Monday, September 12, 2016

Woodside Pony Club Combined Test

I got to the horse park around 6:30am to muck out, feed and groom Cupid, and prepare for our dressage test.  I decided to just use my jumping saddle for both phases because I'm more comfortable in it.  Since we were among the first groups the warm up arena was not too crazy.  It was the same arena we rode in yesterday.  My trainer was riding right after me on her young horse (who was at his first show!) so we warmed up together.  We walked around a few minutes to let the horses settle in.  Then we trotted some 20 meter circles, did a few shorten and lengthenings at the trot, a little shoulder-fore, and cantered both directions though we wouldn't be cantering in the test.
Heading to dressage with Cupid's new friend, also an ex-racehorse

My number was called as the next up.  I started trotting around the outside of the dressage court, and Cupid was a little startled when he saw the judge and scribe in the booth!  We rode by it yesterday and he had no problem, I think he wasn't expecting to see people in there.  So he took a few sideways steps and dropped to a walk.  I reassured him and let him walk past the booth, then we picked up the trot again and I did a little shoulder fore to get his attention.  Then we entered the ring.  I thought our first halt was pretty good.  We could have been a little quicker going back into the trot after, we took several walk steps first.  I thought the rest of the test went pretty good.  Could have been a little more forward, but I was happy with it until the final halt, which was not great Cupid wasn't quite still.  But overall I was really happy!

We had about 90 minutes until our jumping round, so we went back to the stall and untacked and Cupid got several carrots.  I wish I had given myself a little more time to warm up again before jumping.  The jumping warm up arena was a little busier, and Cupid had a little spook which unnerved me.  Then the jumps were occupied, then they were resetting them, and I heard my name called before we even did any warm up fences!  I jumped one really quick and headed over to the show ring - I was a little late and kind of got scolded.  I heard the judge announce that you need to stop and salute before starting your round - I did not know that so I was lucky I heard the announcement because several riders got chewed out for it.
Our course - more complex than I expected!

We entered the arena and Cupid whinnied.  Then he was a little distracted by the horses in the turnout paddocks behind the ring, one was banging her bucket around.  So between the spook in the arena, only having one warm up jump, being rushed and running late, and then Cupid seeming distracted, and a somewhat tricky course, I was not feeling confident at all and went very conservative trotting between all the jumps.  I had a little too tight hold on Cupid's head, and we had one rail down.  Cupid was really good, I just should have loosed up a bit.  I was happy with Cupid but a little disappointed in myself, but it was a learning experience and hopefully next time I can relax a little more.

After jumping Cupid met my 6 month old niece, since my sister and brother in law had come to watch.  He seemed curious about her, and was very gentle.  He kept reaching his nose towards her, and she touched him and even stuck her fingers up his nostrils and he was very good!  It was really cute.  In three years maybe they will be doing lead line classes together!

We went back to the barn to untack, and I was horrified to find blood on both of Cupid's bell boots.  Normally I use fleece lined ones because they seem comfortable, but I never thought they were strictly necessary.  I used plain rubber ones for the show and they rubbed the backs of his pasterns raw.  I felt really bad that happened, poor Cupid!!  They were only on him for about 20-30 minutes.  :(  Cupid seemed very tired afterwards, just not quite his normal happy self.  Even though it wasn't too much work physically I guess it was a lot of excitement for him.

My score for dressage was 63.438%.  Pretty much all my scores were between 6 and 7, and I think one 7.5.  In all honesty I was expecting it to be higher, but I guess it was fair.  I was hoping to do better than what I got at the Halloween show last year (39.1, translating to 68.1%), and I still think we did better but that test was scored more generously.  Since our division was small we still got a ribbon.

You can see Cupid looks a little tired, but I am very proud of him
Originally we were planning to do a little cross country schooling in the afternoon before leaving, but decided maybe the horses (and riders!) had enough for one day so packed and headed home.  I washed Cupid's wounds and sprayed alushield on them since ointment would just draw too much dust and dirt that close to the ground. 
Poor Cupid :(

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