Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another Great Show!

Wow, what a show...

I debated going since I hadn't worked with my horse once since the previous show, and I wasn't really feeling 100%. If it was any show other than my always favorite JCHSS show, I probably would have skipped it and stayed home. It's also my last show until the end of next month, so I sucked it up and went... and I'm glad I did because we had a great time.

When all was said and done, I entered for 12 classes... 12 classes?! I didn't mean to sign up for that many. It just sort of happened. There were some hunt seat classes after the jumping classes and when I realized I had time for those once showmanship was over, I couldn't help myself. Since I rode in so many classes, I'll just sum things up and share the details I remember most. I might have to revise some of the results because I'm not always able to write down the class size before going in another class. Things get confusing after a while, so once the results are posted at the show website, I'll have to come back and correct any errors I made with PAC points and such.

Lilly was really good yesterday. She just had this "calm" about her that was really refreshing. Not that she's usually hyper, but she just seemed different... more mellow. She helped me relax and stay calm which I'm sure helped to make our day so much fun. Sometimes it's easy to forget that showing is fun!

Is it almost time for showmanship?

Who can resist this face?
Our first class of the day was showmanship. We had a pretty fun pattern and I was looking forward to it. The class before mine had the same pattern I did, so I wanted to watch them do their patterns, but I saw a couple people I knew and I ended up chatting and being social instead. As we were talking, I noticed one of the girls in the class run her horse over to the fence and she started spraying him like crazy with fly spray. Come to find out, her horse had done his pivot in a fire ant mound... I guess he was okay and they got all the ants off him, but needless to say, they moved the pattern around a bit and things changed. The pattern went from this:

Original pattern. this. They had to shift the pattern over, so there wasn't going to be enough room to have the line up in the original spot. Instead it was moved to the back corner of the arena.

Post ant attack.
As usual, no one wanted to go first so I volunteered. Since I didn't know before going in to the class, I asked where we were supposed to lineup, and the ring steward said to look for him and he'd show me where to line up. Okie dokie...

So my horse and I performed our pattern flawlessly (at least that's how it felt) and when the judge dismissed me, I looked for the ring steward. He was back behind me in the corner so Lilly and I walked off to the left, and walked along the rail to the line up. The next exhibitor that showed performed a 90 degree pivot to the right after she was dismissed and walked around behind the judge, along the rail to the line up. The ring steward looked at me and said, "now that's an impressive way to end your pattern." Every horse after the second exhibitor turned their horses to the right and walked around behind the judge. They didn't all pivot, but they walked off to the right and I felt like maybe I screwed up. When the placings were called, we got 5th out of 7, and the two exhibitors below me were clearly going to place last and second to last. I know we had a better pattern than 5th place, so I feel like I was marked down for the way I exited to the line up, but I also feel like I got shafted because I went first without knowing exactly where I was going after the judge dismissed me. If I could do it all over again, I probably would have walked off to the right, but I don't think it should have mattered.

For all my other showmanship peeps out there, is adding something to the end of your pattern after you're dismissed considered being "off pattern" in your book, or would you have pivoted 90 degrees as the second exhibitor did? I might just be bitter, but I'm mad if I was counted down for the way I took Lilly to the line up... I'm curious to hear other opinions. I've also decided that I'm never going first again. EVER!

I stewed over the stupid showmanship class for quite some time and then I realized I might have time for the hunt seat classes if I hurry. Stop being such a whiner, suck it up, learn from it, and move on. I changed clothes and ran up to the office to sign up for all three hunt seat classes. I hurried back to the trailer to tack up my pony thinking I needed to hurry if I wanted to have some time to warm up. As is usually the case, we had way too much time and stood around in the shade a bit before our class finally went in.

It was a walk/trot class, fairly large with 12 other riders, and it was filled with all the jumpers. None of the exhibitors I rode with later in the english classes were signed up, so it was kind of fun riding with a different group of people and horses. Lilly was doing really, really well but she kept stepping on stones and I couldn't get her to move out at all. The footing was a bit packed, either from all the jumpers or because it just hadn't been dragged in a while, so any little stone made her take a tender step and she was clearly uncomfortable. The worst part was, all three of my classes were back to back so I knew I wouldn't have time to run her back to the trailer and get her boots. I rode her off the rail where the footing was softer and steered her around all the rocks I could find. Needless to say, I didn't expect to even place and wasn't sure if I should even bother with the other classes until I could get her boots, but we were called for SECOND place! I was so excited that I could hardly stand it! It's been a while since we've had a place like that in such a large class, and it's even more cool when you're not expecting it.

