Showing posts with label Showing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Showing. Show all posts

Monday, November 16, 2015

Indy's First Show

I'd like to say that I just love showing, but the fact is that I NEED to show. In the sandbox in front of a judge is where I'm happiest, where I'm the most confident, and where I seem to learn the most. I don't know why, maybe it's because I've shown in one form or another since I could sit on a horse by myself. Maybe I just like to try and show off. For whatever reason, a show is my happy place.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but she seriously seems to love her bonnet.

When my trainer told me that a schooling show was coming up at our barn I decided that we should sign up even though I didn't feel that Indy and I were quite ready for it (my idea of being ready is being confident that we can score a 65% or higher). However, it was the best possible experience I could give her for a first show. I'd rather bring the "scary stuff" to her than take her to it in a completely new environment for her first outing. To feel like I wasn't completely taking advantage of the situation and making it too easy on us, I did only ride her twice in the arena we would be showing in beforehand. It can take dozens of rides for Indy to get over things she doesn't like, so I thought that was reasonable.

The beginning of the week before the show had been rough. I had a left for Kentucky and came back with the flu, so Indy had about ten days off after having a lesson where she was a raging cow. Not good. To top it off, I only had six more days to get ready for the show.

From awhile ago, laughing at her shenanigans.

Fortunately, I have an awesome trainer that is very good at giving me confidence when I need it (I'm not scared of my horse, just of sucking). We had two pretty decent lessons on Tuesday and Thursday which left me feeling like I could at least make it through the tests. I prepared myself to get scores in the 40s because Indy is Indy and decided that was okay as long as she wasn't a complete psycho.

Then I came out the day before the show and Indy's leg looked like this:

Of course it did, because Indy.

She didn't react when I pushed on it and seemed to be walking sound. I didn't have anyone there to jog her for me and didn't want her tearing around on the lunge if it was something serious, so I hopped on to see what she felt like. She wasn't sore. I decided to ice her and just wait to see what it looked like in the morning figuring I should probably scratch just to be safe. 

It was almost back to normal the next day. I decided that I might as well at least warmup and if my trainer said that she didn't look right then I would scratch. I lunged her more than I wanted to, but she was just a little too fresh. This show was all about keeping her calm and relaxed. She worked on the lunge until the kink in her tail was mostly gone and she was listening well enough to do lots of transitions, about twenty minutes, and headed for the warmup. *Note: she was sound lungeing.

Miss Lumpy

More than anything, I was worried about the warmup. Indy can get a pretty amped with just one or two horses working in the arena with her, I didn't know how she would react to the increase in traffic.

She was so good! Which is a good thing since the warmup at a schooling show, especially this one, can be quite unsettling. In the words of the ring steward, the warmup was "about like trying to herd cats". Poor lady. 

Indy stood quietly when I wanted her to. She looked at some things, but never did anything bad. When the psycho rider on a really short Appaloosa (Indy finds little horses quite intimidating) come barreling towards us head on, we didn't have the room or time to get out of the way. Indy jumped sideways and spun to avoid having a head on. Honestly, I froze and she saved our asses then settled down like nothing had happened. After that, she was just a bit hesitant to get too close to horses. No big deal, I didn't blame her.

She's a little distracted, but I was just happy that she managed to control herself and her head didn't end up in my face at any point coming down the centerline or in the halt.

Our first class was Intro C. Indy was looking at some things and ducked just a bit a couple of times, all green horse stuff that was expected. I was mostly just wanting her to stay calm and she did that. She was a bit of a witch for the canter work, tossing her head to evade the contact some. That was also expected. Other than that, the bad parts of the test were my fault. I was only aiming to get around there with no serious mishaps and didn't ride for the quality that I should have. We scored a 59.7, which was probably on the generous side. I figured it was a lot better than the 40 I was expecting and was happy with the experience gained.

Posing after her first dressage test ever.

Our second test was Training 1. This one started off a lot better. Indy was more focused and I was riding better. Until I was coming out of our canter circle and some other guy was standing his horse right at F talking and making hand gestures. It distracted me, it distracted Indy, and she broke into a trot. I looked straight at him and loudly said "Damn it!" which the judge didn't hear, or at least pretended not to, fortunately. She gave me an error and I got to do the movement over again. The rest of the test went well, the canter work was a bit better, and the trot work was pretty good. We scored a 60.8 and I was happy with that.

