Sunday, May 26, 2013

Best.Show.Ever

What a day we had at the show yesterday! The weather was beautiful, Lilly was a gem, and I really enjoyed spending the day with my favorite girl. We didn't have a great day as far as placings go, although we did well in a couple classes, but we didn't bring home a bunch of blue ribbons and trophies (not even one!) and I wasn't expecting to win any of the division titles. So I was surprised and excited when I found out we did well enough at the end of the day to bring home a neck ribbon for being the Stock Type Division Reserve Champions.

My beautiful girl!
More important than the ribbons we won, though, was how absolutely proud of Lilly I was yesterday. There are always areas where we can improve, but overall she was a superstar and the gorgeous neck ribbon was just icing on the cake.

Because of the weather and the issues I've been having with her hooves, I haven't been able to ride her much lately. I still wanted to get her off the property and take her to the show. It was to be a no expectations, let's just have fun and do our best kind of day. I was relaxed, she was relaxed (she was CRAZY relaxed), and I kept our class list smaller than usual. We only entered six riding classes and two in hand classes.

Normally I don't do halter because it's a rare day when we place higher than second to last. It's also one of the first classes and I just don't like to rush around to try and get ready. We usually just focus on showmanship and watch the halter class instead. Yesterday, however, I decided to do halter just because. We had plenty of time to make it to the ring, so I figured, what the heck. It was a fairly large class with nine horses and Lilly managed to work her magic on the judge because he placed us third. Third place out of nine horses gets us another PAC point in halter!

While we waited for our showmanship class, my super relaxed pony decided it would be a great time to nap. The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing... what better time to catch some z's?

Rock-a-bye pony...
Below is the pattern from our showmanship class. I was really excited when I saw it because it's quite different from the usual patterns we have. I liked the 270 and the weaving around cones.

Something different!
Long story short, there were nine of us in the class and we placed fourth. It was a huge disappointment for me because I had watched the other exhibitors and when Lilly and I finished our pattern, I very modestly thought to myself, "there's your winning pattern, folks." She nailed her pivot, jogged perfectly around the cones, and backed straighter than ever. When we stopped to set up for our inspection, I turned to face her shoulder and ask her to square up and she planted her hooves perfectly. It literally took her .5 seconds to square up. I have no clue what the judge didn't like about our pattern, but I couldn't have asked for anything better from Lilly. Sometimes I wish my favorite class was less subjective, but that's the name of the game. Best showmanship pattern ever for us in my book, and that's what matters most.

We had quite a bit of time before our riding classes started, so Lilly snacked on hay and I made my way to the concession stand for a chili dog. I watched some of the jumping classes while I ate lunch and then took Lilly for a walk around the grounds. I let her snack on clover and watch the mini horses (they're apparently quite fascinating) before taking her back to the trailer. It was all in keeping with the theme of the day... low key!

Finally it was time to saddle up. I didn't make it to the arena for the warm-up period, but we warmed up in the make-up area and she was being a bit of a booger. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I rode her in an english saddle. I was trying to remember, and my best guess is one of the shows we went to last spring. So maybe May of last year? A whole year ago? She's gotten pretty used to having loose reins and not having contact in her mouth, and she was letting me know she wasn't too thrilled about it. I had to do a lot of trot/stop/back to get her soft and accepting of the contact, but once I had her, she was great.

Our first riding class of the day was english walk/trot - stock type, and there were nine of us in the class. This was actually our best class of the day as far as ribbons go, and probably the best ride I've had on her in the show ring ever. She was wearing her Renegade boots, so her tootsies felt good, and she rocked it. Her head was perfect and she was actually moving out with a some effort. There have been MANY times where I felt we had a winning ride and we end up with a sixth place ribbon, so I wasn't expecting a high placing, but it felt really good to be called for second place. I was so excited! Second place gets us two PAC points in walk/trot, too.

Lilly after her second place victory!
We went in another english walk/trot class, but this one was the adult age group, and there were 8 horses. Apparently the judge didn't think we had a very good ride this time because we only managed a sixth place ribbon. Lilly was still really good and I was happy with our ride, but she was starting to give me a few issues with anticipating the loud speaker. A quick correction rectified the situation, but that didn't stop her from trying to be psychic EVERY time the loud speaker clicked on.

