Show Report: Heathermoor Summer 2015

Heathermoor signASHAA Fun Show
Heathermoor Farm
Leeds AL, USA

Academy Driving with Natalie, 1st of 1
Academy WTC Adult Pleasure with Sultan’s Miracle Man (Sam), 3rd of 3
Academy WTC Adult Equitation with Sultan’s Miracle Man, 1st of 3
Thank you to Ann Stanton, Nicole Hardy and Courtney Huguley for sharing their wonderful horses.

I almost went into the show without having had a lesson in weeks. We squoze one in at the last minute, amid the end-of-camp craziness. Good thing. Since the boys are back in what passes for work [Summer], I’ve been thinking Thoroughbred lately. I completely forgot how to ride a Saddlebred. The root of the problem came from sitting too far forward. Sam is ever so much happier when I sit back on his butt. Really, that’s how it feels to me, as if I am sitting on the horse’s croup.

Point to ponder: is this a saddle seat thing, or do I sit too far forward over the horse’s shoulder normally?

After my lesson, I stayed to watch the musical drill team exhibition for the parents. After only one week of practice, the campers rode in file, split left & right, rode side-by-side circles, AND managed a nested double circle. I think I was more impressed than the parents.

In the first riding class, I was determined. I made sure I wasn’t fighting the saddle [MSSP]. I sat on Sam’s tail. I raised my hands. I hustled up. I rode off the rail to put myself under the judge’s nose. I was doing everything right. I was awesome.

Can you spell c-o-m-p-l-a-c-e-n-t?

At the previous show, I underprepared and let Sam canter off when he should have been walking. Good-bye blue ribbon. At this show, I was not about to let that happen:

“In the future, get the flat walk, wait for the announcer, PAUSE, get a few beats of jazzy paws at the walk, then ask for the canter. ” ASAC: Prepare for Transitions

I did this thing. I did too much of this thing. Hello yellow ribbon. Between the classes, it was explained to me that I was not in a damn hunter show, and I could damn well get my damn ass back in the damn ring, and ride the damn horse like a damn Saddlebred. (The damns were implied, but no less real.)

Apparently in getting Sam to relax into a flat walk, I collapsed into a heap on his back. Hands down, leaning forward, larking down the trail as if we didn’t have a care in the world. I let Sam completely unwind, and then had to wind him back up for the canter. Being Sam, this was easy to accomplish. But not correct. The horse should be ready to canter the entire time.

(After a lesson on transitions, I see that I totally had the wrong end of the stick here. I was letting him collapse and then regathering him to canter. Not always as obviously as on Saturday. KTW 7/29/15)

My reading of the tea leaves suggests that the judge would have placed the class the same without my error. However, it COULD have cost me the class, in another situation it would have. I shouldn’t do it. In addition to being bad show tactics, it’s bad riding. There is a reason dressage tests have a separate scores for transitions.

I did better in the next class.

A single-horse class is an exercise in futility. Why bother? Why not just hand out the ribbon and save the time? Well, in my case, I am so new to driving that I can use the practice. It’s another 5 minutes toward the 10,000 hours of proficiency.

Whether one calls it first or last, it was my third qualifying class! For points to count toward the end-of-the-year awards, you have to show in three classes at two different shows. Or three classes at three shows, if only one class is offered per show. For arcane bureaucractic reasons [The Point Is], my three classes at the South Carolina show [ASAC: Driving] did not count for association points.

Only two of us drive, so I’m looking at the Reserve Championship!


2014 – no show
2013 – Show Report: ASHAA Fun Show, Leeds, AL.

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