Sunday, July 15, 2018


Alternate title:  White gloves are magic

Gotta admit, I was not eager to start this weekend.  Due to my inability to manage a calendar, I had an evening 5k on Saturday followed by my second rated dressage show of the year.  In Massachusetts.  And my first ride time was 9:30am.  This does not bode well for me.  A late night, then a horse show?  And a facility Theo's never visited.  I last visited this farm in 2005 with my horse Allen to do jumper shows.  My memories are a bit fuzzy.

I was very grown up and started my prep days ahead of time.  I had my horse bathed, braided, and ready to roll by 10:30am on Saturday.  By the time I left for my 5k, my trailer and truck were completely packed and I'd even given them a wash.  I told the hubby that he was sleeping in the guestroom so he wouldn't wreck my sleep by coming to bed at 1am.  I ended up with 5.5 hours of solid sleep, a shocking amount for me when I have a 4:30am wake up call.

I arrived at the show grounds bright and early, nabbing myself an absolutely premo parking spot.  Pull in, pull out, at the end of the row so Theo had a ton of space.  The parking was nutty in the middle of the day, I wouldn't have found a spot.  My backing skills still lack a lot.  I had time, so I lolly gagged.  I unloaded my horse to give him a good groom and discovered that he had somehow managed to rub out every single braid even with the sleazy on.  Every.  Single.  ONE.  REALLY?!?!

Not civilized

He's been in rubber band braids as of late due to his mane being stupid.  Another rant for another post.  I slammed some new braids in and forced myself to not freak over the fly aways.  After our last show, perfect braids were not my focus.  It's the same reason why I decided to wear my white gloves for the first time.  Marching around, doing the job, and staying in front of my leg were far more important than braids or my glove color.  I might as well ride in my beautiful new gloves that I've been saving for nearly a year.  I'll never really feel ready for them, so no point in waiting.

An awkward moment in a really good test (my friend has never photographed horses before), but hey, white gloves!  It's the moment of stepping (falling?) into canter.  But that turnout is totally on point.

I rode over to ring 2 and it was perfect for him.  Sand ring with warm up right alongside.  One judge booth, totally standard.  Sure, there were spectators on the hill and runners and all the usual commotion, but he's used to that now.  He seems more comfortable with spectators on one side where he can clearly see them.  A friend that knows nothing about horses came to keep me company and managed to keep me distracted and utterly chill.  I didn't turn into an alien because my friend never got tense or anxious or nervous.  We chatted about work until it was time for me to go.

We had one moment of sucking back while I was working around the ring and Theo saw some dumpsters that couldn't be seen from warmup, but it wasn't bad.  Put him above the bit for some movements while he tried to see what was going on over there, but he really was fantastic.  I also blew a transition when I forgot what letter to aim for.  C, M, whatever.  One day, one day I will get through an entire test without wondering where the hell I'm going.   But Theo was with me, focused, obedient.  I got my score of 64% and bounced up and down with excitement.  I even got a 6th place ribbon in a big class.  The judge wanted him more consistently on the bit, a valid comment with his moments of distraction and something I could totally fix for my second test.

Reading our first test together

We spent a couple hours chilling and stuffing food in Theo's face.  It was getting hot so my warm up for my second test was short and in the indoor.  When I moved outside, I heard the announcement that jackets were waived.  I was next in the ring so I started throwing off clothes so fast you'd think I was getting paid.  The steward knew I was there on my own so she grabbed my coat and stock tie for me, I really appreciated that.  I just barely made it, I was still adjusting my collar as I headed in for my test.

So much eating

Apparently keeping me distracted and relaxed works wonders.  Also riding my horse just like we're at home is a good thing.  The test felt really good.  He was so calm and confident, riding a test he knows and that feels easy for him.  That seems to be the key with Theo, that the tests are so easy that he never crosses over to negative tension.  Leg yield?  He can do that in his sleep.  Ten meter trot circle?  Pffft, whatever.  He even gave me a decent push in his lengthens despite the heat.

We got a freaking 67% for our First 3 test.  Third place in a big, competitive adult amateur class.  I almost started crying.  After our last show when I felt so defeated, to have a rated judge give me a score that says 'yes, you did it, and you did it well' felt amazing.  I finally rode a test like we do at home and we got a score better than I thought we would see.  I was hoping/praying/begging for a 64% while I waited for our scores.  I'd never even dreamed I'd see at 67%.

Winner winner chicken dinner

I know variations in scoring between judges can be huge.  But that's two 3rd place ribbons in classes of similar size at the same level.  Scores aside, I am starting to move up past the middle of the pack.  I guess that means we're ready to move up again after all.

Freestyle and Second Level, here we come!


  1. Aww congratulations! I am super happy you had a great show and you went out there and did the thing. Sometimes you gotta break out your fancy gear (like your gloves) otherwise they may just end up collecting dust on the shelf for years.

  2. " I started throwing off clothes so fast you'd think I was getting paid." OMG lol.

    I'm so glad things went well!