Saturday, March 10, 2012

BCHF Fun Show!

Today was our first show of 2012 and also our first barefoot show!

I've never been to a Black Creek Hill Farm show, so I didn't know what to expect, but I knew it was more low key and fun than my usual shows, so I decided to use it as a schooling show. It didn't start until 10am and there were a bunch of halter classes listed first on the show bill, so I decided to take my time getting there, and we eventually arrived at about 10:15am. When I got there, they were already on class 14, which was the last of the trail classes. After pulling Lilly off the trailer, I decided I didn't want to be rushed trying to get her ready for the clover leaf barrel class, and since we missed trail, that meant we could only sign up for the four western classes. It wasn't all bad, though, because it gave me plenty of time to school before our first class.

My photographer/groom wasn't feeling well, so it was just me and Lilly. Needless to say, I only got a few pictures, and none of them are with me on her back or in a class. I do have this really cute one of her standing at the trailer, though. I just pulled her out of the pasture, brushed her a bit, took out her braid and voila! Not bad, no? :)

Don't hate on my super white pony! :)
If I could sum up this show in one word, it would be awesome. Even though we were parked next to another mare who got really attached to Lilly, she stood at the trailer just as quiet as can be. She never pawed and she never whinnied, even when the neighbor horse was calling for her during our warm-ups. She was super relaxed and I stayed nice and relaxed too.

Well, I was relaxed until we went into our classes. How is it that I can go from being completely relaxed to nothing but butterflies, just from simply walking through the in-gate? Our warm-ups had gone so well, even when I worked her in the arena during the lunch break! Throw a judge in there, though, and it's all over. I worked really hard to relax and took a few deep breaths, but I was nervous. I think it's going to take some time for me to learn to be relaxed. I completely trust Lilly now, and I know what to expect from her in the arena, but it's been so unpredictable for so long, that I'll need a few shows to really start feeling good about things.

I still wanted to "show" today, even though I was going to be schooling. I had decided that when she was doing as I asked, I was going to show, but if she needed correcting, I was going to correct her and then go back to showing. I wasn't going to worry about where the judge was when I made my corrections, I was just going to ride my horse like we were at home.

Considering how nervous I was, Lilly was fantastic, especially in our walk/jog classes. There were only three of us in the first class, and one of the riders is a friend of mine, schooling her green 14 year old mare (just like me!), and the other rider was riding her speed horse in a few of the western classes. If anyone had been taking my picture, I'm sure they would have shown a giant, cheesy grin on my face because Lilly was a superstar. I felt like we could have jogged out of that arena and right into a breed show arena and held our own. She was amazingly slow, held her head perfectly, was consistent, and wasn't looking all over the place. On our second pass, she decided she needed to walk in order to do her business, so I'm pretty sure that's why we only placed second.

In the next walk/jog class, there were only two of us, just me and Lilly, and my friend with her mare. Lilly rocked the class even though the unthinkable happened... I had to really work to keep her going! I could feel her wanting to walk a bit in front and jog behind, so I used lots and lots of leg, and we won first place. I was really excited!

Our third class was a GAYP (go as you please) and even though I knew the other two horses would be jogging, I decided to go ahead and lope. I came to practice and it wasn't going to do me any good to jog another class, especially since she was doing so well. When the call was given, I continued to walk a while to keep Lilly from anticipating, and to keep me from anticipating. I asked for the lope and she took right off, on the correct lead. She was a bit forward, but she wasn't chugging like a freight train, so I worked on collecting her and getting her slowed down. Just as we started to make some progress, it was time to walk. Her downward transitions are awesome, by the way. Then, the next thing I knew, they were asking us to GAYP again, without asking for a change of direction... okay, so here we go again! She picked up the correct lead, but was still a bit forward. She did really well, though, and I was quite proud of her.

After the second lope, the judge had us line up, but then one of the riders asked if we were going to go the other direction. The judge apologized and sent us back out! Lilly was pretty consistent with her lope today and was pretty much a mirror of the other direction. She picked up her lead and I had to work to keep her collected, but we ended up with second place, even though we were the only ones loping.

The second loping class didn't go as well. I had to take hold of her a couple times because she kept trying to reverse directions on me. It was bizarre... we'd be walking along and all of a sudden she'd try to turn to the inside of the arena. Maybe she was anticipating the line-up... she was ready to go home? So I had to really work on that and we did a few circles into the rail, so we ended up with third place. She got both of her leads, though, and I was more than happy with her performance.

After the last class, the judge told me I was brave for loping in a GAYP class. I told her I was just schooling and since there weren't any actual loping classes, I had to do what I had to do.

Here's a picture of our winnings!! It's always fun to see blue in the lineup of ribbons!

Western pleasure pony proof!
I do wish there had been more horses at the show, just to get a better idea as to how we're doing, but the smaller class size was also nice because it felt more like a schooling ride. I also didn't feel bad about loping in a class where everyone else was jogging. Normally there just isn't enough room if no one else is loping.

A cute side story that I thought I'd share involved Lilly and a little boy. When I was warming her up, there was a family walking around looking at horses and they were in love with Lilly. I told them they could come over and pet her if they wanted to and they were all smiles. Their little boy, who was probably about three years old, was SO excited to pet her. They had to keep telling him to walk so he didn't scare her. Then, right as they were almost in reach, Lilly turned her head towards them and sneezed all over everyone! You should have seen that poor little boy's face... he's probably traumatized for life. His mom kept telling him that she had to sneeze, just like people do, but he wanted absolutely nothing to do with her. I apologized to them and told Lilly she was not being a good ambassador!

All in all, it was a day to remember. The weather was amazing and we had a fantastic show. It was a great way to start the show season and I'm super proud of my girl!!


  1. Oh, what a fantastic show! So pleased that you calmed down and rode your own ride and had FUN!

    Good on Lilly for sneezing on that kid! She's just trying to infect him with horse snot, which as we all know contains the virus that makes us gaga for horses. He'll be back in a month asking for a pony ride. ;)

  2. Congratulations!!! What a great start to your show season!!! Can't wait to see what the next one brings!

  3. Congrats! Both on awesome loping AND with the blue ribbon!!! : ) Yay! Lilly!

  4. What a fantastic show! SO different from your show reports from last year, don't you think?

    Your story about the little boy made me laugh! Just when we want them to be the perfect, sweet ambassadors, they have to go snot all over someone. Teehee!

  5. What a fun day!! So glad your girl did you proud!

  6. A great show to start of show season 2012!

  7. Congrats!! Sounds like Lilly was such a good girl!
    Thanks for sharing the little boy story, hilarious!! Poor kid!

  8. Thank you all so much! I was definitely a happy camper hauling her home... we didn't have those shows very often in the past, but this is going to be a great year!