On Sunday morning I groomed Cupid, put him on the trailer, and we set off to a nearby farm for a dressage schooling show. This time we arrived with plenty of time before our first test! Cupid seemed pretty relaxed when we arrived. I tacked up and we headed to the warm up ring.
Cupid was pretty good warming up, though he didn't like one corner of the arena where there were some jumps and stuff stored. He also got startled when horses walked down the path behind the hedges along the ring. We walked around a few times, then trotted on a circle to get Cupid accepting my leg. We cantered each direction, then trotted a square each direction. Then it was show time!
We had about half an hour until our second test. At my trainer's suggestion I went back to the trailer and got off and let Cupid relax for about 10 minutes. He ate a little hay and drank some water, and seemed relaxed. I got back on and we went back to the warm up arena. Cupid was super! When it was time to head to the arena I was feeling really good, expecting we were going to have a great test. But, that was not the case.
From the moment we entered the arena Cupid was like a different horse, totally unsettled. He trotted around quickly, with his head high. He bucked into the canter! We careened around the 20 meter circle, I was probably pretty much up in 2 point. Then I forgot the test! The bell rang, luckily at this schooling show they let you continue. Cupid has been doing a great stretching trot, but he just giraffe-necked through it. However our free walk was quite good. Then we went back into trot, and Cupid picked up a canter a few strides before I could get him back down to a trot. We did our canter circle, went back down to a trot and I thought we were going to run over a squirrel that was in our path, which seemed like the cherry on top of this disaster. It was going so poorly I couldn't help but laugh. But our grand finale ended up being Cupid stumbling into the final halt, almost falling on his face.
I don't know what happened since Cupid had been so good all day, maybe he just had enough and was ready to go home. We got a score of 67% for our first test, and the comment said that Cupid was a "lovely horse who seemed to enjoy his work." On our second test we got comments of : naughty, rambunctious, and exuberant. It also said: "Tactful rider handles exuberant horse well. However, there needs to be
an improvement of overall bend, balance, and roundness to better meet
the requirements of this level."
I know Cupid and I are capable of much better, and hopefully next time it will come together. It was a good learning experience though. And since I was the only person in my division we came home with a blue and red ribbon.