The show started bright and early with classes starting at 7:30, meaning registration/warm-up was at 7:00. Since I live 45 minutes from the barn and needed to longe beforehand, I ended up having to wake up at the seriously dark hour of 4.
We entered the warm up and it was quite busy, with not nearly enough room on the rail for people to pass safely around each other given the jump placement. The energy was very calm, though, even though it was crowded. Laurie was busy riding another client's horse so I just marched Hemie in there and put him to work. I didn't even give him an opportunity to looky-loo at the exciting water jumps or the scary wood piles in the corner - strait to WORK! He responded great. We did a nice flat warm-up and then we cruised over a few fences. I had a chance to take him over all the jumps that would be in our courses and we did great.
We entered 3 classes total: a non-judged warm-up round, AA Hunters, and Handy Hunters. Our warm-up round went fine - nice and fluid and forward. Our Hunter round was okay - we had an extra stride in every line than would be normal. The Handy Hunters felt improved - I asked Hemie to get the correct strides and he obliged nicely. I'm fairly certain we had good lead changes throughout. The ring steward informed me that I had forgotten to do the "test" elements in the Handy Hunter round (apparently we were supposed to trot a certain jump and halt after another one - I missed that on the course map) so I was disqualified from that round. But it didn't matter - I felt like a winner because we did what we came to do: have a safe, solid warm up and a solid competition performance.
Amazingly we were done by 8:15 am. We took the ponies home and put them away. I decided to head back and watch some of the other competitions and support Laurie's second round of clients competing. Just for kicks I decided to see how we ended up in the placings. Prepare to be amazed.
1st out of 8 entrants!
|Well, one of us was happy to win!|
Apparently the judge liked our Hunter round, even though we added 1 stride to each line. Maybe because we were at a consistent pace throughout? I don't really "get" the nuances of hunter competition yet. Anyway, this is an awesome milestone because it's our first blue ribbon where we actually beat other competitors (versus being the only person in a division, lol).