His warm up round was very nice. Unfortunately, during the over fences portion of the classic class, Diane and Patrick got way too close to the first fence, a long approach to a single, straight fence. As a result, Patrick did not have enough space to pick up his feet in front of him and knocked a rail down on his way over the fence. Diane was kind of upset with herself about it. She said later that she did not see a take off spot approaching the fence and instead of leaving Patrick alone to find a spot for himself, she took back on the reins, causing him to shorten his stride and get way too close to fence. Like a good horsewoman she praised Patrick for doing his best to clear the jump in spite of the difficulties. Many horses might have refused the fence or protested after the fence, but Patrick did neither and continued on unfazed with what would have otherwise been a fairly competitive round.
I was only disappointed because taking a rail down is a serious fault in hunter ring, so I knew the judge would have to score the round accordingly. I wanted to know how Patrick would stack up against the nice group of horses in the class, but with a major fault, it was impossible to compare the ride to the rest of the rounds which only had minor faults.
Diane and I did really enjoy participating in the qualifier classes and the Dover Classic Finale this season. The Blacked Eyed Susan Horse Show management did a really nice job running the class. It was great to see a class like this offered at the local level. It was fun to work toward the goal of qualifying. Show management treated the qualifying specially by sending out official invitations to the finale, providing special prizes (embroidered saddle pads, neck ribbons) and doing a victory gallop after the class results were announced. A custom tack trunk was provided to the finale winner. The venue was nice and a water and drag of the ring was performed right before the class to ensure the best possible ring conditions. For the finale, most of the competitors put a little extra effort into turning out their horses, braiding, etc, so it was a nice looking bunch. In a sea of local horse show classes, it was really nice to do something that felt a little different and special. I would definitely consider doing it again next year. Maybe I will be unpregnant and actually able to ride my own horse!