The Gray Wonder, Adventures in
Saddle Hunt Seat
66. Academy Showmanship Adult WTC, 2nd of 3
67. Academy Equitation Adult WTC, 3rd of 3
70. Academy WTC Championship, no place of 9
Official Photographer Event Mix
What does Milton think of a WTC flat class?
Well, we had a big time, that’s for sure.
Since getting ready for the show took up most of last week, I don’t have much else to talk about. Therefore I am splitting the day into two posts, eventhough the program was three iterations of the same class. Well, the requirements of the three classes were the same. Our performances in them, less so.
When You Represent
There was no way a gray horse – most ASBs are chestnut – in hunt seat tack was going to fly under the radar at a saddle seat show. We would get noticed. I was concerned that if we stank up the joint, it would reflect on Coach Courtney. So, I made sure we at least looked good going in.
Milton had several baths, double baths, body rinses and tail washes before the show, including one at the show. The joys of riding a gray. He was clean, but not perfect. Some of the spots on his side are brown. I tried to convince myself that mean that some of his tail hairs might also be brown. The word flaxen was used. Sadly, I suspect the true color is pooped-on-for-11-years. Short of dipping it in bleach, I didn’t know how to get the end of his tail blindingly white.
My clothes were clean. My boots gleamed. I can’t control the judge at all. I can control my horse to some extent. The only thing I can completely control is how we look.
Typical green horse experiencing a show grounds.
As soon as we arrived, we went for a walk, including several laps of the indoor arena before the show started. Milton looked at everything. To be expected, that’s why we were there. He got away once, when he spooked at a pair of dogs in the woods. He didn’t like the look of the pond, which does not bode well for our future cross-country/marathon horse.
Once I got on, Milton was obedient but still observing his universe with close attention. We walked, trotted, & cantered in the remote warm-up ring, then trotted in the warm-up ring next to the arena. He was whelmed, but not overwhelmed.
All systems go. Let’s see what we have.
Since Milton is usually too slow, I was concerned about being a speed bump in the class. Not a problem. We trotted into the ring on a perfect speed, neither too slow nor too fast. The trot was lovely. Oh, he looked at this or that, but generally got on with it.
We even had a chance to do some hot dogging. One of the competitors swung wide to set up her pass. Not so fast there, Sunshine. I cut into the space she left and covered her up down the long side. This may have been a SSF person. Doesn’t matter. I will be your bestest friend outside the ring. Once those gates shut, it is on. Just ask my husband what it’s like to show against me [Al Charity, Driving].
Milton seemed willing to party. Didn’t seem to mind the maneuvers.
The announcer called for the canter.
Hunters canter from a trot. So, I asked for a short trot, then the canter transition. Boing! Wind-up toy mode activated. Hop. Hop. Hop.
The hops were small enough, and my blood was up enough that I was able to wrestle him back to a walk and ask again.
Trot. Again lovely.
Second canter transition achieved without display of temper, although the canter itself was confrontational.
We got second! Not last! The other competitors also had canter problems. One did too much; the other, not enough. While we may have freestyled our way into the canter, we did get a decent gait in both directions.
Second class was much like the first.
Nice trot. In fact the trot incident above may be been in the second class. I did something similar in both classes. The canter transitions are clear in my mind. Everything else is a bit of a blur.
On to the canter. Hopped at the start of both. The hissy fit in the second transition displayed a serious commitment to craft. In hindsight, he was never close to unseating me. In the moment, one is always open to the possibility of things getting worse. Somehow, I wrestled him down and into a canter. Not really sure how.
Line up. Third of three. Last. Deserved. Just glad I didn’t get excused for bad behavior. That would have been embarrassing.
Should we do the third class? I was concerned about the escalation from the first class to the second. Was a third class going to be exponentially worse? Plus, it was the Championship class, which meant more horses, many ridden by kids.
We had a two-class wait in which to decide. What to do?
[Hanging With The Saddlebros I, Entering The Class, Pre-show Report, Mid-South Spring Premiere 2019]
Hanging With The Saddlebros IIa, Wannabe Saddlebred Coming Through, Show Report, Mid-South Spring Premiere 2019
[Hanging With The Saddlebros IIb, Back Into The Fray, Show Report, Mid-South Spring Premiere 2019]
[The Two Sides Of Major Milton, Show Photos, Mid-South Spring Premiere 2019]
[Sour Side Up, Milton]
[Milton Wishes For A Time Machine]
[Stepping Stone Show Team Shows Off In Show Horse Magazine]
Thank you for reading,