On my way out of the arena, a lady decided to stand literally right next to A, waiting to go in, so that we had to walk within a foot of her to get out. I told her that Indy might overreact to her being that close, but she didn't try and move until I was right next to her. Indy jumped sideways and hit the flowers boxes at the entrance then jumped forward. I just ignored the lady, accepting that the world has apparently gone stupid. 

My trainer was warming up on another horse and said "You would have thought she could have at least let you out of the arena!". I readily agreed and then proceeded to ask her what kind of fucking idiot (meaning the guy) stands their horse right next to the arena while they are talking during someone's test? She said that stuff wouldn't happen at a recognized show and I agreed again.

The fact is schooling shows are meant for green horses and inexperienced riders. Some of the other riders were excessively stupid that day (I learned that men are the absolute worst in the warmup), but all of the craziness was really good for Indy. I couldn't be happier or more proud of how well she handled everything. This is a horse that will still spook at her own shadow (she literally did that the day before the show), the dressage letters, the mounting block, short horses, etc. etc., if she isn't in the right mindset on any given day. Her behavior was extremely good for where we are at right now.

Most importantly, she seemed to enjoy the experience, approaching all of the activity with the curiosity that I love so much in young horses. It was possibly her inner diva enjoying all of the attention she was getting in her bling bonnet too, which is fine with me. Good horses like to go out there and perform. I think that Indy will be like that. For now, we'll just keep chugging along and working more on submission.

Good girl!

My trainer said that maybe Indy likes to be a show horse. Please, let that be true because finding things that Indy likes isn't the easiest thing to do. So, our first show wasn't exactly a record setting performance. That's okay. It's a good baseline to work from.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Win, Lose, or Draw Part II

I had a whole, detailed post almost finished when the battery on my iPad died and I lost it all. I don't have much time to retype the whole thing, so here's a list of key points of the show, which is probably a lot less boring anyway. You're welcome.


Braided Buster, which he thought was a really stupid idea.

Saddled Buster.

Went to grab something out of my truck and locked the keys in, along with my white breeches. 

Cussed. A lot.

Tried not to have a panic attack while one of JL's owners and a couple of people got the door unlocked.

The courtyard of the barn that we were in.

Thanked them about a million times and went to get dressed.

Cussed Ariat for making a shirt that is damn near impossible to button and then proceeded to cuss the dry cleaners for making it even more impossible to button with excessive amounts of starch.

Tried not to get too giddy when I put my new show coat on (yes, I'm a nerd).

To show how big he is, I'm 5'11". And my new coat. It needs taken in a bit in the waist.

Got on and went for a quick warm-up, which went pretty well.

Went into the arena feeling fairly confident.

Judge rang the bell, I went down centerline, saluted, and then everything went to shit.

Okay, I'll stop with the list there. This needs a little more detailed explanation. Basically, Buster started pulling, I pulled back, and everything just kept getting uglier. My right hand was so cramped up by the middle of the test that I had to find a way to pry my fingers open and then push them back shut to shorten my reins (yes, that was very awkward). He pulled so hard that I almost took a cross and stood up out of pure instinct from galloping the horses at the track. I had never been so happy to be finished with a test in my entire life!

The salute of shame

I was so mad at myself after the test. I did everything that I was taught not to do. It wasn't Buster's fault. Yes, he tested me a little, but I responded in all of the wrong ways. If I had made one good correction he would have quit. I didn't.

Carrying a bad pilot

I rode Buster back to the barn, got off, and cried. I don't cry after bad tests and usually just laugh it off. It wasn't that I knew the score would be low or that a I was embarrassed, just completely disappointed in myself. Knowing that I could do better and that I might not get that opportunity was very frustrating. When I lost Beefheart, I lost my ride times in the show. The show manager was kind enough to take my late entry on Buster, but he could only get me in for one ride on Saturday. The only hope I had for getting to ride in another class was if someone scratched. I REALLY wanted another opportunity.

Because leaning back and pulling is always a good idea.

