The show didn't start until 9:30 and our first ride time wasn't until quarter of 11. Ellie unloaded off the trailer slightly up because they were moving around haying equipment to go off to the fields. She couldn't see what was making the racket and she was slightly on edge. I had given myself plenty of time (probably too much time), so instead of immediately tying her to the trailer and dealing with her being a nuisance, we headed down to the indoor to just walk around. This did the trick for her, as she immediately quieted down and realized where she was. She's super calm at lessons, so a leisurely walk around in the cool, shady indoor reset her brain. Plus, she likes to look at herself in the indoor's mirrors haha.
I am thankful she is past the need for lunging now, but I am still aware that she needs time and patience. Every time we go off farm, I want her to have a good experience and work quietly through any nervousness. Laying that foundation now will give me a totally laid back horse in the future, I hope! By the time we came back out of the indoor, the haying equipment and big trucks had left the small barnyard area where trailers were parked and she was quite happy to stand at the trailer and eat hay. I somehow lucked out into parking exactly where the one shade tree is in the driveway, so we did not have to stand in the hot sun all morning.
I decided to start our warm up in the indoor, since it was empty and I wasn't quite ready to be in the intense sun just yet haha. We have had such a weird spring that I am not acclimated to the heat, especially wearing show clothes! There is a small warm up area near the competition ring, so I figured a short warm up in the indoor would be a good start, and then we could mosey over to the actual warm up area when we were ready.
Our warm up was perfect. She was soft and willing to accept contact and just felt lovely. It was one of those rides that had we been at home I would have either introduced a new concept to work on or just gotten off because she was THAT good. I swear, she loves that indoor haha. I worried we would leave our best work in the warm up, so I practiced a few halts and centerlines after warming up and figured I might as well stop while I was ahead. We took our time getting to the actual outdoor warm up area, and I still had plenty of time to get some decent trot circles out there before we went in for Intro B. So far, she has not been the type of horse to act differently between the warm up and the actual show ring, which is nice.
I felt as though we had nailed the test and I was happy to see all 7s and 8s with a 6.5 on our medium walk (comment: tight in topline) and right trot circle (comment: tempo gets a little quick). We had all 7s on collective marks except impulsion (6.5 with steady tempo underlined and the comment "little quick at times") for a total score of 70%! Judge's final comment was Beautiful horse! Could be a little steadier in trot tempo, gets a bit quick sometimes. Good luck! However, I did not see scores until after we were done, so I did not know this yet. I was pretty excited to see our first 70% though!
|posing with our Intro B ribbon while waiting for Intro C to be scored|
|she rocked her first 70% and I rocked some serious helmet hair haha|
I headed over to my trailer for a brief break in the shade. Ellie was happy to stand and I had a drink of water. She still won't drink away from home (though she drank half her tub when I turned her out later on...oh mare), so I am hoping she will overcome this. And this is even with my lugging along her own water from home, so it is not like she is refusing strange water.
I could not be any happier with Ellie's willingness to do what I ask of her. We have a lot of things to work on, but I think we have some solid basics right now. She's happy and willing in her work, even when I am asking her to do things that she is learning for the first time. As I picked up my tests and ribbons from the scorer (my instructor Beth haha), we chatted about how the rides went. Of course, the biggest thing is to get that right lead fixed, but she also said she is going to have me do Training 1 at our next lesson. I guess I better learn that this week haha. Everything else is in place to try Training level this year, so maybe we will be doing that later in July instead of in the fall as I had first figured. There really isn't much glory staying at Intro level and winning all the things (though it has been quite fun to be undefeated with eight blue ribbons at her first four dressage shows haha), so we might as well give it a try!