Wednesday, June 10, 2015

May JCHSS Show

I still haven't been doing a whole lot of riding. Having Rylee makes it difficult to get over to the barn more than a couple times per week. I always feel guilty when she's crated for the work day and then crated some more while I'm at the barn. She's doing really well, though, and she'll be two at the end of the month, so I've started leaving her out of her crate for longer and longer periods of time. Since she's been a really good girl (minus two hat casualties), I'll be able to ride after work more without feeling bad about her being in the crate.

She's adorable.
So even though we're both still fairly out of shape, Lilly and I went to another show last weekend.

It's so nice having her all shed out. It makes getting her ready a lot easier! I finally got around to clipping her legs, and I trimmed up her mane, but I've decided to leave it a bit long. Having it short requires so much more maintenance, and it makes banding mandatory. I don't miss spending an hour doing that! I've gone a little more relaxed with my outfits, so I figure she can go a little more casual with her mane as well. Since it's a local, open show series, I don't feel obligated to get all dressed up and primp her like crazy, and I think it's helped both of us relax a little bit.

The morning didn't start out too well. Lilly is super good in the trailer. I never have to worry about whether she'll get in, I never have to worry about her pawing once she's in, she's just good. It's like she's not even back there. So that's why when we were about half way into our trip and the trailer started rocking and I heard all kinds of bangs and noises coming from the trailer, I was freaking out. I was thinking she was on the floor of the trailer or something, thrashing around, so I pulled off as soon as I could safely do so. I opened the door slowly, afraid of what I would find, but she was fine as far as I could tell. She was breathing really heavy, but otherwise looked ok. I didn't want to unload her in the street, so I closed the door and started back down the road to the show grounds.

When I got there, I pulled her off the trailer, and saw blood all down the outside of her right front leg. After the initial "oh my god" moment, I noticed it was just a bunch of scrapes, and not any deep gashes or cuts. She also had some cuts on the insides of both back pasterns, a bunch of scrapes on her left hip, and a bloody cut on her bottom lip. She was wearing a sheet, so I don't know how she got the scrapes on her hip without ripping the sheet, and I have no idea how she cut her lip, but I assume she got the scrapes on her back legs by stepping on herself with her hooves. My only guess as to how she scraped her right front leg, is that perhaps she rubbed it down the side of the trailer wall, where it's lined with rubber. Her knee was all scraped and she had a big scrape on her ankle. She was still breathing heavy and was quite sweaty, so I pulled off her sheet and got to washing up her wounds.

I can't for the life of me figure out what happened. Did she fall down for some reason? Was she being attacked or stung by a bee? I didn't see any bites or anything on her, but I just don't know what happened in there. I don't haul her with a hay bag, so it wasn't because she got hung up that way. I don't like that I don't know what happened because I don't have any way to prevent it from happening in the future.

She wasn't sore or lame at all, and there wasn't any swelling, but I wondered if I should haul her home or stay and show. Once I got her all cleaned up, I dressed the wounds with some Swat and decided to go ahead and do my halter and showmanship classes, and then see how she was doing after that.

The show crowd was huge. I think the show manager said this was the biggest show they've ever had. Some of the classes had 25-30 horses in them, and they had to split them all up. None of the classes I entered had to be split (because I decided not to enter in those), but it was nice having some larger classes for a change.

Adult showmanship, however, was tiny as always. There were only three of us in the class. They've even made the showmanship classes worth double points just to try and get more people to do them, but it doesn't seem to be working. I wish they had an open showmanship just so Lilly and I could have some more competition.

Why doesn't anyone want to do showmanship?! I live for showmanship!

Showmanship pattern
So, we went in first as we always do. The pattern was a lot of fun. Lilly was great as always... nailed her pivot, backed straight, and squared up very quickly. We ran into a bit of a problem, though. The pattern called for a jog from cone C to the judge, which is fine, except when the judge is standing at cone C. As I'm walking from cone B to cone C, I'm wondering when the judge is going to get out of my way. So as we get closer, she says something like, "Oh gosh! I need to back up!" and starts to run backwards. We caught up to her quickly, and only got in about two trot strides. She said she was sorry, and all I could say was, "that's ok" and smile. I was pretty bummed, because I didn't know how this was going to affect my placing. Granted, she shouldn't count me down because it was her mistake, but I didn't get to do the pattern properly, and I also didn't want to feel like it was a gimme ribbon because "her bad."

Doing our pivot!
When everyone had done their pattern, she walked over and said we made her job very difficult, and everyone had a nice pattern. Lilly and I did end up winning the class, and I hope it's because our overall pattern was the best.

We win!
We had halter before showmanship, but halter is halter and we placed 8th out of 10. I only enter halter so I can maybe get a few extra points in the stock type division.

Because there were so many exhibitors, the jumping classes took forever and I had a nice, long break before my english riding classes. Lilly's knee seemed to be doing ok and even though I was asked no less than 20 times what happened to her leg (also by the halter judge), I decided to go ahead and ride. She snacked on hay, I got my usual chili dog and chips, and because it was a birthday show for the show manager, we had fun doing the hokey pokey in the arena.

