This past weekend was a huge milestone for many reasons. I competed in Dover-Foxcroft, ME in a two day USDF dressage show, doing both Training 2 and Training 4 each day.
Friday night we got a call that hay was going to be ready the following day. UH OH! This summer's weather has been SO SO SO rainy here in Maine that it was absolutely foolish for me to NOT get hay. But that posed a problem....how was I going to get hay AND show??
Well, my husband stayed home to do hay (he is a good guy about horses some of the time!) and I went to the show. That meant that I had to truck my horse ALONE. Now, this is not a big deal, because I have trucked her numerous times to my instructor's farm (20 minutes), the local show grounds (30 minutes), and the track (Scarborough Downs) to marshal (1 hour). Well......this was a little different. Getting to Isaac Royal Farm takes 3.5 hours and is 160 miles one way.......and 93 miles of it is on Interstate 95, the major highway in Maine.
I am either foolish or brave....perhaps a mix of both. I am one of those people that just jumps in head first and figures it out as I go. The first time I ever trailered alone was all the way to Scarborough Downs. So it was a huge milestone for me to truck her alone, all that way. AND not only that, but I stayed overnight in my trailer on Saturday! It was crazy, but I survived! LOL!
And funny thing is, instead of being nervous, I was VERY relaxed. Instead of eating Pepto Bismol for breakfast, I actually enjoyed doing my own thing. I was in control of everything. I did not have to worry about a crabby husband, a fussy child, nothing! I was able to completely focus on ME and my HORSE. I did not have to take care of my horse AND my child. In the past, my husband has been good at shows.....I tell him "I am in charge of the horse, you are in charge of the kid." But this year, he has been really resentful of everything "horse" and horse shows have SUCKED for me. So to be able to relax, enjoy my weekend, and not have to WORRY about everyone ELSE was wonderful!!!!
I left on Saturday morning at 8AM. I made a quick stop at Hannaford's to pick up food for myself for the weekend, seeing as I did not have time beforehand. We were on the road soon afterward, and hit minimal traffic. I arrived at IR about 11:45, with my first ride time at 2:20. I got my stall set up, took Dreamy for a walk and signed in, and just relaxed and got everything ready.
We had a pretty bad warm up. :( I was relaxed, but Dreamy was very upset by another horse. A woman on a Friesian kept literally running into us. Now, I am sure she was nervous and all, but the warm up was HUGE. And there were only THREE of us in there! GRRRR.....there was a YR down doing a 20 m. circle say at A. Then this stupid Friesian woman was making a 20 m. circle right in the middle, between let's say E and B. So, I decided to do our canter way down at C. There was PLENTY of room for all of us to warm up and never even get near one another. B
BUT NO.....this woman kept running right into us! SO Dreamy was like "WTF!!!!" She kept jumping sideways and everything. Did not help that the rider had a long whip and Dreamy is still worried about whips. Finally, I just got the hell out of the way, and joined the YR at A. I was pretty pissed. The woman was rather ignorant of ring etiquette, which is my PET PEEVE!
So, Dreamy was all tense about cantering and kept bucking every time I asked for her right lead. GREAT. SO I just kept it conservative and figured we would do our best.
She was not as nervous once I walked her around and when we started our test. She knew it was show time and got down to business. But she was still tense, which never is a good thing. Our first test was Training 2 and we ended up with a 57.142%, with a second place out of three riders. Judge's comment was "lovely pair." We ended up with all 6s and 7s, with 4s and 5s on the canters. Our first canter to the left, which is our better lead, almost ended in a face plant. LOL! She picked it up and stumbled HUGE! I was like AHHHH!!!!! I am going to fall right here in front of all these people! LOL! She broke to the trot for about one stride, then picked the canter back up and the rest of the circle was quite lovely! LOL! The test was in the small ring, which was OK, but I REALLY rather ride in the large ring.
I thought the judge, Robin Brueckmann, was very fair. She is an "S" (which means senior) judge from NC. She had to judge the entire show from 8AM to 6PM each day, which was a huge task! She did not give many comments, but instead kept the show running right on time. I have to hand it to her....that was a tough job and she earned her money!
We had just about 25 minutes before Training 4., They made the ring larger and dragged it, which was nice. I just walked Dreamy around in the shade and chilled out. She continued to relax and I looked at my T4 test to memorize it once more. We did a little more trot work to get ready to go in. This test went MUCH BETTER than T2. We got ALL sevens, with 4s on our right lead and 5s on our left lead. I was pleased with the ride, and we got 7s on BOTH CANTER TRANSITIONS! YAY Mare! That is HUGE for us! We ended up getting 7s on the canter departs for the rest of the show, and while the actual canter circles were no higher than 5s, I was still very happy. Baby steps!! :)
We ended up with a 60.400% on Training 4!!! WOO HOOO! That is our first USDF qualifying score this year! A huge milestone! I never thought we would actually break 60% on Training 4 this year at all, but I was so pleased that we did! The judge wrote "Pleasant, agreeable horse. Enjoy!" on our test this time. We placed 2nd out of three riders and I could NOT stop grinning. I was sure I would cry, but I didn't. I was just SO HAPPY and in shock really! LOL!
