Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Great Show!

I love the shows that don't start until 10:00 AM. I can get up at 6:00 AM, head to the barn, give Lilly a bath, band her mane, and be to the show with plenty of time to spare. I know she'd rather be outside the night before a show instead of stuck inside her stall, and then I don't have to spend my Friday evening getting her ready. These shows are all fairly local too, so it's usually a pretty short drive. This show was only about 15 minutes from the barn!

For those of you who have been following along with Lilly's blog for some time, the show was held somewhere I used to board... somewhere that gave me nightmares and cost me a fortune in vet bills. I must be cautious about what I write to make sure certain things don't come up in a Google search... but feel free to check posts from August 2010. Good times!

I fed Lilly her breakfast when I first arrived at the barn, but once she saw me hooking up the horse trailer, she seemed to lose her appetite. In fact, the little turd left and walked all the way to the back of her pasture. When it was time to bring her in to get ready, I had to walk all the way out there to get her. Do you think she was excited about going to the show?

It was a perfect horse show day. The weather was beautiful, I was pain free, and Lilly seemed to be in a really good mood, despite her initial reluctance to go somewhere. Despite a few issues at the barn that irritated me, I was also in a good mood and I just knew we were in for a great time. She loaded right up into the trailer and off we went.

Recently I've been hauling her in the front spot of my two horse trailer. I've had the trailer since 2007 and I've always put her in the back spot. Usually the front spot is filled up with hay bales and totes, but because I've been having issues with her backing out of the trailer, I decided to start hauling her in the front spot. The trailer hauls a gazillion times better with her up front than it does with her in the back... I don't know how I missed that little piece of information all these years, but I wish I had found out sooner! Not only that, but I can get into the trailer with her and back her out instead of opening the back door and getting the hell out of the way. She's making great progress backing out, and did her best back out yet when we got to the show.

I got us all signed up while she snacked on her hay, and I ended up entering in 9 classes. It was a "show all day for $60" show, so I figured I might as well pick a few extra classes. I actually had to stop circling numbers because I figured 8 riding classes was probably enough. I entered us in showmanship, two western walk/jog classes, and the rest were english type classes.

"I can't wait for our first class, mom!"
The showmanship pattern wasn't posted until right before the show started, so I didn't have a lot of time to practice, but we worked on the different pieces that could possibly be in the pattern. She did excellent, especially with the setting up, so I didn't push it, and we just walked around instead. When I saw the ring steward stapling the pattern to the board, I hauled ass over there and asked for a pattern sheet... study, study!

Showmanship pattern.
In case you have as much trouble reading it as I did:
Walk from cone A to cone B
At B, perform a 360 degree pivot to the right
Trot around B to Judge
Halt and set up for inspection
After inspection, back four steps and trot to line up

One of the participants said she hadn't even seen the pattern, but she would "just watch someone else and go from there." Really? What if they do it wrong?! I mentioned to her that the pattern was on the board and she mumbled something about it not being there before, so I dropped it. As usual, no one wanted to go first, so Lilly and I went into the arena to get set up at cone A. Lilly's pattern was outstanding. She did everything perfectly so we jogged to line, set up, and watched all the other patterns.
That is one nice thing about going first... I have the best seat in the house to watch the other patterns. A couple of them were good and couple of them not so good... the lady who said she hadn't seen the pattern did her 360 in the wrong direction. It even says to "pivot 360 degrees to the right", but she pulled her horse around in a circle to the left.

When the class was over, the judge went around and spoke to each of us and offered some tips on what we can do to improve. When she got to me and Lilly she simply said, "exquisite". I couldn't disagree with her assessment. Lilly was awesome and she placed us first! We won a beautiful blue ribbon, a cooler, another Koozie (score!), and a refreshing bottle of water.

Yay! We win!
Because we went in so many classes, I can't possibly remember all the details about each one, so I figured I'd just sum up the show in more general terms and share a few things that stood out.