I didn't even leave the arena since I was in the next class so we just walked out of line and found a spot on the rail. The next class was hunt seat pleasure and a bunch of the horses left, so there were only 7 of us. I know those horses were all cantering over the jumps, so I'm not sure why so many of them skipped over the canter class... but Lilly was just as good as she was the first time and I didn't have to deal with any of her "I wanna do this now" shenanigans. The judge didn't like us as much at the canter, apparently, because we only got 5th place.

Back to the rail for hunt seat walk/trot equitation, and back to 12 riders again... there was only rail work and no pattern, but I couldn't wait to get Lilly out of that arena. We did the best we could, and she since I had commented to her about how she was being so good, she threw a temper tantrum in the corner of the arena where the judge, who was up in the booth, couldn't see us. We had to reverse and Lilly wanted to reverse REALLY BADLY even though I hadn't asked her to. She either knew it was time from the click of the speakers, or she saw all the other horses turning around, but she wanted to turn around NOW. Aww, too bad you're not in charge! I really got after her until she was walking and not craning her neck around trying to reverse, and then I asked her to turn. That was the only incident we had like that all day. I think she's finally learning! It was confirmed the judge saw nothing when our number was called for 3rd place! Yippee!!

And now, the only picture I have of us in the arena, taken by the show manager and posted to Facebook for my enjoyment and yours.

Tender toes...
There was a photographer there and I'm anxiously waiting for the pictures to be posted. I doubt I'll purchase any because of the 40 I just got from the last show, but I'm still looking forward to seeing how they turned out.

Before any of my other classes, I put on Lilly's boots. I didn't have the pads with me because I wasn't planning on using the boots, and I'm lucky I even had them in the trailer. I'll know for next time to bring them just in case, though!

The next three classes were english, and we had two walk/trot classes and one pleasure class. They went pretty well and we placed right around the middle of the pack. This was a new group of horses from the hunt seat classes and we didn't place quite as well. Lilly was still a really good girl and I decided to *GASP* enter her in the pattern classes!! At first I was just going to do the walk/trot version, and then I decided, what the hell? Let's do the canter one too!

English Equitation patterns.
So the eq classes started out with everyone doing the pattern first and then rail work. Do you know that for the walk/trot class I went in FIRST?!?! WHY DID I GO IN FIRST?!?! I just won't learn!!

But there we were, a class of 7, standing with our tails to the rail and I was in the front. "#377 will ride first." I had no idea how Lilly was going to be, but I was surprisingly not nervous. There's nothing worse than having all eyes on you, watching you ride a pattern, especially when you have to go first, but for some reason I wasn't nervous. My super calm horse calmed my nerves all day (what's up with that anyway?), and we were going to ride that pattern the best as we could! I walked her up to the first cone, stopped, looked over at the judge and she nodded for us to begin. Lilly stood stock still, no chewing on the bit, no fidgeting... waiting. I cued for the walk and off we went.

Without having it on video as proof, which totally sucks, my horse and I rocked that pattern. The turns around the cones are what I was most nervous about and Lilly went around them like nothing. We didn't make giant half circles, she didn't drift out sideways, we just trotted around cones like you're supposed to trot around cones! Our 180 degree pivot was spot on, and her back was super straight. It felt good to be done, but it felt even better to feel good about our pattern!!

I watched the next rider (a friend of mine) perform her pattern and when she parked next to me on the rail she said that we had one of the best patterns she's ever seen. So it didn't just feel good to me, I guess it looked nice too!

After the patterns were done we went out to the rail for more work. We only rode in the one direction and then came in to line up. As we waited, I chatted with my friend about whether she was going to do the canter class too and that I was having second thoughts because the cones were so close together. There was no way I was going to get Lilly cantering in such a small area... and then the placings were announced...

