September 24, 2016

Show Recap: Harmony in the Park I

While a ton of photos of 1-1 will wrap up this post below, I only have a few pictures of 1-2 from Harmony because the weather during my test wasn't exactly conducive to photo taking:

This was taken after I had already done my first test.  Most of that fell during my warmup.  Let me tell you, warming up with water dripping down the brim of your helmet in soaking wet clothes is not fun.

It was my first time showing in truly inclement weather, and I was desperate to keep my CWD from getting more wet than it had to.  Yes, I know leather can get wet and be fine, but seriously, I sold half my worldly possessions and rode bareback for 3 months in order to afford this magical piece of French leather.  I can't afford to replace it, so I am going to be stupid particular about taking care of it.

Old photo of the saddle cover in action

So I warmed up in the waterproof rideable CWD saddle cover, and the heavens opened up.  I was soaked through, and the cover was soaked as well, though not slippery at all.  I didn't think there was any way the saddle was dry under what felt like standing water under my butt, but when I pulled the cover off right as I went into the ring, it was dry as could be under there.  So, two thumbs up, CWD!

Such a well-designed object

1-2 was, as it has been most of the year, the second highest 1-2 of the day and maddeningly mediocre from my perspective.  We scored a 66.8%, with a terse judge writing mostly one-word comments that she wanted "more" from everything.

PC: My mom.

The thing is, I agree with her, and I specifically wanted to work on getting him on my aids at this show before championships in two weeks and score the 70% I know we're capable of at home, with my trainer.

This is Connor saying "Why are we doing this...why am I so wet..."
PC: My mom

Since he wasn't tired at all after 1-2, I decided on a nice long warmup for 1-1 so I would have all the time in the world to try all the things I knew to get him straight and "switched on" so I could then give this judge "more."
We practice like we show: since there was standing water in the show ring, I made him do that in the warmup too.  Bonus: all the DQ's avoided the standing water like the plague, so we had the area to ourselves.
PC: Connor's breeder, Lisa Brezina

Lisa's favorite photo of the day, just as the storm was moving out.
PC: Lisa Brezina

Spoiler alert: It did not work.  PC for the rest of the photos in this post to Lisa Brezina, except where noted.

This test started out with the worst halt we've ever done.  He swung his hindquarters sideways.  It was bad.

The thing I notice in all of these pictures (and noticed under saddle too, but could not fix) is that his withers are never straight.  He's leaning in the entire thing, which of course means he's both not straight and not on my aids.  And my position is enabling him.  This is not new.  But it's so annoying that I felt it every step of that test and could not fix it.

He still loves the stretchy trot:


We practice in lakes because we show in lakes.  Former eventers FTW.

Good pony.

Bit check is always interesting with this horse, given his phobia of people walking straight up to him, but luckily he didn't take offense to this older gentleman.

I was pretty down after that test.  I knew I didn't get done what I wanted to get done, I knew it wasn't as good as it could be, I knew it was the fault of my poor position, and seeing the pictures that confirmed it made me sad.  I was grateful for them, this is where we are, but at the same time, I felt like a terrible rider for not being able to get my position sorted out enough or warm my horse up well enough to get him on my aids.  The score wasn't bad, 65% and 3rd of 3, but I was beating myself up over it.

FBR was supposed to be painting fence at the barn that day, but due to the rain, she got to come watch!
But not the pony.  He was a good boy.  What a trooper!

Being majestic between classes.
PC: My mom


  1. Does not look like the ideal riding conditions!

  2. Don't get too frustrated. You are SO close to putting it all together and have come SO far. Keep on keeping on, you will get there...

  3. I don't understand why DQs do not practice riding their horses through puddles. A little water never hurt anyone, and I have yet to have an issue with a puddle in the show ring (knocking on wood) because I ride in them all the time at home!

  4. D'aw. Don't beat yourself up - it happens!

    You both have come so far. There will be little bumps in the road along the way!

  5. I totally understand that kinda bummed feeling when you have a feeling through a whole test and can't -quite- get them through it.

  6. That is awesome about the cwd saddle cover, I had no idea they were rideable/waterproof. I want a cwd saddle even more now :( I think you are being way too hard on yourself, you two look awesome to me! Riding in those conditions is pretty bad ass too! :)

  7. It's so hard to have expectations for a particular day and not meet those expectations, but you guys are always progressing and you look awesome! :)
    Also - I need that rain cover for my saddle!

  8. Wow that is a LOT of water in the rings!!!

  9. Don't beat yourself up too much! You can't be perfect every time - you and Connor have already come so far! And holy cow that's A LOT of water!

  10. I can feel your frustration but agree with all the commenters - you and Connor have progressed leaps and bounds and continue to do so. You are on the right track!

  11. You rode in the rain like a badass!! Wow I think I would have just scratched.

    I totally get being frustrated with yourself, but just remember you rode first level in a jump saddle. Hello. That's not easy. :-)

  12. Don't be so down, you still got out there and got it done! A lot of people would have turned away due to the elements. You'll get there, every ride, little by little.

  13. Sorry that you had a disappointing show. Sometimes you just want to be able to leave the ring or the day and get a do-over option. But I think you still did a great job with the weather not being in your favor!

  14. Seriously you two have major balls for even riding in that condition. Just remember that even though these aren't "great" to you, you need the lows to appreciate the highs :)