Show Report: Important Questions from NACHS 2014, Part 1

Coming out of nowhere to take Reserve National Champion. Cue dramatic music.

Sam, aka Fabulous Show Horse, comes thru for me at Nationals! Photo by Courtney Huguley
Sam, aka Fabulous Show Horse, comes thru for me at Nationals!
Photo by Courtney Huguley

National Academy Championship Horse Show
October 31-November 2, 2014
Miller Coliseum
Murfreesboro, TN
Academy WTC Adult with Sultan’s Miracle Man (Sam)
Academy Driving with Alvin Ailey (Alvin)
Thank you to the Donovan family & the Wamble family for their wonderful horses.

How Did That Happen?
Friday Morning
1. Adult WTC Equitation – Rode stellar. Placed 7th of 7
6. WTC Pleasure Adult – Major geometry error. Placed 6th of 7
13. Pleasure Driving Horse or Pony – Poor drive. 4th of 5

Less in the dumps that you might think, given every other show report. I knew I was riding well.

Saturday Morning
28. WTC Equitation Adult Championship – Experimented with riding closer to the edge. Stayed 6th of 7.
33. WTC Pleasure Adult – Experimented with keeping eyes UP at all costs. Rocketed to 5th of 7.
38. Pleasure Driving Championship – Good drive. 5th of 5.

You are sensing, perhaps, that this was not my weekend?

Coach asked around. Was told that the impression I gave was “generic.” A nice lady at Hartmeyer Saddlery fixed that. I was noticeable.

Sunday Morning
59. Adult Equitation Pleasure WTC National Finals – New shirt, new vest, blue hat. 3rd of 6. Only three ribbons awarded in the Finals.
67. Adult WTC Equitation National Finals – Pattern class. 2nd of 6.

On the surface, it looks as if I put on a new, blue helmet and raked in the ribbons. (BTW, the helmet looks even bluer in the ring.) The reality was more layered. As we expected, the new duds moved me up about one place. The three judges had me 3rd, 4th, and 6th. By my math, that hovers between fourth and fifth place. Due to the insanely complicated* scoring and the fact that the judges could not agree on the other riders, I slid into 3rd.

Plus, I really like the outfit. When I would catch a glimpse of my shiny, satiny, blue sleeves – in my peripheral vision, I wasn’t looking down – I would think, ‘I look fabulous.’ Therefore, I rode fabulous. The day before, I had tinkered with new ways to ride in the ring (Why not? I had nothing to lose). The new attitude add an extra touch of crispness to the improved postition. The new outfit was the final element that pulled everything together. For two years, they have been telling me to be ladylike. That occurred with intermittent success. Now they are telling me to be loud. This I can do.

Once I placed third, the second was less of a surprise. To me anyway. Thirty-four years of grunting around dressage rings gave me hope for a stellar pattern. My riding past is usually an albatross in these classes. It was nice to have it work in my favor.

If I had not lost on Friday, I probably would not have won Reserve Champion on Sunday.

*The USEF has had a PDF titled Majority Opinion Three-Judge Scoring System, under Guidelines and Forms. Let me know if you have any luck with it. “It is possible for a horse to win without having a first place vote. This rare situation only occurs when there is significant variation in the judges’ opinions.”

Update: PDF has been moved. I found it under Breeds > American Saddlebred > Guidelines & Forms. Or Google, Majority Opinion Three-Judge Scoring System.

More tomorrow.

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4 thoughts on “Show Report: Important Questions from NACHS 2014, Part 1

  1. Or: new attitude (serious determination) really considered all the variables. Then the new clothes reinforced the new attitude.

    Bottom line: They did improve the image and it worked!

    Good going!

    P.S. It doesn’t surprise me that clothes were the last thing considered.

  2. What I’m hearing is that clothes make the rider IF the outfit is part of a comprehensive plan that includes quality instruction, a good horse, and riding one’s ass off in the ring? I can live with that.

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