We were called for first place! My non-pattern horse placed first in her pattern class! On the way out everyone congratulated me and commented on our pattern, and it gave me just enough courage to come back in for the canter class.

There were only four of us even though the judge agreed to spread out the cones a bit. She commented that she scared half of us away. I came into the arena SECOND, lined up on the rail, and then asked the judge if it mattered which diagonal we trotted on. She said it did not, so I decided I would pick up the left diagonal since we'd be coming out of a left lead canter. I knew we had to do a "180 degree turn on the forehand to the right" and I wasn't exactly sure which direction that meant, but I was pretty sure I needed to turn Lilly's haunches around to the right. That sounded correct in my head, especially since the cone would be on our left when it was time to do the turn. My friend was the first one to do the pattern and she turned her horse's haunches to the left. Uh oh... As I was walking up to the cone for my pattern, I decided I was going to stick to my turn to the right.

My horse did the canter pattern like a gem too! She picked up the canter right away, got both leads, and did a beautiful turn on the forehand, followed by a really nice back. I just wasn't sure if I did my turn the right way... the two other riders after me did theirs the same way I did. I started to feel better about the turn since both of them saw my friend's pattern and mine, and chose to turn the way I did. Our rail work was really nice and I tried to ride with my very best equitation. Heels down, shoulders back, head up, get rid of those piano hands!!

My friend and I were discussing the turn in line up and she said she was always taught that which way your horse's head goes is the direction of the turn. So a forehand turn to the right is actually a turn where the horse's haunches turn to the left. She ended up winning the class and Lilly and I got second. The judge seemed very nice so we went over to ask her about the turn. She very honestly said she wasn't 100% sure and would check her rule book for us at the end of the day. She also said she didn't really see my friend's turn because she was writing and had given her the benefit of the doubt. She just decided that we all turned the correct way since she wasn't 100% sure. I emailed my friend to see if she found out from the judge about the turn, but I did some research online and my friend was definitely correct. So Lilly and I did our turn in the wrong direction... but our wrong turn was a super good turn either way! :)

We had a bit of a break between our english and western classes, so I walked Lilly around and let her eat some clover. She was in heaven for a good 15 minutes until I decided it was my turn for lunch. So while I snacked on chips and tried to stay hydrated, she took a nice snooze. I remember the days where she would do nothing but stand at the trailer and paw, and now she's sleeping. Such a good girl. :)

So sleepy...
Our western classes went pretty darn good. There were three really nice western horses, so I placed fourth in all three western classes. We just couldn't quite beat any of those horses, but Lilly did super. I was really proud of her jog and where she carried her head, so I couldn't ask for anything more. We only did walk/jog classes because she's just not ready to lope and I figured she had been in enough classes for the day.

So here are the class results in a nutshell:
Showmanship Adult - 5th out of 7
Hunt Seat Walk/Trot - 2nd out of 13
Hunt Seat Pleasure - 5th out of 7
Hunt Seat Walk/Trot Equitation (No Pattern) - 3rd out of 12
English Walk/Trot Stock Type - 8th out of 13
English GAYP Adult - 6th out of 14
English Pleasure - 5th out of 13
English Equitation Walk/Trot (Pattern and Rail Work) - 1st out of 7
English Equitation Walk/Trot/Canter (Pattern and Rail Work) - 2nd out of 5
Western Walk/Jog Stock Type - 4th out of 11
Western GAYP Adult - 4th out of 9
Western Walk/Trot Pleasure Horse - 4th out of 6

Ribbons part one...
Ribbons part two... they wouldn't all fit on my windows!
I think the way PAC does their points for walk/trot, is that walk/trot is walk/trot. So even though I got points in an equitation class, and an english class, they all count as walk/trot. Assuming my point tallying is correct, I should get 3 points for the first hunt seat class, 2 points for the third hunt seat class, and 2 points for the equitation class. That's a total of 7 PAC points in walk/trot! We already had 10 points from a few years ago, added to yesterday's 7 points, and we're 3 points shy of our Certificate of Recognition in walk/trot.


