Maybe it was the timing of the show, the fact that it was March and that everyone was ready to get out and go show for the year. Or maybe it was that some rated riders wanted to go to this venue before the April rated shows that are held there. I don’t know. All I know is that the show was packed. It was huge. It ran from 8 in the morning until probably at least 10 at night (I was outta there by 7:30, but there was a lot left of the prizelist.)
I rode Patrick in two divisions in two rings under two judges. Julie rode him in the California style warm up in both rings. She had such good rounds that afterward she was like, “can I get a ribbon for my warm up round?”
Then I took him in a schooling hunter division and the MHSA rated pre-adult (2’6”) division. My largest class was 25 entries and my smallest class was 14. Like I said, huge show! Patrick really flipped the show pony “on switch.” He was a little bit like a jumping and showing machine in a fur suit. He basically auto-piloted his way around the courses. I would look down after a line of jumps to see if we needed a lead change, and he would already be in the process of doing the change. “Good horse, carry on…guess you’ve got this.”
My notoriously slow horse even needed a half halt in the outside 5 stride lines! My courses weren’t perfect. We had at least one minor missed distance in each class, but nothing terrible. I had one chip in one class that I’m sure looked pretty ugly. It was in an unrelated distance bending line that I had been riding in 9 strides. I thought Patrick was leaving the ground in 9 strides on this occasion, but he decided to chip in a 10th and I felt myself get ahead of him and I’m sure it was pretty obvious. He forgave me for the less than perfect ride to the fence and we went on to complete an otherwise strong course. Overall, the quality of our courses was pretty strong, although as I said, there was still room for improvement in each course. Patrick flatted well as usual but was stronger than usual, especially in the first hack. I actually had to half halt quite a bit in my first hack though he never misbehaved. Someone was a little excited to be at the big Spring show!
In the end, we placed in all six of our classes under two different judges, including 4th out of 24 in one of our over fences classes and 4th out of 18 in one of the hacks. I’ll take it! Sometimes a lower ribbon can be a lot more meaningful than a blue when you’re in big classes and good company!
Overall, this show was a really good experience. I, for whatever reason, was less nervous than usual and enjoyed the day catching up with friends and doing some riding. Julie was great support. I thanked her profusely for a 12 hour hunter show with me. She is more of an eventer person and enjoys having ride times, so a hunter show that drags on forever is kind of like death to her. We also had our friend Susan and her young event horse, Tempyst (of Retired Racehorse Training Project Challenge fame) along with us in the trailer and they are great company. In addition to the Woodbury Crew, we also got to spend time with friends from Blue Ring Farm and Love’s Rest Farm.