We went back to her stall and untacked. I was able to hose her off, which was nice. It was hot, but with a breeze, and she got pretty sweaty. Her stall was on the end of a shed row at the base of a HUGE pasture. We had to go up the hill in the other direction to get to the show field. IR is an older but very pretty farm. So by the time Dreamy was all cooled down and relaxing in her stall, it was 4:30 PM. I was wiped out, seeing as I had been getting to bed around midnight for the past two weeks and up by 5AM. So I decided to set up my cot in the trailer and take a nap. I set my alarm for 5:30PM.
I am glad I napped, because I felt so much better. I grained and hayed Dreamy and she just chilled in her stall. I wrapped her legs for the night, had some dinner, and was able to use the farm's "barn shower" up at the house. It was SO NICE of them to allow me to use it, seeing as I was literally "roughing it" in my trailer. The owners of IR are super nice folks and I hope to be able to show there again next year. I am going up again at the end of the month too.
Overnight it poured, but I slept warmly and soundly. I awoke at 4:30 AM to the sound of rain pelting the roof of my horse trailer, which was just a few feet from my head. LOL! I put my cot up in the goose neck to avoid rain and cold. It is a stock trailer and I take out the sides to give Dreamy lots of air for her COPD when I truck her. I woke up at 6AM to hay, water, and grain Dreamy, plus pick out her stall. It was funny, because there were eight other horses in the she row, all staring and whinnying at me to feed them too. Of course, I did not, seeing as I did not know the horses or have permission to feed them. It is funny, in the past I may have thrown them all hay, because there were bales close to each stall, but after dealing with a horse like Dreamy that can ONLY get soaked hay, I did not want to take the chance. Even though it seems "nice", sometimes feeding a horse the wrong thing can have terrible consequences. I decided to go back to sleep seeing as I did not ride Sunday until 1:36. LOL! So I slept until 8:45AM and woke up feeling pretty good and rested. I am a pretty sound sleeper, because other riders were all around, getting tacked up and all, and I slept through everything.
I took Dreamy for a long hour walk up to the show field. We hung out, watched some rides, and she got to graze for a while. We went back to the trailer so I could have lunch and then get ready for our tests. Again I did T2 first, and about 25 mins. later did T4. This time, I opted to warm up in the large grass field right next to the sand warm up ring. The Frisian lady was there again and I could just NOT deal with her ruining our warm up. We walked around to get loosened up for a while, and then I got some superb trot work. She was happy and forward, really stretching down to the bit. I was so impressed. Our canter work was also excellent, with both leads and good slow rhythm. I could tell she was tired though, so I limited our warm up, as fun as it was, so that she would have energy enough for the tests.
Training 2 was MUCH better this time. This was again all 7s with 5s on the left lead and 4s on the right. BUt 7s again on each canter transition! :) We scored a 60.00% and a first place out of three riders! YAY! We got another "pleasant agreeable horse" from the judge. I wonder if this is her standard remarks on each test. LOL!
I am so pleased that her trot work is becoming so good. Until our canter can be above 5, it helps to have good solid trot and walk work to offset those 4s. UGGG. But soon I am sure those 4s will become 6s and 7s. It just takes TIME. :)
I let Dreamy walk around and stay warmed up before T4. We stood in the shade as well. I knew she was tired, but I also wanted to keep her moving. We ended up having a decent test, but by the end she got unsteady in her trot. She coughed all the way up our last trot change of rein, which made her bobble at bit. It was really dusty in the ring, so I knew it was bothering her. And our stretchy trot is still a 5. :( I need serious help with that. And she bobbled up the center line at the end for a 5, because I think she was just tired. Oh well. We scored a 56.400% and another second place out of three riders, so I was happy. This time the comment was "willing horse, lovely pair."
So overall, I was very pleased with our weekend. To go to a show so far away alone, stay overnight, and even break 60% on Training 2 AND 4.......I am very very happy! :) Our ride home was uneventful, except I missed the turn from Route 7 to Route 15, but realized it quickly. LOL! That would have been interesting......but I got turned around and headed home. I unloaded her here at the farm at 7PM.....she got turned out for a while because I had to greet the family and put the little one to bed. Then I went out and took care of Dreamy, unloaded the trailer, and was inside in bed by 9PM. WHEW! Long weekend, but so worth it!