Horse Shows

Sport of Horses Dressage Show

I’ve been working on this post for FIVE DAYS NOW. Thanks, work. Better late than never though, right?

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What being in non-profit feels like (especially during grant season)

Saturday morning came way too fast. My ride times didn’t start until 2:13, but BO was going at 10 so we had to leave the barn by 7:15. SO EARLY.

We got to the venue at 9 AM, unloaded, and checked in. And that’s when it started.

P is a solid citizen at shows. In a stall or at the trailer, just give him hay and he’s good to go. But we’re always alone…this time we had with us none other than the object of his intense bromance, Sandero.

I only have one tie ring on each side of my trailer so Sandero had to go on the opposite side. And P lost his ever loving mind.

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Creeping on Sandero through the trailer windows. That was all grass when we arrived.
Pilgrim
Now it’s a mixture of poop (5+ times) and pee (2+ times) stirred up via much pawing and stomping. Pretty sure we’ll never be allowed back.

But it had to happen sometime, since I would like to continue showing with friends. So while my horse flailed around like a crazed maniac loose from the looney bin, BO poured me a healthy sized glass of wine, no matter that it was 10:30 AM. BO is a great show partner.

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Then the super nice show management team took pity on me and cut the judge’s break short so I could get my 1st ride in two hours early. And then weaved me in a few rides later. It was my first time riding in front of an “S” judge, and I was pre-warned that she was a seriously tough cookie. Only one rider out of over 25 had scored in the 60’s with a 62%. No pressure.

got-my-fingers-crossed

Despite P’s intense psychotic-ness at the trailer and the beginning of our warmup, he settled down for the most part after a few minutes in warmup. Since I was the first to go after the break, the venue’s owner told me when I rode by the judge to let her know I was going out of order and was doing Novice A. So I head over there on P…both car windows are up, with both the judge and the scribe just staring at me. I halted for a second, unsure of what to do, and the judge BLEW HER HORN IN OUR FACES. Like, we were literally less than 2 ft in front of her. And it wasn’t a polite little honk, either. Thankfully P just stood there and didn’t even flinch. But she had no way of knowing how he’d react, so I thought that was incredibly rude. But I turned around and we headed down CL. If she didn’t have the right test, probably all the better anyway.

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I guess he’s sorta bombproof.

Surprisingly, we actually put in a decent test, save for the right lead canter circle in the first test where I panicked as we got super close to B and he was kinda like, “Naaahh.” And then another panicky moment at the end of the circle when we were fast approaching F and P was all “FREEEEDOMMMM” instead of coming down to the trot. But it was our first time doing Novice A, which was a nice break from the BN tests, and I was just happy he was as rideable as he was (re: no longer the lunatic he had been shortly before).

I finally took the time to add in the scores/comments for each movement. That took forever so you’re welcome for the effort.

Final score: 35 (or 65%)

Then we waited for a few more riders to go, and they let me go again. My original plan, and the reason for doing Novice A twice, was to ride, get my scoresheet and see the comments, then do it again while trying to fix the issues from the original test. It was a great plan, but since they were fitting me in before my ride times, it didn’t happen like that.

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P wasn’t thrilled to be going back in- I could practically feel the disdain radiating off of him when I started the customary circle around the dressage arena. This time he gave me some issues in both canters, his free walk was non-existent (seriously…aimed him across the diagonal at K and felt him immediately suck back), but that halt…woot! It exists! I’ve been trying to unlock that baby for awhile.

Final score: 37 (or 63%)

I’m glad I went- it was low cost and a relaxed atmosphere, and the venue management was incredibly friendly. While better scores would’ve been nicer, I didn’t go for the scores, but solely to make it through a test while feeling I somewhat RODE my horse instead of sat there only thinking about the next movement. I left feeling like I did that somewhat in the first test…then the second test I had a brain freeze at the 2nd trot circle and never got fully out of my head after that.

All that means is more practice is needed. I would love to be able to get to some with Trainer J to really maximize our warmup and have her be able to see us in competition, because in lessons I’m much more relaxed and it shows in P. After going to that show with Trainer B last year, I’ve seen the light and how helpful it is to have a trainer with you. Not that I won’t go without one #adultammyproblems but I’m making it a goal to make it to at least one with Trainer J.

And here are some cherry picked screen shots in case you don’t want to watch paint dry, aka, a lower-level dressage test.

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28 thoughts on “Sport of Horses Dressage Show”

  1. How dare work get in the way of the telling of this tale? LOL. OH P in love with another horse. That is funny but at least he behaved under saddle (mostly) AND wtf with that judge. I would have been so annoyed I HATE HORNS no matter if I am riding or not. So rude…..

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    1. The funniest part is that Sandero was on the other side of the trailer like, “Meh.” When BO took him away for her tests, P is screaming and dancing and Sandero never even looked back. When I took P away for our tests, Sandero didn’t even notice. So it’s a pretty one-sided love

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  2. Wow. Just honk the horn I guess? Geez. Amber wouldn’t have jumped but damn I would’ve! And then she probably would have. Probably would have worked me up for a whole test too. Ugh. Well, at least both tests were close to each other so consistent? haha looking for the silver lining! I think you guys did well (I did watch the videos and he’s looking good :D).

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  3. Definitely sounds like a good idea, and kinda why I like Hunter Shows for the ability to just keep going back in and working on things (though no score sheets which kinda sucks but I usually know why I placed the way I did .. oh like eating up distances or spooking at an object lol)

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  4. I can see the judge sitting in the car going “why is she stopping? Ride on. I see you. Fine. Don’t move. I’ll just honk.” Shitty tho. It could have completely ruined the ride or gotten you hurt if P was prone to spooking.

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    1. I was just following directions! And it’s pretty normal to stop at the judge’s booth (or car or whatever) to give them your number. Just sorta weird all around

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  5. Oh man!!! I’ve seen judges like that at shows and you just want to be like THIS IS A SCHOOLING SHOW WTF?!?!?! I get that she’s an S judge but that doesn’t give you an excuse to be rude. We have an S judge in the area who nails you in your dressage test (she doesn’t give away points) but is the best person to ride for, especially at the local schooling shows. She treats everything as a learning opportunity instead of a power trip and I really respect her for that especially when you hear about judges that honk horns in your face!

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    1. What judge? I’m just now starting to pay attention to who is scoring our tests 🤦‍♀️ I’m good with tough scores, just please wait until I’m a few more feet away before sounding a loud noise at us 😭

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  6. WTF with her honking at you? Like, you’re standing there for a reason. The judges in cars thing is super weird for me. We see it in the northwest all the time and I’m just like “if its raining, how do you see me???” Glad you and P had a successful outing!!

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  7. That sounds like a great day for getting out and laying down some practice tests! I keep trying to go to schooling shows myself but Charlie seems to have other plans all the time. Le sigh.

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  8. I often feel like showing is a whole ‘nother ball game and the only way to get better is to GO SHOW. I mean, obviously you can practice the required skills at home, but once you’re ready for a certain level… you just need the time in the ring!

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