I should have known it would not be a smooth or relaxed thing, when midway through breakfast I thought I was going to hurl. I don't know why I was so stressed, since it really was more about learning what I needed to work on rather than thinking we were going to do great. Although, I think somewhere in the back of my mind I thought we would wow everyone. People would be throwing roses into the ring and wanting to touch Ashke.
Pride goeth and all of that.
Ashke was tense, hollow, unable to stand still, refusing to bend, head-tossing bundle of nervous horse. He was spooking at stuff he's never spooked at before. We were a mess. Here is our first Working Equitation Ease of Handling test, Level Intro.
If it had been a dressage test, we would have scored a 59%. I was off course on the bending poles, not having understood what the judge said, and wove them up and back. He spooked at the garouche pole, something that he didn't do yesterday. He was a hot mess. We tied for fifth place in a class that had six people in it. (Pretty pink ribbon)
Then we sat and fidgeted for about an hour and a half. I worked him some in the small arena. He would not stand still. He was incapable.
Then we did the second precision test: Level 1
You know, just for the record, I should have read the expectations and judging criteria before doing the show. It might have helped. Or, maybe not. He was better this round and the judge complimented me on his improvement. There were some very nice moments and we scored a 66%.
Then they held the speed rounds. This is where my little white horse rocks. He loves the speed rounds. He does flying lead changes in the speed rounds. He has already memorized the class and knew what we were going to do next.
Here is the Introductory Speed round.
We placed second, but it couldn't have been by much. Nicking the poll in the corridor with the bell cost us 5 seconds, but then we got -10 for knocking off the ball. And Ashke had a blast.
Then we ran the Level 1 speed run.
After the WE EOH part of the show, they offered a Western Pleasure class, an English Pleasure class and then at the very end of the day, they offered fantasy costume. Come to find out I should have had a story ready to tell the judge about me and my horse. I thought we looked pretty regal and we placed first (out of two people).
The pants are pirate pants. They were incredibly comfortable and I want twenty pair.
Two take aways from today:
1) I need to figure out how I am going to ride Ashke, which bit I am going to ride him in, and then stick with it. I need to stop trying to migrate back and forth and set out to get him to ride with contact in the shank bit, if that is what I am going to ride in. I need to work him every time I ride him: asking for contact, bend and impulsion. In so many ways, this is a dressage test done with obstacles. It's not going to be easy. I am really going to concentrate on practicing with the shank bit, because that is the way this discipline is ridden.
2) I need to put more miles on my horse. Show him at more shows. Practice, practice, practice. Rome was not built in a day and I do not have a made horse. I think he has the potential to excel at this sport, and he really loves the speed part of the course, now I just need him to work on the finesse and control for the precision part of the test. And I can't tell you how happy I am that he is able to do a flying lead change, now I just have to work on the cue.
J is happy there will be no more sparklies in the house for a while.
N is thinking that she might try her hand at the WE stuff, after all.
And as a bonus, Ashke walked on the trailer without hesitation going out and coming home. So did Cali. FTW.