Dressage Day – Amish Drag Racing

/ posted in: Horses

Today was our first dressage show. Not only Prize’s first show but mine first time doing dressage too. For some reason the husband had asked last week if he could come to the horse show so I said that he could be my reader.

We practiced last night. I was on foot and he was reading the pattern. He practiced over and over until I was worn out from running around the arena pretending to be trotting on a horse.

We weren’t scheduled to ride until 2:24 and 3:12 PM today. The husband was in a big rush to get there. I said we needed to leave about 12:30. By 11:45 he was sitting in the car.

I liked the idea of setting small attainable goals for Prize so I picked some more for this show.

1. Stay on top of the horse.
2. Have the horse stay calm when she realizes that she is back at the hated trainer #2’s house.
3. Get a score in the 50s. 50% is failing in the real world but is a decent score in dressage.

My concerns also included the fact that the judge would be sitting outside the arena on the side of a hill. Last weekend Prize refused to go near a raised announcer stand at the end of the arena. If she wouldn’t go near the judges our test could be over almost before it got started. I also use a lot of voice commands. That is a big no-no in dressage. Going into the trot with no voice command might be a problem.

We get there and the husband starts charming the ladies. He weasels his way out of reading by saying that he’s afraid he’ll screw up my ride. This makes a herd of women go, “Aaaaah! Isn’t he sweet?” I leave before I vomit. They tell him that there is food in the house. He disappears but I know I can find him there. When I get in there he’s thanking new women for the food and telling them about how I told him that there wouldn’t be any food. They feel sorry for him and offer him more sandwiches.

I took Prize out and led her around the arena during lunch. It didn’t seem to be a problem. But there are mud puddles. Prize is a princess. Princesses don’t get muddy toes. She’s much better about it than she used to be but I won’t put it past her to refuse to pass through mud in the middle of a test.

Then I lunged her and then got on. I rode her in an indoor arena with other horses. She didn’t kick anyone. She was very relaxed – unlike last week when it took her 2 hours to calm down in a group. So, I’m pretty happy before I even do my test.

At this point I decide to give the husband a job. He’s been harrassing me by asking me if I’m going to trot every time I pass him at the walk. He also is unhappy with the cleanliness of my saddle. So he was cleaning it while it was on her. Then he was brushing my helmet. Now he needs a new job. I send him back to the trailer (about 50 yards away) to get a rag. Prize drools when she works so I want her mouth wiped before she goes in. He whines about walking all the way back there but does it. He is also carrying a folding chair. I’m glad I have a very laid back horse because he has no idea about how easy it is to spook a horse. When he gets back he drops the chair beside her and flops a towel around her mouth to get it clean.

The arena is right beside a road. This is in Amish country and many buggies are going by. Some horses are having a hard time with his but Prize doesn’t care. All of a sudden two buggies appear over the top of the hill – side by side- going hell bent for leather. They must have been driven by teenage boys because they were drag racing. I think they were embarrassed when they saw a whole group of people watching because they suddenly went single file and at a more road safe speed.

I did the Intro A test. It is a walk-trot baby test. She did good for her. Heading to the judge was no problem at all. The center of the ring was muddy so she didn’t want to stop dead center for the salute. She got to looking around and not paying attention as well as she should have been so I had to get strong with her aids. I got docked for that. We had a few mud puddle problems. There was one in a corner that had a thin dry strip between it and the edge of the ring. She insisted on walking through there so she could make sure her feet didn’t get wet even though she was supposed to be trotting. But all in all I was pleased. She got a 54%.

We went out to wait for our next test and the husband was getting anal-retentive about the mouth wiping. I said to wait until we were ready for her test. But he not only wanted to do it- he didn’t want to have to get up from his chair to do it. Cue more, “Aaaah, isn’t he funny?” from the women. I was impressed though. He petted Prize a lot. I think he likes her now because she’s calmer. He reminded me that the last show he went to Prize bucked me off. That really shook him up because it was spectacular. She was bucking in a circle. I held on until the 5th buck. I told him that she hadn’t bucked me off at a show since and if she bucked me off today he was banished from any other shows.

I went in for Intro B. While I was waiting in the arena trainer #2 asked if Prize was the same horse that I had sent to her a few years ago. I said yes. She asked if I was having bucking problems with her. (Prize learned to buck at trainer #2’s house.) I said that I had a wreck with her last year and that she had gone to trainer #3’s and she’s doing great now. She never even tried to buck anymore since she went there. Is that bitchy? I don’t think my tone was bitchy. I wouldn’t have minded being a bit bitchy since she did tell me that my horse was too unsafe to ride.

In intro B we had more mud puddle problems. She also got to looking around again. She didn’t want to hold her frame because she was busy looking at other horses and missing mud puddles. We got a 52.38%. I was pleased with her but the husband was upset that we took last (4th and 5th) in our classes. She were showing against more experienced horses and/or riders and she did the things I wanted her to do well so I’m happy.