Sunday, March 20, 2016

WEIAUSA B-Rated Show

at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo.

I realized about a week, okay, more like five days before the show that maybe this wasn't a schooling show and I didn't have the proper attire. See, because I ride in an Alta Escuela saddle (Spanish riding saddle) I have to wear Spanish riding attire. Do you know how easy it is to find Spanish riding clothes? Not easy at all. Through one of the people at HCWE I got ahold of Viva Iberica and they had a jacket they mailed me on Saturday for Monday delivery. She sent two jackets (the two largest they had) for me to try. Both were in charcoal grey. I figured if they didn't fit, I wouldn't show.

See, one of the biggest issues I have in showing is how I'm going to look doing it. I'm not so worried about how I'm going to do, but rather in how people are going to see me. It already sucks trying to find breeches or shirts in a size that fits, but the thought of trying to find a coat and wearing white breeches in front of other people has kept me from any real dressage shows. Now, I was facing the make or break point in Working Equitation. At some point, I need to cowboy up and put on the clothes. Ashke doesn't care how much I weigh or what I look like, he just cares about working with me. And having fun.

So, with the knowledge that a jacket was on it's way, I set out to put together the rest of my outfit. I got a pair of pants from Costco in dark grey (they matched the jacket exactly, even though I hadn't seen the jacket yet). Then J and I went to two different Joann's and found some spangly dangles that could be worked into caireles for the sides of my pants.

 Caireles. My interpretation.
Who knew you could use fishing spinners for so many things.

I had ordered a white shirt from Equestrian Collections that I thought would work for under the jacket and I was going to wear my paddock boots. On Monday, when the jackets were delivered I decided on one and tried it with the pants. It looked really good. The jacket had two scarves with it, but I wasn't really a fan of either one. You wear the scarf tied around your middle, where a belt would go, and it adds a hint of color to the outfit. I was trying to decided between the blue, white and pink  or the black, white and gold (none of which are my colors) when I happened to look up at the scarf hanging around a photograph on my wall. It was a scarf given to me by my bestie for our wedding and our cake set on top of it for the reception. It is a watercolor in blue, purple and rainbow colors. Perfect for me and Ashke.

It's funny that Spanish clothes are either really fancy - bright colors with lots of lace and fancy designs - or very plain. For working riding the clothes are plain, which includes dressage tests and working equitation. But not black. I was wearing dark grey, not black. Black clothing is reserved for funerals only. 

Thursday started really early, and despite a slight hickup in our drive to the Event Center, K and I made it in plenty of time to get tacked and warmed up before the show. J arrived about 7:20 or so and found me in the stall assessing Ashke's right front leg. He was a little puffy. No one else noticed, but I could see and feel it. I wondered if it was wind puffs (we had cantered a lot the day before) and it seemed to be, since the little swelling went down as soon as he started moving. I would have wrapped his front legs but they can't be wrapped for the dressage test.

We got out to the arena and warmed up before the show started. K had the first ride and she did pretty good considering she has only ridden the test one time the day before. I didn't watch any of the rides. Instead, I kept Ashke walking and moving so he would be loose and relaxed when it was our turn. We rode fourth. I decided about the time the second ride was happening, that I should find a bathroom.

 A friend from the barn who came to watch me ride took this pic.
It may be my favorite one of all time.

 Resting patiently.

K's ride was pretty good for her very first time showing, and only the second time riding the test. Eddy was a little strong, but they haven't really practiced the test and I expect that they will do better if K decides to keep going with this discipline.

Ready for our test.
Doesn't he look majestic?

Our dressage test.

We ended up with a 59 on the dressage. That put us in third place.

After the test, I took Ashke back to his stall, untacked and then iced his leg. After cold hosing for ten minutes or so, I put his BOT exercise boots on and gave him some hay. J and I watched the rest of the dressage rides and then I did the EOH walkthrough. There were fourteen obstacles for Novice in the following order: gate, pitcher, pick up the garroucha, livestock pen, ring, bridge, deposit the garroucha, figure eight, corridor with the bell, double slalom poles, three barrels, switch a cup, sidepass, jump and we were done. 

I ate a little bit, then tacked Ashke up and warmed him up.

I don't know why we had such an issue with the EOH. I don't know if his leg was bothering him (he was sound) or if he was still really tired and just wasn't feeling it. I had originally planned to canter between obstacles, but decided to just trot. I wasn't sure how willing he would be at the canter.

It was not our best ride.

We ended up with a 56.232 in EOH, which put us in fourth place.

There was only one phase left and it was the phase Ashke does the best in. I was certain I could place 1st, which might have put me in Reserve Champion. However, Ashke's leg was a bit more swollen when I pulled the boots off of him. I cold hosed him again and could see where he had interfered with himself the day before. It was on the inside upper fetlock. I scratched him. Although he was sound and willing, I wasn't willing to race him around a course and possibly do more damage to his leg. There are always other days. 

I am very happy that we were competitive for this show. I am very, very happy that WE is now operating with AA and Open classes, so I'm not competing against the professionals. I am also very happy with how supportive and kind the people doing WE in this area are: everyone was discussing routes and angles and approaches, with no thought of retaining an advantage over someone else. It was a great experience and a fun group of people.

And we won this.


  1. Congrads on a great weekend and a great experience! I love a good community of folks at a show. It's unfortunate you had to scratch, but it was a good decision. I hope Ashke heals up quickly!

  2. Congrats on the third, but sorry you had to scratch the final event. As someone who knows what it's like to show (and shop for show clothes) without the "perfect" body, I wanted to offer my two cents. It's hard. It's probably always going to be hard, because the newest and prettiest and flashiest things are always in a smaller size (in my experience). However, you're absolutely right. Ashke does not care what you look like, he just knows you as Mom and captain of your WE team! You are making huge advances and you looked GREAT in your new show clothes. That's what's important. Try not to think about what people might say or thing. From what I've learned, the ones who are most critical are usually envious that you're out there showing with a great horses versus sitting on the sidelines and criticizing people.

    1. It gets really depressing sometimes. But I did it. And I'll do it again in May. Hopefully, better.

  3. You look fantastic and the scarf around the waist is a great pop of color. Congrats on a great show.

  4. Congrats on the ribbon and congrats on getting out there. I'm sorry you had to scratch the last phase; that one looks like the most fun. I think your outfit looks great in the end and I'm impressed that you managed to put it all together on such short notice. Screw critical people. Haters are always going to hate. The ones who will hate on you for your size would just hate on you for your hair or your face or your money or whatever else instead in order to amuse themselves. Do what makes you happy.

  5. You guys looked fantastic. Those canter serpentines in the dressage test are to die for, btw! And love the blue scarf with the Spanish outfit. You two look like pros! Big congrats on the third place and on, above all, having fun! ;) I'm glad Ashke's leg is all better. <3

    Also, the fact that the ribbon is hanging next to Ashke's portrait made me grin! :D

    1. I have it hanging next to his pic in my office at work. :)