Three days before the show we buckled down in more English-esque schooling. Suzie was still quite resistant to the contact but after really pushing her forwards and in, she seemed to settle. She was being good, but I could just tell that she wasn't happy about the contact. And I can honestly say that Suz is certainly not an English horse. Not by any stretch.
|Bathing the night before.|
Evidently, English-style riding is certainly not Suzie's forte and I knew going in to the show that I should have no expectations. I simply wanted to cross off a few of my own personal goals which included: keeping Suzie calm/cool, and being in control and having a good show experience. There was no real need for placing - I simply wanted to give Suzie a good experience and to see how reactive she'd be in an effort to prepare for the BVX show at the end of August.
The morning of the show, I was skeptical about how Suzie would be, but was hopeful it'd be a successful outing. We arrived about forty minutes before the first class, which was Halter. After neighing and carrying on, about twenty minutes before our class, Suzie decided to start eating her hay. I was pleased she was starting to settle down and quickly ran through some impromptu Showmanship schooling prior to heading into the ring.
Our first class, All Breed Halter (Mares) and I cannot remember how many of us were in the class. I think there was 5 or so? We did not place in this class which I was OK with, since there were some pretty nice horses in there. Suzie was well behaved in the class despite not setting up for inspection that well (although you could truly say it was more pilot error than horse error).
|Awful trailer photo.|
Next was the AQHA Halter classes - Amateur Aged Mares. Suzie was a bit older than the other horses, I think. Also, we didn't set up very well either. I also found out that with the Registered horse classes we were being judged by two judges, which was a bit weird but a bit neat too. So we placed 3/3 under both judges for this class.
AQHA Showmanship ran afterwards and we had a pretty bang on pattern. There were three of us in the class. Our pivot was a bit messy but it was decent enough. , but we placed 1st under one judge and 2nd under the other judge.
After a break, Hunt Seat Eq (Open) was our next class and it was a pretty simple pattern. We botched our one transition after the cone, where Suzie decided to turn into a porpoise. We redeemed ourselves for the rest of the pattern, which was good. I honestly do not recall our placing in this class, although I think it was 7th or something to that effect. The class had about 12 other horses in it.
Hunt Seat Eq (AQHA) began and she was hot off my aids again. She felt a bit unhinged and nervous so I did my best to try and regulate her uneasiness by steadying with my outside aids and really trying to compress her. She resisted against the contact and although we completed the pattern without major faults, she was rushy, tense and bracey the entire time. Imagine my surprise when we placed 1st out of 3 under one judge and 2/3 from the other.
|Mid-chew. Hooray for lack of media.|
Both English Pleasure classes (Open and AQHA) were going to be our bigger challenge since we would be showing with other horses in the ring with us for the first time. I wanted to keep it simple and try to really calm her down and relax her brain. She fought with me the entire trip in the Open class and at one point pigrooted and halted very suddenly in the corner after I asked her to bend and be supple right before a canter departure. She took enormous offense and the remainder of our classes consisted of her looking like a spooked Ayrab.
Despite her "hotness", I didn't feel in danger at any time... It just felt like I was sitting on rippling ocean; every inch constantly moving with agitation and at any moment a small storm could break out. Any cue from my legs sent her bursting forwards and any rein contact caused resistance.
In truth, we were a hot mess.
But we did have good moments. When I remembered to sit the hell up, relax and RIDE we felt better as a team. It wasn't the best, nor was it anything truly note-worthy, but it was better than previous shows and rides.
It was a good experience, although I hesitate to truly show Suzie in a breed-show again (there was nothing wrong with the organizers or any of the classes, I just felt as though the classes were quite different from what I was used to). We did get what we wanted and that was experience. The placings were just icing on the cake and obviously, if we are placing and placing somewhat well, we are doing something right... right?