We scored a 59.4, which I thought was generous, and finished second to last. That part wasn't a big deal, it happens. If I had thought that was our best, then I would have been okay with not getting another ride.


I got lucky and someone scratched on Sunday.

Our warm up was going okay, but not great. MB gave me a couple of tips on transitions and that helped. Then JL walked in, told me one thing, and everything came together pretty well. The ring steward and TD even asked JL what he said to me because my riding did a complete one-eighty. He replied that he just walked in and waved his magic wand. Yeah, pretty much.

Whoever came up with the idea for white breeches is a jack ass! My thighs look huge!

This test went a lot better. I rode the test sitting, which helped quite a bit. Our transitions were better, everything was more consistent, and the whole test was a lot more fluid. Sitting back and (trying) to ride Buster through was almost as exhausting as him pulling on me the whole time, but it was a fulfilling and satisfifying exhaustion.

Such a good boy!

We ended up scoring a 67.9 and were first. Of course, I was the only one in the class so it probably doesn't really count. It was still a win to me though.

So, what were the magic words that JL said to me? All he said was to bump Buster when he started pulling down on me. It wasn't so much what he said, but that it reminded me not to just be passive. I remembered to sit back and ride, to expect more. That one little tip changed my whole mentality. I guess that's what good trainers do.

*I have to mention that Buster is fantastic! He moves nice and doesn't ride like a big horse at all (except for when I ride like an idiot). He is a complete gentleman and totally safe, no spooking at all and that arena is pretty scary for horses. I learned a lot from the big guy this weekend! Being able to show him was a wonderful privilege!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Win, lose, or draw

The last week and a half was insane and hectic, and that was before having to put Beefheart down. The fiancé was at Zia Park in Hobbs, NM and I was taking care of all of the horses in Albuquerque by myself. I had to run three horses while he was gone, two of which were in back to back and I had to get them ready by myself. I had to run one the day after everything with Beefs happened. Two days after that, I had to make the five hour drive to Hobbs (for the third time in three weeks) with the fiancé's aunt and our jockey for a stakes race. That filly didn't run well. I was beyond exhausted, pretty much ready to collapse and just wanted to get to the hotel and crash. Then I found out that our rider needed to get back to Albuquerque that night. No one had mentioned this to me before. I was done, literally could not have driven another five hours. Couldn't take anymore. I told the fiancé that he could drive them back, I would pack everything in Hobbs and bring the horses back the next day, but I absolutely 100% refused to be in the truck for another five hours. I was pissed. Then I cried. It was the last straw, too much for me to handle, and I just broke down. I rarely say no and I'm even worse at standing up for myself, but I got pushed well beyond my limit.

One of the horses did run well while the fiancé was gone. Click HERE to watch the replay of Sandy's race (Race 8 ALW at Albuquerque). I'm not in the win picture because I was back at the barn getting the next horse ready to run.

It ended up that the fiancé and I stayed and our rider and Ty's aunt went back. The jockey, my friend, seemed pretty pissed at me and I don't really blame him. He wasn't there that week and there was no way he could have known the mental and physical toll that it had taken on me. I'm sure I came across as some spoiled witch throwing a hissy fit. The fiancé's aunt seemed more understanding, but I felt like a complete asshole for not being the one to take her back to Albuquerque.

Anyway, that was supposed to just be short. Oops.

I miss him so much!

I had entered the recognized show this weekend with Beefs. It would have been our first recognized show together and I had really been looking forward to it. Obviously, the show became the least of my worries when Beefheart coliced, but it added to the heartache of losing him.

MB and JL know how much I love to show, how it keeps me focused. MB offered me her horse to ride since she wasn't able to show due to running the 'L' judging program during it. 

I had planned on going to the show just to help everyone else. I didn't even know if I could make it through one. However, I needed to get back to riding so that I didn't shut down. The longer I waited, the harder it would get. The show gave me something else to focus on, a goal.

So, meet Volunteeer aka Buster:

What the hell is going on with my equitation?!

He is an almost 18 hand Hannoverian and the sweetest thing in the world. He is safe, talented, and kind. I rode him for the first time early last week and got along with him fairly well so MB and I decided that Buster could handle a show together. I only got one other ride on him at the farm and a walk (with a tiny bit of trotting) at the show grounds the day before the show. Buster is such a good boy, he didn't need the living piss ridden out of him on warm-up day. So, There weren't many opportunities for Buster and I to get to know each other. This was pretty obvious in our class the first day.

