The weather was perfect for a horse show. Not too hot. Not too cold. Not too windy. I had everything planned (and it all worked out). I got to the barn. Cleaned him up and braided him. I figured out how to braid his mane so it looked almost like I want them to, and he looked pretty in the new cooler I bought him. I cleaned my tack. Got lunch. Waited for our ride to show up.
We were all ready when the trailer pulled up. No one was more surprised than me when PJ just jumped in. Off we went. Since this was one of the last shows of the year at these show grounds, it was busier than normal. PJ came off the trailer and settled in pretty quickly – sort of. My friend got my number while my husband held the horse and I got dressed. He kept looking at PJ and saying “he’s so big; horses are so big.” Ha ha.
PJ started his warm up not paying attention at all. There was so much to see. The pinto acting up in the other ring. People walking their barking dogs. Other horses riding around him. With PJ there is a fine line between working him enough to get him listening and him being too tired. I’m still figuring out where that line is. I got him half-listening before our class but at least he wasn’t exhausted either.
Riding into the ring for our first class I regretted not working him more. He didn’t spook but he was looking at EVERYTHING: the photographer, the judges, the crowd on the rail (he was so pretty he drew a crowd). Then there was this woman in pink standing outside the rail by M. She was in bright pink against a shadowy background. PJ was very interested in her. Unfortunately, that’s where we had to do our canter depart. Because he was paying attention to the woman in pink and not to me I scared him into the canter and he literally jumped into it. The rest of the test went something like that.
So what to do for our second test? The woman who trailered us was showing in between my tests, so I kept PJ saddled (loose girth, of course) and me dressed and waited up at the ring. I got on, and practiced a canter depart in both directions (no problems) before watching my friend, who did great. Her horse is a 20-yo OTT TB. Very cute and a very good boy. Then I walked PJ around until my test, which was only a ride away. I made sure to walk PJ forward but I didn’t do any more work because I didn’t want to tire him.
My warm-up seemed to be just right (and the woman in pink wasn’t by the ring) because PJ was a world better in the second test. He was forward and listening. Our canter departs weren’t great but the rest of the work was solid. We got a 64% for third place! I saw the horse who I am sure who won the class – a big, beautiful Holsteiner ridden by a trainer; and I have a suspicion who came in second – a very steady pinto TB-cross who I found out later was trained to second or third level. I’ll have to check the scores when they are posted on-line, but that’s exactly where we should have placed today based on what I saw in the warm up. But I’m not satisfied with that. I’m going to work all winter, so that in the spring, PJ and I will be able to place second (we have no chance against the Holsteiner unless he has a horrible day).
We had to rush home because the person trailering us had to rush back and help take down the ring to fulfill her volunteer hours. Of course, that’s when PJ decided he didn’t want to get back on the trailer. We ended up having to take the other horse off, but 30 minutes later, PJ was loaded. It was only a 15-minute ride home but PJ came off the trailer dripping in sweat. Poor pony. I’m going to have to practice some more.
All in all a good day.