Monday, September 21, 2015

Morningside CT

It's weird how sometimes ribbon-success doesn't translate into a good show, does it?

Nothing bad happened at Morningside. Mo and I just never got it together. I didn't feel like he really relaxed and got on the same page as me. If he had, we'd have won. Instead we came in second. I mean, there isn't much to complain about, though I am a tiny bit worried about his tummy so he's going back on Ulcergard for a few days and ranitidine for the rest of the season. He just seemed stressy. And if you know me, you know that I'm neurotic as fuck about ulcers.

I had a friend I know from work who has a horse go with me to the show, because all the usual suspects were unavailable. She's a nice person but I'd never seen her in the context of a horse before so I had no idea what she knew or didn't know. She turned out to be very helpful, and I think if she ends up going to a lot of shows with me, we'll get into a good rhythm. I'm also very grateful that she went at all because I had to ask her last-minute. It's just hard to trust someone new with your pride and joy. In other words, I want my mommy at all horse shows forever.

But my friend did a good job helping me get tacked up and mounted and then was gracious enough to take pictures and video. I guess my phone died before I jumped, so the jump videos are on her phone. She texted one to me but it's so blurry I can't get any screen grabs. I'll just have to use the power of my prose to describe it to you. Snort.

I didn't lunge him as much as I normally do (which is always less than ten minutes) because he kept trying to graze, and even though I'd tied up the reins, I still felt like there was a risk of him stepping on them. And I think my friend was nervous about me getting on so we just had some tension in the camp. I got on fine, but he felt tense. Nonetheless, we had some good moments in the warmup.

He stuck his tongue out A LOT at this show.

I can't tell if I'm staring at his ears or if that's a trick of the light.
I don't like penises so I don't usually stare at horses' ears.

The show was pretty deserted in the morning. I had the whole warmup to myself. One girl went in for her intro test and then there were basically tumbleweeds going through the dressage area, so the ring steward was like "...whenever you're ready?" And since I'd been on him for about 35 minutes and figured the horse I had that day was the horse I had, and he wasn't being terrible, I just went in.

 It was Intro C, same as we did last week, and interestingly we got the same score (34), but our points shook out in different places. For instance, we got 8s on our trot circles. The halts weren't great. The canter departs were a nightmare (the judge was suuuuuuuper irritated at his canter work, but... it's Intro C? Not Prelim A? So mark us down accordingly but don't grouch at me about it from the booth, please. Also I used to like it when judges talked to me but these days I just find it unnerving and I'm looking forward to recognized events where they can't).

Okayyyy, not a bad start.

X, halt, lick your lips.

Accepting contact but doesn't really look like he's carrying himself.

You know what we love a lot? Circles!

Except canter circles. Don't love those.

Change your rein, change your attitude.
Trot Circle Realness

...Okay, I can see why the judge hated this part
Our downward transitions are sucking less.

This was a stretchy as the free walk got. Gotta work on this.
Halting while licking lips is a thing apparently

Heh. Needs help.
Always check for buddies!
So overall, not tragic in any way. It was funny, because after Loch Moy I was like "better nail the geometry" and the judge said, "You know, in spite of him flinging his head around, the shape and size of the canter circles was perfect and I gave you 8s on the trot circles." Ha! I told her that I spent years riding jumpers and I learned how to hold my line through all kinds of nonsense, which made her laugh.

At that point I had one more test to ride--the one that would actually count for my CT--and there was still no one around. So I took Mo out of the ring and let him just amble around because he hadn't gotten much of a break since I got on and I wanted him to catch his breath. I also knew I wasn't going to fix the canter departs or the free walk in the warmup and that it would only stress Mo out to try. I was on the horse I was on that day, and that horse is very green and easily stressed. So when the ring steward asked a few minutes later if I wanted to just go back in for my second test, I was like "sure whatever!"

Centerline pics never get boring, huh?
Living for trot circles, but a hair behind the vertical.
Nope. Didn't fix the canter.
At least he's quiet in the free walk?

I had to pony club kick him to get him to trot instead of leave the ring. This was a bad moment.
There was one stride of the right lead canter that was not the worst.

Turning down centerline means ALMOST DONE


Lick lips
Whew. I wasn't happy with that test really, and the judge laughed when I said that we hadn't schooled the canter transitions much since she last saw us. So anyway, that's showing green horses.

Between dressage and SJ I helped some people get their naughty horse on the trailer and Mo stood very nicely for my friend. I swapped out his tack, hopped back on for jumping, and went to the warmup. The whole area was, again, a ghost town. I went into the ring for my round and something, I'm not sure what, spooked him as we were on our way to the first fence. We got to it and he was like "WHO PUT THAT THERE" and... stopped. Cue sobbing. Well, not really. I smacked him on the bottom and reapproached and he jumped everything after that. I asked if I could add a second round, regular practice at this show, and the judge was like "please do, give me something to look at." And if I should pack anything away from this show for a rainy day, it was the feeling of that second jump round. The horse just nailed it. We cantered forward for the whole thing, I stayed in the moment, he stayed with me, and at the end the closing canter circle was soft and lovely. BIG pats and we were all done.

We came in second in the class, which, whatever. It's a tiny schooling show over teensy fences. I think there's something to learn here about taking our time, keeping his tummy happy, and realizing that even if everything doesn't feel perfect, it's not an actual disaster. I'll be interested to see how he does next time we have back-to-back show weekends. And at the end of the day, no matter how the show goes, I'm still super lucky that I get to do this at all, with such a cute horse.


  1. I love your comments with the judge, haha. He's coming along so nicely- I love the pictures.

    And now I want to hunt down more dressage shows for Penn.

  2. Um hello last turn down center line.


  3. some really lovely moments in the tests!! congrats on a positive outing and working through whatever little bobbles arose. also, re: the video, your friend could email it to you to prevent the blurriness and you could open it on your phone to get screen grabs (i'm moderately obsessed with media so... this is a thing i do haha)

  4. My favorite quote from this is, "New direction - new attitude" so true!

  5. His hind end engagement is freaking to die for! #lovemo

  6. Sometimes it's hard to see the immense progress and all the change when you ride and show the horse day in and day out. But from my outsider's perspective, Mo is really improving quickly and he's working hard to figure things out. You've got a good one for sure <3