Western Walk/Jog Classes:
Overall she was very good, but we still have a long way to go. We didn't have a lot of time to warm up ahead of time and there wasn't really a warm up area, so we just jogged around in the grass. She was a bit quick when we first started out, but I got her thinking by doing a bunch of jog-stop-back exercises and she slowed down quite a bit. We were showing against three old dudes on their really nice western pleasure horses, so considering the competition, she did well. The one thing I could count on was her head... it stayed nice and level in both classes. I'm not getting the pitter patter jog from her like she gives me at home, and a couple times I had to get after her a bit when the judge wasn't looking. We have quite a bit more work to do in the western department.

Kudos to the judge, though, because she was penalizing the geezer's horses if their heads fell below the withers for too long. That's how we managed 3rd in the second western class... the one guy was penalized for his horse's head. (I may or may not have been listening in on someone else's conversation...) So not all judges are like the one I showed under at the fairgrounds.

English Classes:
I thought my horse was amazing. She drove me absolutely crazy when we were walking in the classes, but when we were trotting or cantering, she was drool worthy. I disagreed with the judge quite a bit in her placings, but she likes what she likes, and what she liked was horses moving out. When I say moving out, I mean MOVING OUT. She really liked a gray, who I will admit was a beautiful mover and has potential, but he was also like 12 feet tall. He wasn't very collected in his movements either... he was just trotting a thousand miles per hour. Lilly could take about three strides and match his single stride. In one of the classes, there were only two of us. It was me and another girl on a cute Appy. I thought I was having a fantastic ride and anticipated getting called first, but that was before Lilly had her temper tantrum (more on that later) and I saw the judge looking right at us. When we were in the line up, the judge came over and told me that Lilly was a beautiful mover, and I was a beautiful rider, but this is english "so get him moving. I know he has it in him, so push him and lets see what he can do."

I don't know why everyone thinks Lilly is a he, but it's very distracting for me.

Okay, so she likes them moving out... in the next couple classes, I really pushed to get Lilly moving. It must not have been fast enough because it didn't help with our placings, but I wasn't going to trot around the arena like that gray horse. There's a fine line between really moving out and doing it correctly, and just trotting/cantering as fast as we can around the arena. I wasn't going to let her get all strung out, especially when we were cantering. She's barely 15 hands, there's only so much ground we can cover.

Things to work on:
Three words... anticipation, anticipation, anticipation! She was driving me crazy all day long... I purposely wait a few seconds after the speaker clicks off before I ask her for something and she does great when we're trotting/jogging or cantering/loping, but when we're walking, good lord. She wants to do SOMETHING. She doesn't care what, but we need to do something. Trot? Reverse? Walk into the line up? When she gets to do nothing but walk, she gets very upset, tucks her nose to her chest, chomps on the bit, and prances in place. This is what the judge saw in the one english class.

Luckily, a lot of the classes were done like this:
Started the class at the walk (which she is fine with), then we canter, then we trot, then we reverse at the trot, then we canter, then we halt, then we back, then we walk a bit before being asked to come in and line up. There's hardly any walking, which is good!  (Or bad, depending on how you look at it.) The time between the back and the line up is just too much for her to bear. If I was lucky, we were told to head straight into the line up after the back, and I could use the opportunity to walk her forward a bit before turning into the middle. Since her nose is velcroed to her chest, though, it was a challenge to keep her behaving... luckily I was riding english and I had two reins to work with. The bad thing is, I can't work on this at home, which means I have to school at the show. If I'm having a crappy class or if I'm showing under a judge that doesn't care for my horse, ok... but if I'm having an awesome ride and I think we could place really well (and possibly get a PAC point), it's tough for me to make the call to just blow the class right at the end. Maybe we need a year of nothing but schooling shows...

Getting ready to head home.