To be continued....

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sucking It Up Show

Make sure to check out L's 1,000th post giveaway over at Viva Carlos

I took Beefs to another show on Saturday. You know those mornings before your show and things just seem to be a bit off? Nothing runs smoothly? Yeah, I was having one of those mornings. Nothing went seriously wrong, but everything just felt not quite right. I have a bad ear infection, it hurt like hell, and I was tired and grumpy. Not the best way to start a show day.

got to the show about half an hour later than I wanted to, which I figured wasn't a big deal because Beefheart really only needs about a twenty minute warm up. More than anything, he needs a few minutes to settle down from being hauled since it always seems to get him amped up. I threw Beefs in his stall with a flake of hay to eat for a couple of minutes while I unloaded my things from the trailer. MB was a life saver and parked the pick up and trailer for me and then came back to help me finish tacking up (she's the best).

I climbed on Beefs and go "Ooohhhh, you have a hump in your back!" as we started to walk off to the arena. At this point I was questioning my 'we only need a twenty minute warm up' theory. When we got to the warm up arena he was a little tense, unfocused, and looking at everything. He relaxed fairly quick, but had a ton of energy. What I liked was that the energy translated into his movement and not into bad behavior. JL came to warm us up and it went fairly well. It's always nice to have your trainer there trying to keep you from riding like a dumb ass!

Our first test was training level test 3 and it started out fairly smooth. Then I asked for the right lead canter and Beefs picked up the left. I asked again. Left lead. I asked again. Left lead. We got it on the fourth try. What the hell?!!! I may be far from a Grand Prix rider, but I've also ridden my entire life. I don't miss leads. Like ever. Especially not at shows. Especially not on a horse that isn't super green. It wasn't Beefs fault, it was mine. I totally threw him off balance. I asked in all the wrong ways. The rest of the test went fairly well, other than Beefheart letting out one of his girly whinnies every thirty seconds, but I was pretty much screwed after that. 

Missing the lead messed up my score on two movements and hurt some of our collective marks. We ended up getting a 62.3 and third place out of five. The winner scored a 65 something, so at least we didn't just flat out get our asses handed to us. I was still pretty pissed at myself though.

Our first level test 1 was a little better. Beefheart only whinnied a couple of times and the test went pretty smooth with the exception that he picked up the right lead when I asked for the left. At least we got it on the second try this time. His trot lengthenings were far from spectacular, but that's normal. His canter lengthenings seemed pretty good, so I guess at least he can do some form of a lengthening decently. There was a lot wrong, but there were also a lot of good parts.

We ended up with a 62.something and won the class out of two people. This judge was pretty tough and highest score at first was a 64 (I think we had the second highest score out of all of the first level classes). I'm not going to complain. I don't mind a tough judge as long as they are consistently tough and this one was. MB picked my test up for me since the show office was taking forever to get the scores out. I'm looking forward to reading the comments. Maybe.

Like JL told me; if you're above a 60%, it wasn't bad. I think he's right.

The good part about this show is that I learned that even if Beefheart is fresh and energetic, he can still function. In fact, he moves and performs better in a lot of ways. He's not going to kill me. I was very proud of him. 

They say the good dressage horses are a little hot. I agree. The dull horses just don't have the expression that the hot horses do. Beefs isn't a naturally big moving horse. We need all of the help that we can get in that department. 

The fact that I missed some leads frazzled me a bit. I'm hoping that it was just from my balance being off due to the ear infection. Or that I was just having an EXTREMELY off day. We'll see. We have another schooling show next weekend and then a recognized show the weekend after that. Basically, I have just under two weeks to get myself together.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Riding, showing, surviving

I haven't gotten much accomplished on getting posts up lately. I've been insanely busy still and no matter how much I intend to get one done, sleep inevitibaly becomes a priority. I spend my mornings at the track, my afternoons with the dressage horses, and my evenings back at the track. Any spare hour here and there is spent grabbing a quick nap or taking care of daily chores that normal people do. I pretty much spend my time hurrying from one barn to the next. I'm not complaining, just explaining my absence as of late.

