It's raining here in Indiana on this Memorial Monday, which means I finally have time to sit in front of the computer and report on the weekend.
It was the first show of the season for my S and H Stables students and they were all really excited. I was too. We had worked hard over the winter to gain new skills, improve old ones, and finally move some of our students out of the beginner rider division.
This is Libby on Coco (one of our school horses) in their last lesson before the show
It was a small show--our barn, two others, and then a few individuals here and there. We thought the show would be over by early afternoon. But Lucky Farms decided that their students needed to ride in every possible class that they could. We were there until 5 pm because of seven riders, mostly competing against themselves. But all in all, it was a good day and lots of fun.
Most of our students rode in the beginner divisions, and we had varying degrees of success. Not a lot of firsts--I think we need to work a lot on getting that lower leg absolutely quiet, and picking up the correct canter lead the first time. I'm still really proud of everyone though because they had good attitudes and gave their best efforts. Also, it's hard for a $500 horse to beat out a $50,000 horse. Yes, we need to work harder, but I'm not sure we'll ever stack up to that kind of competition. Even the judge said we looked pretty good, but we won't be able to beat that kind of competition.
The surprise of the day was Amy and O'Ryan. Remember that cute TB I was gushing about last year? The one with the bowed tendon? Well, he's doing great! He wasn't supposed to be in the show at all, but Jeanne (B/O) noticed that one of the 2ft divisions only had one competitor and she asked if we could put anyone in that division to give the girl some competition. We tossed Amy in on O'Ryan. She's never jumped him before, and only ridden him a handful of times. She's one of our best riders though. They got first in both of their O/F classes! I'm not entirely sure they deserved it both times, but WOW!
The big moment for me and my students though was the 2'6" division. I have four students showing in this division this year (though only three were showing on Saturday). That's the highest anyone in our barn is jumping. And I'm really proud of them. I convinced the girls to try the 2'6" children's medal class and prepared them as best I could. I told them the course would be similar to the jumper rounds they were already signed up for. I told them there would be a flat portion and they may be asked to ride without stirrups or do a test. It was all the judges discretion. I told them that they would probably all get their asses kicked because the other three competitors had been doing this longer and had super fancy, nice horses. And then I told them to just have fun. What I did *not* expect was that the judge would ask them to counter-canter! Gah! Have not worked on that with my girls at all! Boy did I feel like a chump!
Still, I was really pleased with everyone. I don't know what medal competition is like anymore around the rest of the country, but here in Indiana it's pretty sad. A lot of medal classes today look awfully similar to hunter classes. This worked to our advantage because Angie, my good friend and the course designer for all things hunter/eq at our barn, made a good, "old-fashioned" fabulous medal course. Those three girls on their fancy-scmancy horses? Couldn't remember course! Going into the flat portion, the playing field was pretty level. And then there was that counter canter! Oh, I could have cried! But then, none of those fancy-scmancy horses picked up their counter canter on the first try. Every one had to try a second time. Now, two of our riders didn't ever manage to get it, but one of my girls did. Emily and Apollo were the only ones to get the counter canter on the first try and hold it for the whole test! I was so proud.
Sarah and Priority held their own, despite the fact that Pri is most definitely not a hunter type!
Libby and Coco on course
In the end, Emily got third, Libby got fourth, and Sarah got sixth. I think she could have placed better but priority had a refusal.
After that, it was time for the jumper classes. Or rather, the Emily and Sarah show! I couldn't believe it. Emily and Sarah and one other girl were the only ones signed up to do any jumper classes. At least that part of the show went by quick. They again did the 2'6" division, mini jumpers. It was a little rough. The judge was tired. Jeanne was tired. Everyone was tired. They didn't give the girls a chance to really walk their courses. The girls were hot and tired. But they did their best. Emily got first in one class, Sarah first in the other. I was really proud of them.
Sarah and Pri in their element
Emily and Apollo also doing what they do best
So yes, they rocked my world. There are things to work on, but I am SO PROUD of them. Can't wait for the next show. Heck, can't wait for the next lesson.