Friday we got to the show grounds with minimal issues. I haven’t been here in over 20 years and this place has changed drastically. It took us a while to figure out where our stall was and how to get to it. But we got Ava unloaded and settled in just fine.
We’re camping on the show grounds. Apparently showing up on Friday means you have slim pickings on spots. But we wedged our way into one. We brought our yellow Lab, Dax, with us and he happilly greeted all our new neighbors.
Once we’d unpacked and gotten organized I had a lesson with Roz in the evening. Ava was fine until we got to the warm up ring and saw the flags and banners flapping. She was tense, excited, but not out of control. And she let me take control and help her relax (thank goodness).
Friday night I could barely sleep. I tossed and turned and finally gave up trying at 4:30am. My first ride was at 8:40am. I was so nervous, excited, and apprehensive that I couldn’t sit still.
I was so lucky to have Roz here to coach me through a warm up on Saturday. We focused on getting Ava listening to half halts, and then on adjustability forward and back. When it was our turn to go I felt like Ava was ready.
As soon as I entered the show arena I felt Ava tense. We made our lap past the judges booth and then the bell was rung.
We entered at A and Ava was entirely between my aids. We trotted down that center line like we owned it! Our halt was spot on and our trot off was prompt, soft, and drama free. We made the first turn and directly into medium trot. I asked, Ava promptly fell on her forehand. I half halted hard and asked again. We got a little more length, but it wasn’t good. Our travers were good for Ava, our cirlces were spot on, our canter was to die for (best canter I’ve ever had on her). And then our last movement was the dreaded medium trot again. Ugh. I get her shoved into the corner hard, and ask for as much collection as she can pull off, and then I ask for the medium.
And then she gave it. Like it was no big deal. It felt amazing. It was the first time I’ve ever been able to sit the medium trot with any modicum of self-respect. I was so thrilled with it that I really wanted to quit right there and reward her. Screw the test! That was a real medium trot, and the first one we’ve EVER gotten.
All we had left was to go down the centerline. Again, Ava was right there with me. Solidly straight and forward down that center line. We halted, saluted, and I walked Ava out of the arena.
Within 5 minutes we had our score. We got a 67.105%. My highest score ever, and we won first place out of four riders. I got to pick out my choice of glassware (I chose a coffee mug), and we got a nice blue ribbon to hang on the stall.
I couldn’t believe we won!
We then began the 7 hour wait for the next class. Yuck. 😉
The show grounds.
Everyone’s horse was acting up.
Our temprary barn.
The warm up rings were chaotic. I haven’t ridden with that many people in one ring in forever. It’s definitely an acquired skill.
Everyone stops us and asks what breed Ava is, and comments on her blue eye’s. She has a fan club here.