Back In The Show Ring

jods 2

Today is the first Winter Tournament show. I have two points in my favor.

(Photo of the other jods I bought at Nationals [Paisley]. Suitable for lessons and schooling shows. Cheetah-print knee patches will be hidden when mounted. Seriously, never shop tired.)

Point the first: Cantering
Since jumping is (usually) done a canter, I have cantered in a show ring far more than I have trotted. Plus, I am more comfortable at a canter and often train self and horse better at that gait. So, I should be sitting pretty. Sure, I could still pick up a wrong lead, but the mere idea of cantering at the show doesn’t freak me out.

The ideal saddleseat canter is as slow as possible while keeping the horse bouncy and active. It’s the same canter that one uses to slow down for a roll-back in a jump off. It is the exact opposite of a racehorse stretching as long as possible to go as fast as possible. Fast and flat is straightforward to achieve. Slow and bouncy, ditto. Where one gets the big jumps, big ribbons, and big money, is going fast but staying bouncy.

However, this may not help me much. Saddleseat is all about the trot. As I understand the standard, an equitation judge will never say, OMG, look at that canter, I must place this person first. The best I can hope for is not to lose whatever credit I have gained at the trot.

Remember the fast yet bouncy canter for jumping that is so hard to get? That’s the tempo saddleseat wants at the trot.

Point the second: Work-off

pattern 2013 2

In an equitation class that calls for a pattern, the group works together on the rail, then each rider works individually. Judges for the Adult WTC class at Nationals have the option of calling for pattern work. They didn’t this year, but they might when/if I go. So, I am doing the pattern class at Winter Tournament for practice.

As with cantering, the idea of doing a pattern doesn’t fuse my circuits. The only rider? The judge’s undivided attention? um, okay. Been doing that since my first hunter hack class in 1979 (WBTA with Boogie). The equitation pattern is just the world’s shortest dressage test.

However, just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Patterns are performed across the top of the arena, i.e. width of rather than length of. At least one of the Winter Tournament rings is quite narrow. This works out to a 10m canter serpentine with canter/halt transitions in the middle and at both ends. I’m not sure what level this qualifies as, but it is way above where I left off in dressage.

Not all is fun and games. I will be bailing early. I must dress up and represent at a memorial for a former fire department board member & chair. Many of our volunteers are older. When the inevitable cycle of life overtakes them or family members, out comes the Class A. As a result, I have been to more funerals in uniform than in civilian black.

Talk about a range of human experience for one day.

Update: Hold that thought. Mathilda is feeling poorly, so I elected not to go. All of the above will apply at the January show.

In case you are curious, M needed a shot of Banamine on Wednesday night. Perked her right up but upset her tum. Ironic since it was used to counteract a possible incipient, mild colic. She is now bright-eyed & bushy-tailed but turning her nose up at all* food &/or treats. Vet says this is not unknown. Should be fine in a few days. He’s probably right. However, when one is dealing with the geriatric set, one worries.

I’m still planning on stopping by the funeral home. So, overall, today sucks.

*Update on the update – most food. She has eaten a handful of alfalfa leaves, a few laps of beer & will drink if we walk her up to the water trough, but not from her buckets. Sigh.

Update Saturday night: Mathilda has been gradually eating more all day & showed interest in her meal this evening. My crack medical staff started to question the accuracy of our digital thermometer. The new one registered a slightly elevated temp. Perhaps she got a bug subsequent to the stress of being stuck. Perhaps that’s why she lay down in the first place. Either way, a cautious yay!

Rodney photobombs the photo shoot.
Rodney photobombs the photo shoot.

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