When we got to the show we were the 4th trailer there. Really…that was it! Tryingtoride had beaten us there and another woman in our class was also getting ready. I went to check in and sure enough people had scratched that I knew I would be getting a ribbon, which of course put me right at ease 😛 They asked if I would be willing to ride early so I high tailed it back to the trailer and finished tacking up. The footing in the warm up ring was sloppy and scary. I did a lot of moving her shoulder, haunches and neck around at the walk just trying to get her flexible before I even tried to trot on it. One half of the warm up was much better than the other so we stayed to the better part and really worked on getting her to listen. She was a little tight and not that responsive to my leg, but not bad at all. In fact, I was pretty excited to ride my test because I thought we were going to do pretty well. The show ring was above the warm up so I let Lucky have a loose rein on the walk up.
She was very looky, which isn’t like her, but I trust her so I let her be. We watched the last little bit of tryingtorides beautiful test and headed in the ring to do out test. As soon as I went to pick my reins back up Lucky totally stiffened up. She put her face in the air like a giraffe and her whole body went tight. I didn’t think much of it at first and instead set about mover her shoulders and trying to do shallow loops to get her to pay attention to me again. It wasn’t until we reached the other side of the ring (by A since we entered by the judge) that I thought “oh shit, my horse isn’t listening to me right now. The whistle hand’t been blown yet so I knew I had more than 45 seconds to fix the problem so I tried to do everything I could think of get my horse back. From counter flexing her to leg yielding I used my long side as best as I could when the whistle went off. I halted and did a turn on the haunches since to try and combat her going on her forehand with her head up in the air without much success. As we went back towards A she started to stare off again and shake her head, which is not normal Lucky behavior. She wanted to stop and look at something.
This is my fault. When we school at home if she is concerned about something I let her stop or she can go over and touch it (if possible). She is not a very looky horse normally and when I first started with her she would scoot when turned away from something that worried her, but if I just let her look she would just stand like a champ and relax as soon as she figured out what it was. I knew I only had about 30 seconds left to get in the ring, and I could tell from the way her eyes were bugging out of her head this was going to be more than a 30 second look, so I made her go forward. She was beside herself with concern as we went in to the ring. I did manage to keep her at the trot as we went up the centerline, but barely. The thing I love about dressage is that the movement scores are totally separate. Even though out centerline sucked, it didn’t mean a bad score as long as we kept it together for the rest of the ride.
To be continued…