photo!

Our first test went really well.  Once again, a test that I didn't feel was that great scored several points higher than the rest of the class - 68.75%.  I don't know how to talk about this phenomenon without sounding conceited so I am REALLY sorry, but I think I'm getting used to his "Wow!" quality of work at home, and when I only get 'meh' out of him at a show, it feels bad to me but has consistently scored well over six straight tests now.  I guess that's why they say show one level below what you're schooling?
Old pictures you haven't seen yet from the July show.  All thanks to Connor's breeder!

The first judge was determined to give you a 7 unless you gave her a reason to give you something else.  So one 6 and one 6.5 (just like the last show, lowest scores for the opening trot work), 8's in the medium walk and free walk, and 7.0's for literally everything else.

The first test, 1-2, was in a grass ring pretty far away from the second test which was in a sand ring.  And before I tell you how 1-3 went (the test I needed 60% on, remember) let me remind you we have never shown here before, and we haven't shown away from the Hoosier Horse Park in a long time.

A haiku:
"What is going on here?
He looks like a cartoon horse.
Reins are too damn long."

I gave him a great warmup, and then we went into the ring, which as of 8pm last night was being sump pumped out because there was a lake at C.  The ring was in sunlight, but the judge was in a tent shaded by a building with a wall of potted roses in front of it.

You can probably see where this is going...

Every time we passed the judge at C, Connor threw his head up, bent away from the judge and skittered sideways.  There was also a ton of mud at C, which doesn't bother him, but I'm sure combined with the scary judge it didn't help.

I swear he can go around relaxed.  Honest.  Photographic evidence.

The first time he teleported was on the stretchy circle, and I actually forgot my test for a moment, I was so caught off guard.  I gave him a couple of movements past C where I was relaxed and trying to get him to relax using my body, but he wasn't listening, so I said "F you horse" and MADE him listen.  We actually managed to get close to the letters after that, but it still wasn't relaxed or accurate, because I took up a ton of contact on purpose to try and, y'know, get somewhat close to the rail at C.

Her remarks were "Although willingly on bit in most of test, was against your hands and not keeping steady, relaxed tempo.  Once you can get the relaxation so more give and take (?) scores will rise and you will be able to ride more accurately."  


Sigh, I know.  I have five other tests from the past 60 days that prove he can go around like the ten year old he is and not a pretend three year old.  But, they can only judge the ride they see.  55%, our first sub 60% (sub 62% actually) all year.

I'm not that disappointed, honestly.  I learned a good lesson: no matter how good he is at home and the Hoosier Horse Park, he can still be a twit when we go to new places, depending on the ring setup.  (He was totally fine in the grass ring we rode in for 1-2!)  The first time we go to a new place needs to be a schooling show or as a non-compete, and my expectations need to be really low.

Why I show at the HHP so much: 6 rated shows and a pile of schooling shows every year, and my horse is closer to my house during shows than he is normally.

No matter how educated he gets, he's still always going to be Connor, for better and for worse.  Mostly for better.  The quirks keep me on my toes in a good way, but I was caught flat footed on this one.

He spent the morning figuring out how to pull that ball on the sliding door latch, and probably would've gotten it if he'd had another couple of hours.  Ponies, I tell ya.

Finally, I have to mention that although I was showing alone, I didn't feel like it, as Kelly, Paul and Alexis were stabled right across from me with Fergie and Riva (and Liz was right next to them).  We even got this super cute picture of Fergie and Connor - go Castleberry Cobs!  A massive thank you to Paul Wood for staging and taking this photo, it's one of my favorites ever!

LOVE everything about this!  And believe it or not, there was no squealing involved in this photo.  They sniffed politely as long as we allowed them.

24 comments:

  1. Ohhh massive bummer about 1-3 but sometimes horses just get us. Silver linings include your knowledge of how to better prepare for new shows, right?

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    1. Definitely. I learned a lot. And I'm not out of the points chasing running yet. ;)

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  2. That picture is adorable!! Sorry the show didn't quite go your way, but it sounds like you are keeping a good attitude about it.

    I don't blame you for wanting to go to the closest show facility either, I've done almost all of my shows at the fairgrounds down here, how can you beat a 20 minute drive to show??

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    1. Totally, it's horses! You can't get upset about horses being horses. Yeah, I'm with you, there's so much to be said about being able to sleep in your own bed for shows. It makes them a lot cheaper too, no camping or hotel.

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  3. Paul got some great pics of both tests that he will send to you soon! We only got to watch half of your test in the grass ring - you both looked amazing and ready to move up to Second Level.
    That sand ring - lots of scary stuff going on...Alexis was able to hand walk Fergie back and forth in front of the judges booth Sat AM as the first rider was waiting to go in but didn't get to walk her around the potted plants/flowers at every letter.
    You kept your cool and rode Connor confidently despite his dislike of that ring - way to go!
    Looking forward to you two rocking the rated show in a few weeks :)

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    1. Thank you, I can't wait to see them! It was so nice having you guys there. Hand walking was a really good idea, I'm still not sure what is and what isn't allowed at Dressage shows in terms of being in the ring. Thanks - I changed my entry to ride 1-3 at the rated show now!

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  4. I'd still vote for beating him with the flowers. Brat.

    In all seriousness, I'm sorry things didn't go better. He's so FANCY when he's tuned in!

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    1. Hahaha "I WILL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO BE AFRAID OF"

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    2. Lol, backstory: JenJ and I were texting after my ride and she suggested beating him with the flowers, but I said I didn't because those were roses and they'd leave a mark. Favorite quote from JenJ: "Besides, everybody knows that 'tactful' is short for 'your horse was an asshole and it's nice that you didn't kill him in front of the children.'"

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  5. Bummer about 1-3! You'll get it next time!

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    1. Yes we will. I changed my tests at the upcoming rated, fingers crossed.

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  6. Dude so convenient that show location! I am jealous :D

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  7. Yay for having good tests to offset the occasional whoopsie.

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  8. It's nice to have a home base for shows like the HHP though I can see how it makes it hard to go anywhere else.

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    1. Pretty much. It's good and bad. Good in that I can sleep in my own bed and make it there in 20 minutes, bad in that Connor thinks it's the only place we do that showing thing.

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  9. Too bad about 1-3, but lesson learned! And that last picture is adorable!!

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  10. Congrats about that 68 tho!!!

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  11. Love the picture, and congrats on the 68! Also...many, many sympathies for the silly cob moment...they're frequent around here and I've pretty much given up on making sense of it :)

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  12. Ahhhhh, horse showing. Why we do dis?

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