  1. Dang, girl, you ROCK! Congrads on a fantastic show on a completely gorgeous mare! WOOHOOO!

    1. Thank you! We definitely had a great show! :)

  2. Congratulations on great show!!! Regarding adding something to a pattern, my trainer/clinician/Pinto Judge said that once your pattern is done, it's done. You should follow the instructions as written, but if there is ambiguity you can use it to your advantage. For example, if it just says "turn" you can add whatever finishing touch you want, but make sure it's done well. I wouldn't add a bunch of stuff, but a nice endcap should be okay. She told me about how one year at Youth Show a horsemanship pattern ended with a halt but the exhibitors were supposed to exit off to the right so she had her kids finish the pattern with a nod, then pivot and exit the arena. Her kids placed well and looked really polished.

    1. Thanks... that's pretty much my interpretation of it as well. I think if I had known ahead of time where the lineup was going to be, I would have had a better exit strategy. Guess I need to be quicker on my feet!!

  3. SOOOO are you itching to do more pattern?? :) Me loves me some pattern classes. I dunno, I just get bored on the rail. LOL. SOOO glad you had a great show! Everyone posting about showing is making me really want to go out and show (and the fact that a lot of people I know locally just went to a sanctioned show this weekend...without me. Stupid shows around here not offering reining or pattern classes.... boo. But anyways, happy you guys did well! I too would have been really irritated with the showmanship shoulda asked the judge about it.

    1. Maybe if I did more patterns I'd like them more... I just don't like being the only one out there doing something. LOL

      Do you have APHA club shows in your area? There's one here next month and they have reining classes. Right away I thought of you!

  4. WOOOOHOOOOO what a great day!!! I'm so proud of both of you!

    1. Thank you!! Lilly was SO good... you would have been extra proud of her!

  5. Since the pattern went so well.....I'm thinking you need to sign up for a DRESSAGE TEST!!!!

  6. TWELVE CLASSES?! You know how to show!!! Fantastic results. I can't believe how technical and picky those patterns are. I'm so terrible at patterns. Figuring out how to lead my horse around two triangles was about my limit lol. Congratulations on a great show!

    1. Thank you!! Luckily the classes are all pretty short, so she didn't have to work too much, but I was still surprised when I realized how many we entered, and also when I saw the bill!!

  7. Any pivot 90 degrees or more is off pattern in my books (adding an element). However I would have done a bit of a pivot to the right and then walked around the judge rather than just walking off around her. Congrats on the great show!

    1. I think your suggestion is probably the way I should have done it. It would have been tidy, but not adding a whole other element to the pattern. I'll know for next time, thanks!

  8. What a great show!!! Congrats on all your placings and way to rock the pattern classes! For what it's worth, I agree with SillyPony's assessment of the SMS exit...I might have done a 45 degree pull-turn, too.

    1. The pull turn crossed my mind too, after the fact of course, but that would have been a better option than what I did.

  9. Holy cow, look at all those ribbons! Congratulations!

    I know nothing about showmanship, but in dressage, you're not done being judged after your final halt and salute, even though that's your final movement. It's not over until you leave the arena.

    1. We're still being judged in the arena too, which is why I was a bit confused. When we take the horses to line up, most of the time the judge will come over and walk around us a few more times, watching how we do our crossovers. I just wasn't sure about the actual pattern itself... is it okay to add maneuvers? Sounds like it is, as long as it fits with the situation. Thanks for chiming in! :)

  10. Whoot-Whooooo!!!! Way to go girls!!!!

  11. Fascinating. I love your attitude. Was this in Raleigh? I am so so interested in Western Dressage. I linked to the Western Dressage Association's website (I'm sure you are aware of it) and will be ordering a few dvd's and books soon. Congrats on doing so well!

    1. This was in Johnston County, in Smithfield, NC. It's one of my favorite places to show! Thank you!

      I missed the western dressage clinic last weekend, but I'm hoping to make it to another one this year.

  12. Yeah!!! What a great show, the best part to me was hearing how calm and relaxed your girl was, awesomness!

  13. Wow, girl, where are you going to put all those ribbons? :)

    1. Good question! I keep telling myself that I'm going to have a ribbon quilt made one of these days, so maybe these can be part of it.

  14. CONGRATS! What a fantastic show for both of you. Loved the pattern story - atta girl, Lilly!