The Young Rider wanted our centerlines to be perfect so around and around we went trying to get them there with the time we had. Surprisingly, only a few people scratched from the show, so while the show was running early, it was only doing so about 5 minutes. The Young Rider and I talked about the possibility to cantering after my second test, but Phoenix just wasn’t feeling very strong so we figured we would skip the canter completely for the day. As I walked into the show ring the second time I knew that I wanted a perfect centerline and to keep the good tempo and connection I had going.
I took a deep breath and told myself to just do my best. The Young Rider came out to video tape (but she forgot to hit record ) and I could see her sinking down to the base of the ring. That was the first time I realized just how wet the ring was. If she was sinking down to the base maybe my lack of forward had more to do with the fact Phoenix was in quick sand then anything else. At that exact moment the bell rang so into my test I went. I decided that I would play it safe, but not conservative. I knew at that moment that there was absolutely no way that I would be showing the following day. I could never ask my stifle weak horse to canter in footing that bad.
My first center line was much better, but still not perfect. The turns are just tight for a young horse like Phoenix. As we trotted off our first salute I lot focus for a moment so the first turn was extra hard. Phoenix just needed more support then I gave him. I was still focusing on being mad at myself around the first circle. Phoenix got a little tight in the neck because he was feeling my tension and at that moment I snapped back to focus. The rest of the test was okay, nothing great. I knew that I totally blew the first part of the test so I assumed I would get a lower score. The Young Rider and the Barn Owners of Hill farm both thought it was a better test. Far be it for me to argue with praise so I just figured the scores would let me know if it had been a better or worse test.
I was dreading getting off with my ankle hurting, and even joked about getting off into the bed of the truck, but I thought that would have been pushing my luck, even with a super star pony like Phoenix. I did get off (and he got more complements from strangers saying how cute and how good he is) like a normal person eventually. We were talking to the owners of Hill farm as we were untacking and so we were distracted (which ment that neither the Young Rider or myself remember to boot his boots on! Yikes). Once everything was off I just walked him over and Phoenix marched on like he has been trailering all his life. I really think that I can teach this horse how to self load. Which is an amazing thing to say already at this stage in the game.
When I went to go get my tests I was pleasantly surprised. I had gotten a 66.5% on both tests!!! In test A that had put me into 2nd place! The comments on that test said the most wonderful things such as, 7 – clean bend, 7 – accurate balance, and my most favorite comment of all time that makes me want to frame this test was when I got a 7 on my position along with the comment “Correct effective position”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh how that still makes me smile! We also got the comment “well matched” on both tests, which was one of my goals for this year! On test B we did end up getting 7’s on both our centerlines!!! What brought us down was a 6 on submission and impulsion as well as a 6 on our first circle which was a coefficiant. This time in addition to well matched we got “Super Pair”!!!!! I love it! I was happy with my scores, but thrilled with my placing because even with the rainy day it was a full class.
So I was on cloud 9 driving back to the barn. I could not ask for anything more out of Phoenix. My baby horse did not spook once. He was totally fine riding all around horses in the over crowded warm up. He took everything that thrown at him in stride. I cannot belive how mature he has gotten about the whole show thing in such a short amount of time.
So that led to me brain storming new ways to try and challenge him on the drive home…and I think I found one. There is a show at the end of October that is at a show grounds an hour away, almost all of it highway driving, and that is also known for chaos. Anyone in my area can guess where this is because even the name of the farm is a phrase used in frustration. It will be a big challenge for Phoenix because not all horses handle highways well, the show grounds looks like nothing he has ever seen (it is right by the shore so it is sand and not grass) and the shows are known for having unimaginable crazy things happen during them. One of my GMO’s even dropped this show ground because of so many complaints. I think Phoenix is ready for a challenge though and if he can make it there we can make it anywhere 😛
I think the biggest gift of this whole show was hope. Seeing what a great baby horse I have made me excited for the future! I mean, how many other shows have I left and already started planning for the next one?