With the goal of a 60% dangling over my head I let Phoenix walk around on a loose rein for a while. The game plan was to get him to be relaxed and through the back before we started to put him together. Well that game plan FAILED and failed big time when after just a few laps around the ring we were already getting called to the show ring. I had not even trotted! I was not sure if I made the mistake and my time was 1:25 or 1:35 or if the judge was just running early again. Not wanting to push my luck either way I did a few quick trot transitions before I headed up.
While trying to put him together, Phoenix was throwing his face in the air like a mad man. It was really getting me frustrated. All I needed was a stupid 60% and here he was being a jerk! I wanted to scream. PO reminded me that Phoenix is 6 and I need to not be mad at him right now. There were 65 mph wind gusts whipping around him at a strange place and he was being such a good boy. So what if he was not the most submissive horse at the moment. He is 6. I am asking a lot of him. As I walked up to the show ring the thought “he is 6” became my mantra. He really was exceptionally well behaved for a 6 year old all things considered. I needed to relax and just have us do our best.
As the judge signaled for us to go in for the last time I was in a much better head space, so of course that helped Phoenix be in a better head space as well. My center line was dead straight and my halt was clean. I still felt like I had my rushy trot, but that was the trot PO had us warm up with so it was what I was going with. When it came time for my first loop I really focused. The stupid loop has been my nemesis. I don’t think I had ever gotten above a 4 on it before. I knew Phoenix and I could do it as long as I planned for it…and plan I did! Phoenix’s nose might be up in the air, but we were at least accurate on this movement for the first time.
My canter transition was…rough. But that was to be expected because he was not on the aids so I had to run him into it. When it was finally time to ask for my downward back to trot it was like Phoenix suddenly clicked. I lost it in the free walk though. That was my bad though, not his. He was starting to try to be a good boy. I just couldn’t maintain it, and because of that we just had a very inconsistent test, which is like the kiss of death at training level. As I halted for the second time I knew I had done worse. Walking out of the ring though every else seemed to think I had done better. I just sat there hoping that they were right and that I broke a 60%, but I also wasn’t counting on it.
As I untacked Phoenix everyone started to leave. By the time my parents waved good bye I was feeling a little lonely. It is one thing to be able to do the horse show thing on your own, it is another to realize that just because you can does not mean that you WANT to go to shows alone. I had hoped that they would score this test fast and that I would not be left on my own for too long. Poor Phoenix had run out of hay between tests so I didn’t want him to get bored and play the “lets see how I can destroy the trailer” game. After 20 minutes of putting away everything in the right place and making sure my trailer was packed perfectly I went to see if they had posted my score.
No such luck.
I went for a walk around the show grounds, watched a few tests, checked on Phoenix and went back 20 minutes after that…Still no such luck. At this point my poor tired baby horse was in a bad mood. I didn’t want to leave him so instead I tried to take a picture of him and the ribbons he had already won earlier in the day while I was waiting for the last score. He looks thrilled doesn’t he!
After an HOUR of waiting they FINALLY posted my class!! I could tell because all the other people who had been looking bored standing around the score board started to look excited and alive. I got out of my truck and made the long way up. I looked at the board and saw a big 3 next to my name. I was happy with third place. It was when I looked down the line and saw my score that I really smiled. I BROKE A 60%!!!! I got a 61.6% at training 4!!! I was now only 1 score away from getting my bronze medal from one of my GMOs and the local show grounds. I was thrilled. As I went back to the trailer I gave Phoenix about 100 kisses. He was such a good boy! The wind was still horrible, but for some reason I stopped being able to feel it. I finally did it…I broke a 60% at training 4! You could not wipe the smile off my face for days after that!