Indy is doing pretty well, there are good and bad days. JL, my trainer, is going to ride her tomorrow and I'm excited to see how she goes for him. I'm kind of assuming that an Olympic rider will be able to get a hell of a lot more out of her than I can.

Barstow decided to ding up her hind leg and had to have some time off. She got shod a few days ago and my shoer said she had a hot nail in the right front. She about dropped to the ground when he pulled it and then sat there chewing and licking her lips after it was off. I knew something was there, but it honestly felt like it was up in her shoulder more than in her foot, but it still makes sense. I'm glad to know that it isn't anything major or permanent. I rode her on Saturday and she was still a bit sore on the leg she beat up. We just walked and trotted a few steps to see how sore she actually was on it. She was really well behaved! Back to work for her tomorrow.

Gunner is just happy to be away from the track. He's kind of low man on the totem pole when it comes to getting ridden, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he doesn't mind much. At all.

I took Beefheart to another schooling show on Sunday. He hadn't been going well the last week and I wasn't all that excited about going. After the fiancé watched me ride Beefs on Friday, he said that he would come out and do some body work on him on Saturday. Beefs is starting to get a little body sore and stiff with working harder. I also need to get him back on the Mega-Sel, as that seemed to help him a lot.

While I rode Indy and Barstow, the fiancé spent about three hours massaging and red-lighting Beefs! The fiancé likes for me to do well too and he isn't going to send me to a show without my horse being as sound and happy as possible. So thankful for him! After he finished working on Beefs, I put Blue Lotion on the tight spots then the fiancé took him to the round pen to roll.

I was sitting there cleaning my tack when I heard my horse tearing ass around the pen. Apparently, he was feeling better. The fiancé caught him before Beefs could kill himself and took him back to his run. Next thing I know, Ty is yelling at me to hurry up and put my stuff away, we had to get back to the track because our other shoer was leaving in a half hour. Okay, what the hell does that have to do with anything? Beefs had pulled a front shoe and the fiancé was a little panicked. Not because of the shoe itself, but I think he was a little worried about how I would react if I couldn't show. He knows I'm exhausted and stressed to the max, that the shows are an outlet for me, and didn't want me to be disappointed (even if I was pretty sure that we weren't going to have a very good one this time). Hence, his change from always being the calm one to getting a bit nervous. MB, trainer's wife, was trying to tell him that JL could put the shoe back on and asked the fiancé if he had seen him. Apparently, he misunderstood and ended up telling her that he hadn't seen the one dog, but the other one had just been laying by the truck. Eventually, it all got figured out. My fiancé was my hero for fixing my horse, MB was my hero for getting everyone organized, and JL was my hero for fixing the shoe.  I'm very lucky to have so many people looking out for me!

Oh yeah, the show. Anyway, the morning of the show I got Beefs loaded and unloaded (he can be a real ass about those things) by myself. He was a bit more awake at this show and I had to deal with a combination of whinnying and trying to eat every weed in sight to get him tacked up, but I got it done. I can't tie him to the trailer because it is obviously going to kill him, even if it just transported him safely from point A to B, and he pulls back. So, getting him tacked up by myself  when we haul somewhere is always interesting. As I finished tacking, MB and JL pulled in with the horses MB was showing. Beefs wasn't being an idiot, but he was tense and whinnying quite a bit. I led him over to where JL and MB were parked to have them hold him while I got on.

*Sorry, no show pics. The fiancé had to take care of things at the track.

I don't do a lot of warm up with Beefs because he A) gets tired and lazy or B) gets hotter and more tense. Either way, a short basic warm up focusing on getting him engaging his hind end and coming through seems to work best. You know, quality over quantity type of thing. He was tense at first and things weren't looking good, then JL came over to coach us. You know you have a good trainer when the second he starts talking, you instantly relax and things start coming together.  The warm up went well and I was starting to feel more confident. *Also, Beefs felt way better, as far as soundness goes, than he had the last week. Thanks Fiancé!

