This is the real title of this post, but I couldn’t get the strike through to work in the headline
It has been a trying week, my family has been dealing with some sad news and our availability to actually show on the weekend was very up in the air until the very last minute. the practical side of my brain was saying “just scratch, it will be one less thing to think about” but my I can do it all side was saying – “we can make alternate plans to make this work.” Of course, I should have known that my barn family would also be making a contingency plan to spring into action if I reached out for help. Of course it NEVER occurred to me to call anyone to let them know what was going on so you an imagine my surprise, relief and gratefulness when Nancy called and said – I heard what was going on – what do you need us to do? Just knowing someone’s “got your back” somehow takes the weight of the world off of you.
As usual, Molly had a school function the day before so that left me wearing the groom’s hat and getting, horse, trailer and tack ready. One of these days I’m going to be able to just show up at a show ready to ride. Okay, who am I kidding – that’s NEVER going to happen!
I had a great lesson the day before and talked to my trainer about my frustration with Seal being so different at horseshows. IF I had the same horse at a show that I have at home it would just be SO much easier for me. I had already decided that I should go back to lunging him before getting on even though he seems pretty nonchalant at the show. My trainer said the exact same thing! So that pretty much cemented my plan.
Seal was pretty disinterested in being lunged, but he did get out one decent buck. I think he needs that just to blow off some pent up anxiety. He only lasted 5-7 minutes on the lunge line but it was just enough for him to take that proverbial breath and just settle. I quick threw on my stock tie and jacket and headed over to the dressage ring.The first ride of the day was nowhere to be found so I had the whole area to myself including the track around the judges box – what a luxury! We walked back and forth on a loose rein several times before I took some contact and started to warm up. The boy was fantastic and came right to the party ready to work – very much like the horse I have at home! I warmed up for a quick 10 minutes and decided we were ready- only problem was the first ride was still not around. By know, she should have at least been circling the ring. I decided that I was ready – right then – and did not want to wait so I asked the starter if I could go but of course she was clueless as to how dressage works if you miss your time. So, being the DQ that I am, I TOLD her that I would go tell the judge that we were switching times and away I trotted toward the judge leaving the poor starter somewhat speechless. The judge, on the other hand, was quite happy to see some activity and gladly whistled me into the ring.
Seal Was Spectacular!! Totally focused, consistent, and relaxed. It was SO easy to be accurate that the test was just lovely. There were only 2 things that I wanted to do differently for the next test…1) put on spurs to keep him just a touch more forward and 2) keep more outside leg on the circles to encourage him to stay forward and not bulge when coming off the rail. You see, Seal LOVES the rail. He actually has some form of agoraphobia about being alone in the middle of the ring. He immediately sucks back and tries to bulge back to the rail. I think its actually kind of comical. Usually you struggle to keep them ON the rail! Clearly, my boy is “special”.
The spurs were just right for the second test. I was extra careful not to jab at him because I really wanted to keep the nice relaxed horse I had. In fact, he was so relaxed that he decided less than 1/2 way through the first canter circle that that was enough canter and started to get behind my leg. I thought for sure he was going to break and we really needed at least 2 maybe 3 more strides at canter before the transition. So, what would be an appropriate correction? Maybe close my leg a little more? Maybe soften my hand a little more? Maybe cluck, oh so quietly, under my breath (I know a big dressage no no, but hey whatever works)? Now don’t be silly, I of course, did NONE of those things! I…, drove my seat into his back and dug my spurs into him. A very appropriate response to a little change in tempo right? Seal replied to my command with a nice little buck and then kept on cantering like nothing had happened. Translation ” F you Mom – you didn’t have to be so mean about it!” Okay, point taken. However, since we had now come to an understanding, the other canter circle and rest of the test were lovely.
Despite the one minor disobedience. we were rewarded with great scores of 69% in Intro B and 68% in Intro C. The best part was the lovely compliments from the judge as well as her recommendation that we move up to Training Level. AND,,,not only did we win BOTH classes, we were also the Hi Score of the day! Yes, my boy was Sealed In Blue!