121. Academy Equitation WTC Any Age
I could not get Sam into gear. Instead of reacting with quiet efficiency, I flopped and fiddled. I shimmied and stared at my hands. This did not go unnoticed by the judge. I was second out of three.
122. Academy Showmanship WTC Any Age
The third place horse retired and the other rider and I set off around the ring to do this all over again. I gave Sam a smart tap on the shoulder, not so much for discipline as for a psychological signal. It’s all about getting Sam to believe that one is serious. Then, he can be a smokin’ show horse. Otherwise, lesson horse and wiggling rider.
We went as wide open as I could manage. We had a few nice passes, usually on the backside of the ring, behind the judge. Either the front passes were still sufficiently forward or the judge turned around to watch since there were only two of us.
Despite the small size, the class felt interminable. She worked us like rented mules. I got the feeling that my riding had improved enough to win but that the judge wanted to give the class to the kid. (Note the “Any Age” in the class title). Perhaps we were simply equal in skill & this is my projection (more about this on the Q day). [Quietude]
So, only two in the class, but I rode hard for the win.
123. Academy Showmanship WTC Championship
In my lessons, I have been getting flawless upward canter transitions. Slight angle from the wall with my outside leg, then a gentle tug on the outside rein with the ghost of a tap on the inside shoulder with my whip. Boom. Off we go in a soft, organized canter. However, this requires presence of mind to remember that Saddlebreds work from OUTSIDE aids. If I get distracted, say at a show, I revert to the hunter/jumper practice of using the inside rein to ask for the canter. The idea is that you ask as you are coming down from the jump. Therefore the horse a) lands on the correct lead and b) lands turning for the next jump.
I made this mistake in warm-up. I tugged on the inside rein causing Sam to give me exactly what I asked for, a canter on the wrong lead. For the next two & 1/2 classes, I made a point of concentrating on the outside rein. Then …
Last canter of the last class. I ask. I see Sam’s shoulders come up in what might be a strike-off for the wrong lead. I am seized with doubt. Is this the correct lead or not? My memory is foggy. Did I tap (correct) or tug (incorrect) with my inside hand? Eek. Go and hope it’s right? Change? I smother the canter and retry.
In the Championship class.
Fortunately I was at the far end of the ring, so I did not hear what my ringside advisors thought of this maneuver. Either the judge missed it or I reacted fast enough that errant signal got lost in the noise.
For first place, Academy riders got a nice ribbon, a neck medal, and this from Doug Shiflet Photography:
I’ve ordered 2014 Pro Am Benefit > Saturday Academy > 123 – Aca Showmanship WTC Championship > 123-003-PA14. It’s a picture of me hugging Sam while Miss Courtney puts the ribbon on his bridle. Funny thing, I don’t even remember doing this. Thank you ProAm & Mr. Shiflet. Photo Disclaimer Rant
For the Championship, I got a tricolor and a monogrammed ProAm 2014 saddle pad. I might even use this one. Occasionally. On Sam. Happy? Moi?
I think I look like a dork, but anything for the blog.
Huge thanks to Ashleigh Donovan for the wonderful horse. Thanks to Miss Melissa, Katie, and everyone who helped get me dressed, on the horse, and into the ring. Special thanks to Miss Julie, Rachel, and Miss Terry for making me look as lady-like as possible. Not an easy feat [Show Report: Village]. Coaching thanks to Miss Courtney for keeping all the cats herded in vaguely the right direction.