2013 Memories

2013 Memories

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Heart of the Valley Show Novel

What a weekend... I dont even know where to start! Thankfully the weather on Saturday was mostly decent even though it called for rain. Given how horribly it rained on Friday I was very thankful to not have to ride in the pouring down rain. That being said it the outdoor arenas were still wet and Pony had to tromp through some soupy sand and was a dirty mess by the end of the day.
Down the centerline in our second test of the day
Saturday we did both 1st level test 2 and 1st level test 3 and actually did them in order (test 2 before test 3) this show. Tons of horses were coming out really fresh and there were no shortages of rearing, bucking, and bolting horses! Mystic came out ready to work for our first test and we had a great warm up! He seemed more energetic and it definitely transferred to our test. Overall, coming out of the ring, I was really happy with how it went! There were some bobbles on my part and some spots where he was getting tired and falling apart a little but all in all it felt really good. His trot lengthenings have improved in leaps and bounds, it is almost like all the sudden it just clicked with him and now he totally knows what I want. Not that they dont still need work, like in our second one of the first test he got a little unbalanced and kind of tried to canter but I just half halted and he came back, but it is so cool to ride them now. I got my test back and we ended up scoring a 70.27%! Along with that score we got four 8s, one for both our first and last centerline one, one for our left leg yield, and one for the harmony collective mark! Other than that the scores were mostly all 7s with a few 6.5s and only two 6s. The judge commented on how harmonious our test was and that I presented him well. First test down, first blue ribbon of the show, first 8 at a recognized show, and first time breaking 70% at a recognized show. Not only did we already accomplish all that but I found out that even if the divisions were not split (AA, Open, Jr/Yr) we still would have won out of the 19 horses. Not a bad way to start our weekend!

First test down 2 more to go!
Because we had already done one test, and Mystics gas tank was way under half a tank, I hopped on and just walked him around for 10 minutes before heading to the warm up arena for a quick 10 minutes brush up before going into the arena. It was definitely not an ideal warm up and I fought him way more than I should have. The show was running early so I went in early, looking back I should have gotten something nice before leaving the warm up just to make sure we were on the same page. Obviously the test was not awful, after all this is the most steady and consistent horse on the planet, but it wasnt our best either. Usually we do not have a problem working with each other but for some reason we just never clicked and go into our groove for this test. I think he was tired and ready to be done and since I never got him really working well in warm up we never got it together in the test. That is why I was shocked to get my test back and see a first place ribbon with a 68%! The judge commented "Good turnout. Correctly ridden test. Nice ride!". Ill take it! This time overall, out of 19 horse competing, he still would have placed 2nd!
Flying hair everywhere

Mystic and I with our cheering section in the background! We love our people!

Pony says canter lengthenings are hard
This morning was a gorgeous day! The arena had drained, the sun was out, and... we now had to ride in indoor. Of course! We knew that he would need a short and sweet warm up as he had a long day on Saturday. I hopped on at 8:40 to go for a walk (it is actually quite a walk just from lower stabling up to the indoor arena/warm up arena) before our 9:05 ride time. About 15 minutes till I picked him up for some work. Once again we didnt have the best warm up. He was tired, I was tired, and all this lead to me using way to much hand and not enough leg. I got onto him a bit in warm up and when I brought him down for a walk break prior to our test I took some time to try and makes friends with him again. Even with such a short warm up when we got into the arena for our test I felt like I might as well have been the one carrying him around the test! I really just had no horse left to do much with. He was still good and consistent but our trot work lacked in pretty much every category. I really had to ride to get what I got from him and came out of the arena beat red and ready for a nap (just like he was!). It was no where near the quality we can get at home but it was still respectable and consistent which can get you far! I was shocked to find out that we placed 2nd, out of 9, with a 66.7%! The first who got first only scored 2.5 points higher than I did and then there was a large gap between the third place person and me. By far my favorite judge comments came on this test where she said "Quiet rider with correct seat. He is correctly trained, good for you!". Looking back at the video the test looked way better than it felt, isnt that always the case?
Seriously though... SO much improvement!

I so wish his ears were up!
Overall it was a GREAT weekend with awesome friends and great rides by all of us. Horse shows are always so much fun when you get to go with fun people. Some highlights, or things that I am really proud of (besides the obvious ribbon loot) are:
-We got a 7 on a trot lengthening! Not only that but we never got a 5.5 on any of them and only got one 6, the rest were 6.5s. Considering we got almost all 5.5s at the show last month I am super pleased.

-In two of my tests I got a collective mark of 7.5 on riders position and seat! In the other I still got a 7.

-Pony got either a 6.5 or a 7 on his gaits in all of the tests (improvement from all 6s) which hopefully means that I am riding him better!

-I think my favorite overall is just the fact that the judges were able to see how well we work together and each commented on that. Everything we know need some work on, such as cadence, elasticity, and up hill movement (especially in the trot) along with more thrust in our mediums were the main focus points to the reasons in our "low"scores which, to me, is very encouraging. That means that everything else we are doing is correct and they are rewarding us for that! It is also nice that they are not telling us anything we dont already know needs work.

I am really looking forward to our next show, which I actually have no idea where/when it is going to be, and just showing one 2nd level test each day. We got all the qualifying scores we need for champs for both first and second level so now we can just move on and only show 2nd. I am hoping that this will result in a less tired pony for the second day. Or at least having the possibility of having a great ride the first day! The fact that he scored a 66 % in a test that felt way below what we can really do gets me really excited to get him out and show 2nd level on the first day of a show! And a side note... we now officially have 2/3 of our bronze medal scores!! Now we have a life time to get our 3rd level scores :)


  1. Seriously, you should be so proud of yourself and your pony! He looks awesome in the photos and obviously the judges thought so in person.

  2. Congrats! You two look wonderful.