The training 3 test was our first class. I'm pretty sure it was the best Beefs has gone for me. Ever. The only things I can fault us on was that he lost focus on me and was way too interested in the judges booth, we lost impulsion a couple of times, and our right lead canter transition sucked (our left was so good that I about fell off from pure shock). Other than that, I was extremely happy with the test! We scored a 73.8 (the highest I've ever scored on any horse, even the much more talented warmbloods that I've shown when I could actually ride a whole lot better than I do now)! We won the class. There was only me and one other person in the Open division though.

Lunch break was after our first ride, so I untacked Beefs, put him in a pen, and chilled for awhile. He happily relaxed and ate his hay. When I started to tack him back up he was all like "Oh, Hhhelllll nah heifer! I was good, I'm done! WTF?!!!". This is the first time that I've taken the tack off and put it back on in the same day. He's used to being untacked meaning finished for the day. Putting it back on and getting on again was confusing for him.

Needless to say our short warm up started off pretty shitacular. He was tense, stiff, and tired. The warm up arena was rocky and he was starting to feel a tiny bit stingy. Once again JL came over, talked my dumb ass through it, and things started to come together right before we went in for our 1-1 class.

Going in, I knew there were things we suck at (trot lengthenings specifically) and tried to focus on really going for it on the things we could do well. JL had told me to think about setting Beefs up for the movements correctly rather than the movements themselves and I really tried to do that. I didn't always succeed, but I tried. Maybe too hard. The test was pretty fluid, but Beefs had some moments of tension. He lost focus in the free walk, jigged in our medium walk, and must have forgotten how to do a stretchy trot somewhere along the way. Of course or trot lengthenings sucked. His canter lengthenings were pretty nice, our 15 m canter circle to the right was good, the one to the left was okay, and our canter/trot transition across the diagonal wasn't bad at all. I was kind of proud of myself in that I ignored our mistakes and didn't let them translate onto the next movement of the test. We scored a 68.79 and won the class. Oh yeah, I was the only one in the class. Whatever. The best part was that JL seemed much happier with this test than the one we rode last time and what he thinks is much more important to me than what the judge does.

Way too many 5s for my comfort...

                           I'm pretty sure that says tilting (as in Beefs was tilting his head) not titting. Apparently, collective marks can really save your ass.

MB said she thinks we probably won high point again. I had to leave right after my class because we had two horses running and she didn't get a chance to check, so who knows. I'll find out eventually. It doesn't really matter anyway, I had fun.

These last couple of shows have taught me a lot when it comes to riding, but also about myself in general. For some reason, I ride better at shows than I do at home usually. Necessity brings out my best/better maybe? I'm bolder at shows (occasionally, my  reckless "Screw it, I have nothing to lose. Just go for it" attitude can come in handy). Showing really does relax and focus me. I don't get nervous anymore, just content. Things usually seem to come together when I'm in the show ring. Part of the confidence that I used to have returns. I'm not worried about what could go wrong, just what I need to do. Basically, I'm just happy to be out there and nothing else matters. I love it!

After the races, we met JL and MB for dinner at a restaurant that is all organic and serves grass fed beef in their burgers. I'm a rancher's daughter from Idaho, of course this was my type of place! Good food, good company. All in all, it was a pretty good day. Even if I am in Hellbuquerque.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Haven of horses

*I promise that this entire post isn't negative.

So here I am in Albuquerque. Again. Life has been crazy busy since we've arrived. I've kept up with reading my Feedly, but haven't had time to comment on posts much. Hopefully, things will level out here soon and I can be more involved with the blogging world.

I'll try to keep this update as short as possible. Let's see, where to start....

The Downs at Hellbuquerque 
Zorro hates it here too.

I feel no need to sugarcoat my feelings towards this place, so I'll just be blunt. I freaking hate almost every minute I'm at the track. Don't get me wrong, I obviously love the horses and I love racing. That doesn't mean that I have to love this track too. I spend most of my mornings pissed off, exhausted, and partially depressed. There are some very good people here that I do really like and they help make it better. It's still a long ways from good though. By the end of the morning I just want to get the hell out of there and to my saving grace: the dressage horses. I guess that's one good thing about despising being at the track so much, my motivation to go ride has increased exponentially.