"... and you turn yourself around!"
I had heard through the grapevine that the judge for the riding classes really liked to see the english horses moving out. I hear this at every show, and usually just ignore it, but I decided I'd go ahead an push Lilly a little bit more than usual. We don't always place well in english because we're short and pudgy (shhh... don't tell Lilly), and we get lost on the rail while the longer legged horses pass us over and over again, but I saw the judge placing some really cute, short, stocky horses. So I was hopeful that if I pushed her just a little bit, we might do really well.

So for the first two classes, I pushed. I posted faster than ever, and we were cruising along the rail. I felt she was still looking good, but we were moving out, and I got really good rides from her in the walk/trot stock type and walk/trot adult classes. We ended up with 8th out of 13 in the stock type class, and a big NO PLACE in the adult class, out of 16. So either the other horses just looked really good, or we didn't look as good as I thought we did. Since I was really pushing her, and we weren't placing, I decided to scrap the whole idea for the next class, and really from here on out. We're just going to do what we do best, which is plod around the arena at a nice pace, with our head nice and low, and do our best to look good.

She was so good!
Our next class was english pleasure. Based on the two previous classes, I wasn't getting my hopes up. There were 13 horses in the class and Lilly did really well. I just let her trot at her speed and she took me for a nice ride. She hit both of her leads and we had a really nice canter both ways. We were even complimented after the class by some of the exhibitors saying how nice her canter looked. I was very surprised to hear my name called for second place, but I was very excited! It made me wonder if we would have placed better in the previous classes had I not pushed her to move out... all the more reason to scrap the whole idea at the next show.

For some crazy reason, I also entered us in the equitation class. It's a walk/trot class, even though I wish they had canter classes as well. PAC sees any walk/trot class as walk/trot, so even though it's an equitation class, I get points in walk/trot instead of equitation. Quite a few of my walk/trot PAC points are from equitation classes.

Equitation pattern
Anyway, I looked at the pattern and thought it was something Lilly and I would do really well with. She's an excellent horse for doing a sitting trot, which might seem strange since she has such a short stride, but I can sit her trot really well. It always feels very smooth. I knew we'd nail the pivot at the end of the pattern too, so it was up to me to make nice, round circles, and figure out how to do two point at the trot.

Don't laugh! I can't remember the last time I did two point! LOL

The last time I entered the eq class, there were five of us. This time around, people just kept entering the ring, and it didn't stop until there were EIGHTEEN of us in there. I was like, "holy cow" and chatted with the girl next to me about how big the class was. Lilly and I did our pattern somewhere around the middle of the pack. I was surprised by how many of the horses didn't pivot, but mostly everyone had a nice pattern. I was SO nervous when it was our turn, but was trying to just stay calm and relaxed so Lilly wouldn't get nervous. Sometimes, if we have to start the pattern at a cone, Lilly goes sideways instead of forward when I ask her to move off. The cues are very different, so I'm not sure why she thinks I want her to move over, but it happens. This time, she jogged right off. I knew from then on, we were going to rock this pattern. And rock it we did... everything felt really good! The circles felt good, the two point felt good (no idea how it looked, but hey...), her pivot was perfect, and she backed up nice and straight. I trotted to the line up feeling REALLY good. We watched everyone else do their pattern, and then we headed out to the rail. I transported myself back to my 4-H days, trying show off my best equitation skills. In reality, I was hoping I wouldn't look terribly awful out there on the rail and ruin our fancy pattern.

I was SUPER SUPER excited to hear my name called for first place!

We had another short break before our western classes, so I was able to tend to Lilly's leg and run some more cold water on it. She still seemed to be just fine, so I put some more Swat on, and we changed into our western gear. It was a really hot day, and it was getting late, so I scratched two of the western classes we were going to enter and just did the walk/jog stock and adult classes.

Western pleasure pony!
I thought the classes went really well. She was much more relaxed than last time, and wasn't chomping on her bit at all. She was very consistent, and I was very happy with how she looked. We ended up with an 8th place out of 12 in the stock type, and a 5th out of 11 in the adult class. Not what I would have given us, but I was very happy with her.

Here's a recap of our placings for the day:
Halter Stock Type = 8th out of 10
Showmanship Adult = 1st out of 3 (1 PAC Point)
English Walk/Trot Stock Type = 8th out of 13
English Walk/Trot Adult = No Place out of 16
English Pleasure = 2nd out of 13 (3 PAC Points)
English Equitation = 1st out of 18 (6 PAC Points)
Western Walk/Jog Stock Type = 8th out of 12
Western Walk/Jog Adult = 5th out of 11

We ended up winning reserve champion in the adult division, but I didn't find that out until later, so I don't have a picture of Lilly with the ribbon. We left pretty much right after our last class because I wanted to get her home, so I got it in the mail the other day.

Reserve champs!
Overall, we didn't place as well in our division classes as we did last month, but I feel like we had a much better show this time around. She was so good and so relaxed, and I just can't top the feeling I had after the equitation class. I saw some of my usual friends, some friends I haven't seen in a while, and we just had a really great day.