This was only compounded when somehow I neglected to check that ALL the saddles were in the rented truck (love RelayRides) and we showed up at 6:45AM with two saddles (and six horses at the facility). Much gratitude to the Saddle Express who bolted back to Los Gatos, collected the necessary supplies, and sprinted back in time to really save us.
A result of reading and coaching for dressage tests for an hour and a half straight led me to missing the .7m classes with Kat.
Next time, if I have more than three kids coming with me, please tell me that I am INCAPABLE of riding my own horse. Like... please just get that idea out of your head, Kate. Between splitting myself between dressage and hunter warm ups, it was a lot of jogging back and forth.
Enough about the mistakes, let's get to what was WONDERFUL about Saturday.
Alex/Diva - Alex rode his mare beautifully. There was a miscommunication in the warm up where Diva asked if he was serious about jumping it and he replied with a very neutral maybe and she wheeled away and he sorta just swung off and landed on his feet. He was nervous about getting back on, but he didn't lose his nerve entirely and ended up riding super well in the .8m class. He also hopped into the hunter ring because they were ticketed rounds and it's good for Diva to see as many different types of fences as possible, and he went back in because he thought the course was fun. Love it! No refusals in the show ring. For a five year old mare, she's a pretty unbelievable animal.
E/Diva - E rode Diva in Training test 1 and identified a few holes in her training (ie when you get her soft in the bridle she suddenly feels like she's stuck in mud and forgets how to move forward... and when you get her really forward into the bridle she tries to yank your arms out so that needs some work, but...) regardless she rode a pretty excellent 67% to beat me and Kat in Diva's third dressage test ever.
Andy/His Rider - Andy took a young girl to her very first horse show ever. It was adorable. They rode Intro a, b, and c, and ended up winning the intro b class together. This young rider is focused, dedicated, and thoughtful beyond her years - it's a pleasure to introduce her to the competitive aspect of the sport. Before she left the grounds she was already talking to me about how she wants to work on her geometry to improve her tests. (9 years old!) She also rode her first hunter courses and Andy was a superstar babysitter and she came out with a huge smile on her face. I love it when shows are that easy for the rider, it's such a confidence builder.
Chente/V - Chente came off the trailer sore again.... something about trailering is just really unpleasant for him and seems to compromise his ability to move. That fact notwithstanding, V rode a great first dressage test with him and gave us lots of things to work on at home, and even though Chente announced he was pretty done in the hunter ring, she kept a fantastic attitude, jumped him in the warm up ring until it was nice, and called it a day. She hung out and was super supportive and a great team member for the rest of us throughout the day.
Dart/A - Dart was trailered over the morning of the show and started his morning out by ripping the lead away from V and galloping away. His attitude didn't exactly change much as the day bore on. He exited the dressage arena in her second test and had a major bug about one jump in the hunter ring. But A's flying changes have never been better! Silver linings everywhere.
GingerPony/M - Saturday was an excellent schooling day: we got the pony to see all the different filler etc in the ring, we made it a good experience, and they even put in a lovely dressage test. I did sort of do something embarrassing.... they were having a difficult time with a few fences and I transformed into Coach from Nightmares Past wherein in I BELLOWED what I wanted her to do the whole time "SIT UP, USE MORE LEG, SOFTER HANDS, ENGAGE YOUR CORE, TALK TO HER AND PET HER MAKE HER FEEL SO BRAVE" I mean seriously guys I yelled so much. It was embarrassing. I know better. I know other people do it, but it's part of my philosophy that riders, once they're in the show ring, are on their own. This is how I assess my training program, this is how I take a step back and get fresh eyes. And instead I just yelled a lot. Oh well, I got better.
Katarina/E - E rode Kat amazingly, especially considering the sub-zero warm up time they got for their first test. I loved watching them go. E has a fantastic view of the training and riding of the horse and this show was LONG overdue for her - a good experience where her skill actually earns her some accolades. I left her alone to warm up for her second test and even though Kat offered the wrong lead she kept a smile on and just rode through it - again a testament to her longer view on training and not just on winning today.
Kat/Kate - I missed the .7m class so I ended up riding her in the .8 and .9s instead of the .7s and .8s. I do have to say that I love this horse. I love her so much. I can't even explain how much I love her. But you readers know - you feel these same things for your horses.
The warmup was good. She waffled in front of the fences but when I sat down she moved up nicely to the fence.
Our first round she was super except for the photographed moment below - she said no and I said yes and the result was a demolition.
I hit the ground after the last fence and we circled and I felt nearly sick - I must have been more nervous than I credited myself with.
Our second round felt great between the fences, but over the fences we had a few WTF moments:
We went clear that round despite some funky moments.
Really it all came together for the last round of the day. The course was excellent with a lot of bending lines and tons of options for how to ride it - my favorite sort of jumpers course. Kat had realized what we were doing, she'd started to understand the goal, and for one of the first times since I've been riding her I was able to just enjoy the ride and not worry about whether she was going to take the fence. I knew she'd jump it, I knew she'd keep listening to me and not take over. And it felt like magic.
We didn't go clear in the .9 meters, the last two classes of the day. The first time through I put her into a bad distance and it messed the line up, and the second time through we hung a leg and pulled the second fence in the combination.
Our dressage test (training 1) was nothing to write home about with a score of 64.78. I was pleased with how well she listened to me, was fairly happy with our geometry, and knew leaving the arena what we needed to work on to make it more successful in the future. Score!