So while waiting for the riding classes we ALL started to fade. We had been hanging out for over three hours waiting for the trail classes, which normally would not be a big deal, but not only is my dressage self not used to it, but my trainer and I were not prepared for it. The food stand had run out of food hours ago and had only 1 soda left for the three of us to share by the time we got up there! I had a bottle of water hanging out in my truck and so my trainer, her niece and I all shared what we could, but it was clear we were all fading. I am the queen of baking for a horse show, but I had thought that this would be a quick one, in and out in an hour. We were all regretting our decision to do the riding classes at this point. I don’t know how you Hunter people do it!
We watched the western classes and were all feeling at least a little bit better after getting something to drink. I was still bummed that I had not placed in the in hand trail class, but I figured a few pleasure classes would cheer me up. I was super impressed that as tired as I was (I had been at the barn early to bathe and braid) I was still having fun. Even my trainers niece at all of 8 years old was being a total trooper. We hung out and had a nice chat before it was time to tack up again.
Because there is only one ring at this farm, in between each class that would give us the opportunity to school. When the last class in the western division was done I tacked Phoenix back up and he had this look in his eyes like he was done. I promised him it was only 2 easy classes and then he could go home. I mounted up and was ready to go just as the warm up time started. I was one of the first people in the warm up, but slowly it started to fill up. It went from a handful of people to 17 other horses and ponies in the warm up in no time. Since the ring was not that large it was a little crazy in there.
I was really glad I went to this show because I knew it would be great practice for the following weekend! If I could handle this small space with 18 of us in it nothing could get in my way at the big show.
One thing that I noticed was that everyone was going in the same direction. In dressage, we all just warm up and watch out for each other. At this show it was more like a highway, but opposite. The fastest on the inside and the people walking got the rail. I swear that let us go for a good 15 minutes (about 5 minutes in my trainer, her niece, and I all decided to change rein and everyone else followed) before they started the pleasure class. I have no idea what a judge is actually looking for in a pleasure class. I don’t know how this happened, but along the way I decided that it was a steady rhythem and a long neck with very litte rein contact.
When they called the “English Pleasure” class to start a ton of people left the ring. There were only 8 of us left. In my brain I was mad because I really just wanted a ribbon! We were asked to just walk and trot around like it was nothing. When they called for a line up I was hopeful. Phoenix had been on a looser rein and pretty steady for the class. When they called out 1st place, it wasn’t me. They kept going down list (my trainer got 2nd) and they called me for 5th place. I was good with that. 5th out of 8 in a class that I had no idea what the judge was looking for. I could do that.
The 2nd class was open pleasure. That meant that any adult could ride in the class. Two of the people from the English Pleasure class dropped out and 6 new people came in making the class very full for this small ring with 12 participants. By this time of the day Phoenix was getting grumpy. It had been a long day for him as well waiting to be braided and hanging out for the classes and he just wanted to go home and get his dinner because we were well past supper time and he was still at the show being ridden. Instead of fighting with him I basically just dropped my reins and gave him his head. He went in what I think of as a free walk/stretch trot frame. In this class we had a few more challenges like backing up (Phoenix was no so straight) and standing quietly (did I mention he was a big grump at this point?). By the time we were called to warm up I was just releaved that I could get off of him because he was not being very fun to ride.
Imagine my surprise when they called us for 4th place out of 12 people!!! I was thrilled! I was so happy that Phoenix and I had done so well! I was also getting really tired and dehydrated. My trainer’s niece still had equtation to go, so I quickly untacked Phoenix during the next schooling break so I could watch her go. Her niece did well against kids that were much older. You should have seen her smile when they called her out for 3rd place in a class with teenagers in it. She was beeming!
By the her class ended it was after 6pm. We had been at the show for over 5 hours! We were all dehydrated and tired, but we were also all still smiling. The fun show had been really fun! Phoenix was ready to go home so I loaded him up on my own, which was another big confidence booster for the Memorial Day Show. Knowing I could load him on my own made me very happy! I threw all my crap in the truck and headed home.
It had been a wonderful, but very long day. So how much did I have at this show? My trainer and her niece are going to go to the next one. I had so much fun that I talked my friend into going and so she is going to let me use her horse for the inhand class so I can show there again. That is how much fun I had! I did pay for getting so dehydrated. I was sick that night and all of the following day. It was worth it though. And now I know to bring food!