Sunday, October 5, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Soon Beats Fancy Warmbloods at First Dressage Show!!

I kind of don't have sufficient words for how proud, excited, and just completely happy I am with Soonie right now (more than usual!).  He did his first dressage show today, just a little schooling show at our barn, and did Training Level 1 and Training Level 2.  This whole thing was a last second decision for me; I decided that despite my current aversion to showing, that it would be a shame to waste a good opportunity for Soon to get some more experience.  So I said "screw it," signed up, and decided that maybe I should go learn the tests.  Because I haven't ridden a proper dressage test at a show in about 8 years?  And goodness knows I don't flat school using dressage tests, so...Soonie and I had never done a dressage test before last Wednesday.  The tests we rode in the show were his fifth and sixth time doing a test, ever.

 Basically, I tried to remember my professional days and not embrace the age-old Amateur approach to horse showing:  Blind Panic.

...and for the most part, it seemed to have worked.

He was great schooling on Saturday, if anything was maybe a little too quiet, but he walked in the ring Sunday when it mattered and went to work.  Test 1 went very smoothly, but the judge commented afterward that he was a bit low, bordering on the forehand, and needed to come up.  That didn't surprise me, since we're still working on that "up and out" part in our riding now.  I felt the test was good and was completely thrilled with how Soonie went, but I was shocked to find out afterward that we had won!  The class was mostly warmbloods, some very experienced, some others extremely fancy (one young mare in particular is lovely in every way, true quality horse!), and this little Thoroughbred with about five minutes of dressage test experience beat them all.  We scored a 69.375% and just edged out that gorgeous, fancy mare who had a 68+%.

Soon got to hang out in his stall during lunch break, then we went back in for Training 2.  I took the judge's comments from the first test and sought to improve his way of going for the next test, so I tried to get him shorter, higher, and more energy.  I feel like this was the better ridden test, and definitely the test that he looked better in, but that gorgeous mare settled and knocked this class out of the park (rightfully so, they had a good ride).  Soonie and I scored a 69.64% and the judge stated he had improved since the first test.  Improvement, yay (and in one test no less)!  We came in second, and just missed out on Reserve Champion for the day.  We'll take our first and second place ribbons and be extremely happy with those!  :)

Something neat happened after Soonie and I finished.  A woman caught me in the parking lot and said, "Thank you!  That was a pleasure to watch."  I thought she was talking to someone else, but nope, she was looking directly at me.  I thanked her profusely.  It was just Training level, but what a lovely thing to hear.  Ribbons are one thing, but there's something about feedback that just feels good.  Goodness knows between his greenness and my lack of understanding of a 20-meter circle, it could have been way uglier....

Yes, it's just a little schooling show, but I'm just over the moon with how he was today.  It was like just any other day on the farm, nothing bothered or impressed him, he was very relaxed and happy to work.  He played horse show like a true veteran, handling the multiple rides like a champ.  It was a great day, a wonderful show put on by our barn owner, and it was such a fun time.  Many thanks to my amazing barnmates who came out to help groom and do video, I love you girls!  Everyone is unbelievably supportive of one another here. I love this place and I love my horse so, so much!

Back on Track sheet and braiding!  Pampered!

Down the center line in Training 2

Good job, Soonie!

So proud of him

Best horse ever <3

Happily cribbing away to celebrate