Monday, August 24, 2009

And The Results Are In!

We know our showmanship! LOL! We got to the showgrounds right at 11AM and unloaded into the small Aqua Barn, which was the only outside facing stall left. Thank goodness there was one because the shavings/sawdust they use there is DUSTY... The AM classes were moving slowly enough so I decided to do showmanship before riding her. I groomed Mercy up (I hadn't bathed her, oops...) and headed over to look at the pattern. I just about crapped my pants when I saw the pattern. It was ALL on the offside. I have never practiced that with Star, let alone Mercy. After practicing a little and going back and forth over and over again, I decided to buck up and do the class. So what if we didn't do well. I was there to get Mercy comfortable and experienced with shows. So, after cleaning up (and figuring out what I had forgotten, like a belt and bobby pins) we headed into the arena for the showmanship 19 and over class.

Here is the pattern:

1) Step up at cone A. When acknowledged, move to the offside and back 3 steps.

2) Remaining on the offside, trot halfway to the judge, halt, and perform a 360* haunch turn to the left.
3) Continue to cone B and set up for inspection, on the offside. After inspection, trot into line on the nearside.
Well, after all of that stress about our performance and completing the pattern correctly, we were rewarded with a blue ribbon, 1st place! Apparently, there was only one other exhibitor, besides us, that completed the pattern correctly. Thank goodness for 4H drilling showmanship patterns into your head, lol! I'm pretty proud of our morning accomplishment. We weren't decked out in sparkly jewels and multi-hundred dollar outfits and halters. We just showed up, plain and simply, and paid attention to details. Showmanship is our thing!

Mercy had a short break at the stall to drink and pee while I went to pick up my 1st place prize. A prize table was set up with all sorts of stuff, from sample shampoos to candles to car stuff. I grabbed a microfiber towel. I've always wanted one for some reason. Back at the stall, I saddled Mercy up and headed out to the main outdoor arena to warm her up. Little did I know of the problems we would have there. *Sigh*
The arena was packed with trainers and other riders doing what they wanted with their horses. I had no problem with that, it is what it is. Mercy, however, lost it. Our first class was a walk only eq. class, so that's all I wanted her to do. Nope. She wasn't going to walk. She gigged and swerved and threatened to rear as I asked her to slowdown, stop, or turn. I tried asking her to serpentine and make small circles, but there was honestly no room to maneuver. So we left the arena instead. At that point, I decided that we might not make a rail class. We needed to work through this. While I was waiting for the arena to clear out a little, I headed over to the trail arena. That is what we have been practicing lately at home anyway.
Since we didn't get a chance to lope, let alone trot on a loose rein, I was NOT expecting anything from Mercy as we entered the trail course. It was going to be for fun only. In fact, I laughed and talked out loud most of the time. We started by walking over some poles and around cones (all at the same time) when the tree at the end of the course fell over. We were asked to stop (even though I didn't really want to, lol!) until the tree was put back into place. After we resumed our pattern, we made our way over more poles and onto a bridge. The only interesting part about that were the poles at the other side of the bridge. But of course, Mercy could care less. After picking up the trot, we headed over more pole and into a chute, stopping before hitting some flowers. We took it slow backing through the chute, even though it was really wide. I don't think we could have hit the poles even if we tried!
From there, we were supposed to pick up the left lead and lope over the fan poles and around the tree. Well, Mercy didn't lope, but we trotted over all of the poles. *shrug* Trotting back over the chute was uneventful and Mercy actually picked up a lope over the next set of fan poles! However, it was the wrong lead, so when we turned it was difficult for her to trot out and around the cone before trotting into the box. We settled while I talked to Mercy and then completed a 360* haunch turn to the left inside of the VERY small box. Mercy is a long bodied horse and there was no way we were going to make it clean. Oh well! I think she was relieved to walk to the next obstacle. She side passed to the right beautifully and completed a quick, but smooth 180* right haunch turn, placing us at the gate, our last obstacle. The rope gate was too easy. we whipped through that in no time and acknowledged the judge. All I could do was laugh! :)
After that great performance, we headed back into the warm-up arena, where it had finally cleared out a little. There were only a few riders and most of them were trainers. We took a lap or two around the arena on a loose rein, both at a walk and trot. Since all was back to the way I knew it, behavior-wise, we loped some circles for a while. We started on the left lead and after letting her lope out of a while, I asked her to come back down in speed and try for some collection. HOLY DROPPED SHOULDERS BATMAN!!!!! Argh! After a simple lead change to the right, we stopped to air up. After some discussion from a friend, we headed back out. After quite some time things started feeling a little better and we quit.
Since we had missed all of the eq. classes (one of my other specialties) we headed into the western pleasure 19 and over class. It was FULL of trainers and finish pleasure horses, and considering we hadn't ridden in the covered arena at all that day, we did great. We didn't place, but whatever. She jogged nicely and walked patiently even in the crowded arena.
After that class, which was the last walk/trot class they were offering, we headed back over to the trail course. I had one more ticket and didn't want to enter a lope class. Of course once we got there, the course closed. I was going to take Mercy back into the warm-up arena to lope more, but I had become frustrated and knew I was at my limit for the day. So we packed up and went home.
I have a feeling that this will be the last performance show we attend. Mercy just isn't comfortable around so many other horses in the arena and it just becomes a fight. Since she is doing so well in individual events (gaming and reining) I think we will steer clear of these shows unless I know they will be very small in attendance. Someday we will try again, but until then, thank goodness for individual events (and showmanship! LMAO!!!) ;)
PS~ Is anyone else having issues with Blogger?!? I cannot for the life of me get it to make a break between paragraghs! Let me know if you can help me, please!

1 comment:

M. said...

I have no idea how to fix it, but for whatever reason Blogger won't put pictures in anywhere but the very top of an entry.

I can show you how to alter the HTML code to break a paragraph, though, if you think you'll remember. Then you can use the HTML editor part of it to fix it up.