The last english class was english pleasure. It's the only canter class we did all day. I thought it was important to canter in at least one class, so I figured doing it in english tack would be better since we wouldn't be penalized for moving out. Lilly was really good and we only had two little mistakes. We initially picked up the incorrect lead in the counter-clockwise direction. I was able to fix it quickly, but the judge had already seen us. In the other direction, we cantered first and then were asked to trot, and Lilly came down too fast and took a couple walk strides before I could kick her back into the trot. We placed fourth and I was surprised, but I thought it was a good indicator as to how well the rest of the ride went. Unfortunately, fourth put more PAC points just out of reach.

The canter classes always throw Lilly for a loop because they aren't as simple as walk, trot, reverse, trot, line up. She has those classes down, but throw in a couple canter departures and she's just not sure what the loud speaker lady is going to ask for.

We entered three western classes. They were all walk/jog classes and were pretty similar as far as our ride goes. We did a stock type class, an adult class, and an open class. She was faster than I would have liked, but she was super consistent, so I was happy about that. She carried her head perfectly and kept a really nice, even pace. Again, it was a bit fast, but it was still easy to sit and I enjoyed all three classes very much.

I still had to fight with her every time the loud speaker clicked on, but the fights are less intense than they have been in the past. Instead of feeling like I'm arguing with a brick wall, she gets pissy but does what I say. As we do more and more classes, though, her anticipation gets worse. In the last western class, the loud speaker lady told her to bring 'em in and line 'em up and by gosh that's what she was going to do, especially since everyone else was doing it! I really had to get after her, but I kept her on the rail for at least 10 strides until she was done protesting, and then we lined up. On the plus side, though, she didn't start trotting/jogging as much on her own, and when I did feel her think about trying it, a quick pop with the reins did the trick.

Our winnings!
Here's a recap of our placings:
Halter Stock Type - 3rd out of 9 (1 PAC point)
Showmanship Adult - 4th out of 9
English Walk/Trot Stock Type - 2nd out of 9 (2 PAC points)
English Walk/Trot Adult - 6th out of 8
English Pleasure - 4th out of 10
Western Walk/Jog Stock Type - 5th out of 11
Western Walk/Jog Adult - 4th out of 9
Western Walk/Jog Open - 4th out of 7

Yesterday was quite possibly the best show day ever. It was one of those days where I felt every ride could have been the winning ride. Everything just felt right, and just because the judge didn't agree doesn't make it any less special to me. Lilly still had her moments, but she was also able to get over herself and move on without putting up much of a fight. I just wish I had some pictures of our riding classes... I think that's the only way it could have been better.

12 comments:

  1. Congratulations to both of you!

    Lots of pretty ribbons and a super fun day with your pony sounds perfect to me. :D

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  2. Congrads to you both! What a fabulous day on a gorgeous, perfect pony!

    Maybe it's something about spotted ponies, but Cash used to anticipate the loudspeaker so badly that you couldn't take him in a class where they used one. He'd get worked up just going into the arena! And just like Lilly, it got worse as the day went on. I'm glad you've figured out a way to work through it though!

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  3. Look at all those ribbons! Awesome job - you guys did wonderfully!

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  4. Congratulations! And a neck ribbon! Well done. We had horrendous anticipation issues this past weekend at our show. I have no idea how to work through it. So glad you found a way to deal with Lilly's issue.

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  5. What a great day! Did you wear your new outfit? :)

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    1. I didn't because I suck... I decided I wanted to wait and wear it for the first time at the Paint show because I felt like it might be too nice for this local, open show and there wouldn't be anyone there to photograph me wearing it so it would be "wasted". But then the whole time I was there I wished I was wearing it. :(

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  6. This is so heartwarming. As a long-time follower, I know what you've been through with Lilly, and it's so good to see you showing and having fun.

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  7. How fun!! Great job you too, sounds like a near perfect day

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  8. Wow! Congratulations on a great day!!!

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  9. Thanks, everyone!! Having such a great show definitely boosts morale and I think it will help me feel better about our next show. :)

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