Speaking of which:


I had a great, and much needed, lesson on him Saturday with JL, my trainer. We went to a schooling show on Sunday (there isn't a recognized show here until mid October). Beefs was AWESOME! We did very well in our classes, but that wasn't that big of a deal. What I was most happy about was how well behaved he was! Seriously, he was better at the show than he is at home. The arena itself wasn't scary, but there is a soccer field next to it, a raised trail on one end (which includes horses trotting by, people walking with dogs or strollers, runners, etc.) with a gate so anyone could come off of the trail right next to the arena, and the drunk guys running around on their horses (one of which that fell off and his horse got loose and ran into the warm-up arena). There were also two little kids that decided to race each other right next to the show arena, which fortunately didn't happen during my ride. Then there was the ignorant jack ass that enjoys trotting up your horses ass and about running into you any chance he got. Anyway, Beefs never spooked and he kept his focus better than he ever has before. I thought I hadn't taken him to a show in three years, but it has actually been almost four. This was only his third show, so it's not like he has ever been a seasoned veteran. He pretty much acted like one though. This makes me so happy because I want him to be my niece's show horse when she gets a little older. I think with a couple more years experience, he will be an awesome first dressage horse for her!

Watching the videos, I'm not happy with my riding. At all. I will just have to keep trying, work harder. The judge did tell me later on that we beat a really nice (more talented) horse because our test was so smooth and accurate. At least I did that much right.

His training level score was high enough to win High Point. He got a new bridle for it!

The first level score about shocked the hell out of me.

This mare has so much potential! She's smart, athletic, and beautiful. Barstow only ran three weeks ago, so she is still a little racey, but she doesn't forget what she learns. I think she really enjoys the more laid back, slower-paced atmosphere. The hardest part is going to be not getting attached to her.

Winndelynn (sorryI forgot/haven't been able to get pics yet)
I was feeling bad about not getting much done with Indy this summer (I wasn't very comfortabcomfortablee riding her at the track), but I think the time for her to mature mentally and physically was a good thing. Indy fell while she was on the walker the spring of her three year old year and my previously gorgeous moving filly just wasn't quite right after. She wasn't lame, just didn't have much flexibility in her neck or freedom in her shoulders. I had L, the best I've ever worked with, adjust her and do laser therapy this spring. Indy was much better after and I think fixing her before she had the break made her much better. She is moving gorgeous and is a lot more mature, not over reactive or spooky like before. Suddenly, all of my dreams for her don't seem hopeless anymore. My trainer's wife, MB, asked why I didn't do the four year old classes with her this year. That was something that I had originally wanted to aim for, I really don't think she could have handled the pressure though. We're going to see how she does these next few weeks and then decide if it's worth trying to show the five year old young horse classes. The fact that JL and MB even think that she might have the talent to be competitive makes me feel a whole lot better. 

*After the show on Sunday JL told me we really need to focus on Indy while I'm here. He knows how much I love Beefs, but he made a very good point. While Beefs is a nice horse, it's going to be hard for him to compete against huge moving warmbloods at bigger shows in areas with tougher competition. JL isn't putting Beefs down or anything, just being honest. He's right and I really do need to make her my biggest priority.

Love my Gunner!

After I got off of him today, I told MB that it really annoys me that Gunner has probably only had about ten dressage rides since last year (he was ponying at the track), has about 1/20 of the training that Beefs does, hasn't been ridden in almost two months, and he still goes better than Beefs. Talk about being happy, yet wanting to cry at the same time. Gunner is more like a warmblood than a thoroughbred. He has a ton of natural talent with big movement and suspension. Dressage just comes naturally to him. He's not nearly as intelligent as Beefs though. Gunner is as sweet as can be, but in all honesty, he isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. That doesn't mean that I don't still obsolutely love him. The fact that I could just jump on and go after he hasn't been ridden in that long makes him worth his weight in gold.

Other than the track, I'm really happy right now. I've been out to JL and MB's every day since I've been here. I've ridden every day except two. One day it was raining and the other was the day after the show. I'd gotten so sun burnt at the show that I was really sick that night and totally drained the  next day. I still went out to see the horses. I enjoy everything about being out there. Four horses to ride on top of working my ass off at the track might kill me. At least I'll die happy. Their barn is my safe haven while I'm surrounded by Hell.