On the plus side, they moved our forecast back down to 90*. Better? It's still the hottest it's been on that day since 2002, but who's counting. At least it wasn't record shattering heat like originally forecasted.
Fluffy braids are not appropriate for night before braiding, even with a sleazy on. They just didn't look as nice and I had one braid that looks like Theo got after it. Not a problem with tight braids, looser braids collapsed. I guess I'm back to smaller, tighter braids. Though the effect right after I did them was lovely.
My first test was everything I could want from Theo at a show. He warmed up nicely. He went in the ring like a gentleman and ready to work. Our test was soft, willing, good energy, nicely forward with no nagging. I worked very hard on not opening my inside rein and riding like I do at home. It was probably the best test we've done. 70% of my class got a 63.xx score. The difference between 3rd and 7th was 0.5%, so I'm very pleased with my 6th out of 10 score. It was a tie and we won out on our cumulative scores. Got a 7 for impulsion!
It was 90* degrees out for our second test. Theo was head down sound asleep when I went to get him out for our 2:25pm ride time. Hottest part of the day. He was panting a bit just standing there with his tack on before I mounted. I did a maybe ten minute warm up, just enough that he knew we were going to work. The humidity was down and we had a nice 10 - 15 mph breeze so he was working comfortably. Just didn't have the spring of his first test.
I did notice something. He was far, far more looky once the wind picked up. Having everything around him in motion mucks with his adorable little brain. His first test he handled the judge's booths well. The second test? He had to go behind one to get to our ring and noticed the back door propped open. After that, all of the judge's booths were terrifying. I had to bribe and struggle a bit to get him past the first one and on to his own ring. He did it for me and was in professional mode down centerline, but there was more tension. The unused judge's booth along the side was just not okay. That open back door was facing our ring and he was sure there were aliens in there.
From our UNH show in June, hoping our pictures from yesterday are even better
Good gravy my horse is beautiful
Sit your ass down, Catie
Error was my fault, I panicked and walked at A instead of turning for my second leg yield. I knew I needed a reader but my pride won out. I've learned too many tests in quick sequence to avoid errors right now. No big deal, leg yields were way better than anyone expected. Most of the time a horse that hasn't done lateral in a show gets confused that the sideways is suddenly in the little white box. Mi papi took it in stride and gave me very nice steps in both directions.
Our stumbling moment came when I asked him to lengthen canter while going past that judge's booth near B. He'd been keeping an eye on it the whole test but this time he got a little bump of the spur while cantering past it which turned concern into 'mom says run!'. We teleported about six feet off the rail and scooted. I lost a stirrup, which screwed up my next movement as I tried to get resettled. I was frantically trying to remember if I'd be penalized for finishing my test without stirrups and decided to pick it up to be safe. Theo popped right back to work by the time we hit M which was wonderful to feel, but damage done. We went from all 6 and 6.5 to several 4's and 5's. Also hit our collectives hard. Submission 5, rider effectiveness 5. Ouch.
But that was a move up test and I wasn't expecting anything more than a 60%. I definitely felt like he belonged there and that he was at the right level. It just wasn't his day. We both made mistakes and he was too tired to really power through to the end. C'est la vie.
I also have to remember that I've moved up. Stuff that would be seen as minor in Intro or Training tests are deal breakers at First. They expect your horse to be far enough along to keep it together even when there are probably aliens plotting world domination in the judge's booth. If I want to play with the big kids, I have to accept that what was good enough is no longer good enough.
I had so many people come up to us and ask about his breeding, his name, just him in general. He was the picture of soft, willing dressage horse. He's figured out life is full of cuddles and was trying to be a lap pony with anyone that would come and visit with him. Several people guessed he was an Oldenburg. I'm not going to argue with people thinking he's a fancy WB. One lady was riding her Canadian and pegged him as part Canadian from across the ring.
Gallery for June show photos
So I brought home lousy ribbons (last in my second test, 6th in my first test), but I left very happy. No hands July did quiet my hands down considerably and we're starting to see improved impulsion. He just can't maintain it in the heat yet. We've got many pounds of muscle to go. I didn't expect to get to First at all this season, so this is all icing on the cake. Now it's time to lock down and focus on Saugerties. One month to get ready.
I think I'm starting to look forward to it.