Classes and Placings:
Showmanship: 1st out of 5
Western Go As You Please 19 Years Over: 4th out of 6
Western Go As You Please Open: 3rd out of 6
English Go As You Please Open: Honorable Mention out of 11
Hunt Seat Pleasure Open: 4th out of 8
Appaloosa, Paint, and Palomino Pleasure Open: 1st out of 3
English Go As You Please 19 Years Over: 2nd out of 2
English Pleasure Open: 3rd out of 5
English Pleasure 19 Years Over: 2nd out of 2

No pink ribbons today!
Proud moments:
Our showmanship pattern was definitely a proud moment, but unfortunately for Lilly, I expect a pattern like that every time. Last weekend was not good, and it's also not the norm. Today is the norm, and it's good to have her back. Score one PAC showmanship point! I'm also very proud of how well she did in our other first place class. It was Lilly, one of the geezer western pleasure horses, and the Appy I showed against in the "tantrum" class. Lilly gave me an excellent ride, but she had been doing that all day. Being called for first was a great feeling! Even though it's a pleasure class, I'm not sure if Paint will give me a point for it or not. It doesn't say whether we were english or western, so I don't know how they would decide which category to put it in. Maybe they'll call me!

It was just a great day overall. I lost count of the number of people who commented on what a beautiful, well behaved horse I have. She makes friends and always has fans everywhere we go. I'm so proud of her!

There was a photographer at the show and pictures should be up by Thursday, so I'll share the link and any I decide to purchase. :)


  1. In an attempt to organize my comments, I'm numbering them ;-)

    1. LOL to the handwritten showmanship pattern. Been there!
    2. Way to go in sship!! Love that the judge said "exquisite," what a compliment.
    3. I feel you on the anticipation issues. I'm trying to nip those in the bud for my mare, since my gelding got bored/show "smart."
    4. Congrats on the PAC credit and can't wait to see the photos!

    1. She's killing me with that stuff... and it's not like she's a "show horse" and has been showing for a long time. She needs to turn her brain off and let me do the thinking.

  2. SOunds like it was a great show! Interesting dilemma with the walking problem...and Im super happy you stuck with your guns about moving out properly. Sometimes you just have to wonder about people...BTW, what is an Honorable Mention? I have never heard that in placings...

    1. Yeah, I didn't want to just truck around the arena... my pony has short legs and I can only post so fast! :)

      The show was only placing through 5th place, but after they announced the 5th place horse, they said "Honorable mention goes to number 170..." So we were recognized but didn't actually get a ribbon. She only did an honorable mention for my one class, so I'm not really sure why.

  3. How awesome is that?! Congratulations on a great show. Can't wait to see the pictures!!!

    1. Thank you! Some of them are up on the site and they look pretty darn good!

  4. Woohoo!!!! Sound like a great day!!! You need to drag somebody along with you to video next time! I'm glad this judge was a better one!

    1. I keep dropping hints to the fiance about the amount of time that has passed since he last came to one of my shows... I think I've almost convinced him to come along at least once this year!

  5. Wow, you go girl! I'm so glad to hear that Lilly was such a star (most of the time, anyway)! It's great that you had a better judge - take note of that one's name so you can show under her again!

    Can't wait to see the pics!

    1. Funny you should mention that, Jen... I actually have a list of "don't bother" judges, and a list of judges who seem fair. It's a must these days!

  6. Whoo hoo, what a fun show! Great job you two!! (Lillys color is so awesome!!)

  7. "Exquisite"! Wow! Does it get any better? Heck no! Well done, you two.

  8. Awesome job!!! : ) Love that you have a perfect compliment of ribbons for the windows! And I bet you all those blue ribbons had people confused that she was a boy...don't complain, it's better then pink ribbons! ; )

    1. Good point... too many blue ribbons!! LOL Thank you!

  9. Thank you all for your wonderful comments! We really did have a great time... if only all the shows could be this much fun! :)

  10. Congrats!! I am so happy for you both! Great improvement! I also can't wait to see more pictures!!

  11. I'm beyond impressed with doing nine classes in one day. You and Lily are in great shape! Great work.

  12. I agree with Carol. You must be very organized! Well done on that stack of ribbons - sounds like you had a fun and educational time. Can't wait to see the pictures. :D