We’re back! Alive and in one piece and most importantly not publicly humiliated.

The trip got off to a rough start because of trailer wiring problems. We just got a new truck and the husband put off getting the wiring put in until the day before. So we go to hook up the trailer and the brakes lock up. Can’t get ahold of the guy who wired the truck. Finally go to the place that wired the last vehicle but they don’t have any mechanics in. The guy there was really nice though and gave us a diagram of the wiring and told us how to fix it ourselves. We got home and the husband re-wired the connections between the trailer and the truck so they match. We left about 2 hours later than I wanted but it was ok.

It only took us about 4 hours to drive down there. And it was less than a tank of gas so I didn’t have to manuever the trailer through a gas station. All good things. However, Prize apparently got bored on the ride down and chewed through the rope that tied her to the trailer. Bad pony.

We got her settled and then checked in. We had to change the classes she was in because I had signed up for walk-trot and walk-trot-canter classes and that wasn’t allowed. Since I had paid for an extra class we decided to put her in Morgan Mare Halter – Amateur Handler.

Saturday morning we got up at some ungodly hour becasue the halter classes started at 8:00 AM. We didn’t know how many entries there were so it was hard to plan how long it would take to get to her class. Plus there were two rings going and she had classes in both. We ended up waiting forever. But it was good because it gave her a chance to settle down and look around. She was a fire-breathing dragon when she first went to the warm-up area with the other horses but she settled down with time.

We ended up showing in the Morgan Mare Halter class first. Usually Morgan halter favors saddle-seat type horses. The judges want high heads, lots of up and down leg action, and high energy. In other words, they don’t want Prize. This class was interesting. There were three entries. Prize, a western-style horse, and a traditional saddle type horse. Looking at them in the warm-up I thought Prize had the best conformation but figured the saddle type horse would win. We went in second. In halter you are allowed to have a “tailer”. That person goes behind the horse with a whip to encourage the horse to show lots of action. The saddle type horse with the tailer was behind us. The first time she cracked the whip Prize about jumped out of her skin. Then she refused to line up head to tail because she didn’t want to turn her back to those people. But we won!!! Saddle horse took second and the western one was third.

Then we headed back outside to wait more for our sport horse in hand classes. These are judged on the triangle. There are a small and a large triangle made up of cones. You lead the horse at a walk around the small triangle and then trot the big one. The judge stands at one corner and can the horse move straight away, then gets a side view, then coming straight towards them. But the goal is to get them to really move out on the side view. That requires a flat out sprint by the handler. This class is going to kill me someday.

I was signed up for Morgan Sport Horse on the Triangle 4 and over and Morgan Sport Horse on the Triangle- Amateur Handler. Yeah, I was going to have to run twice. But I could have a bit of rest between. By the time they were ready for me they had decided to just have any horse go. You get a score sheet with comments and points and then the best score wins the class. So you don’t have to have all the horses from one class go one after the other necessarily. So many horses were showing in both rings (like us) that it got confusing. We went in and the judge had to do both at once. So we stood for inspection and then did the movement. While I was panting she gave me some pointers on how to make it better and then I did it again. I knew she really liked Prize because I could hear her telling her scribe what to write down.

When all the scores were tallied she took 2nd out of 3 in the 4 and over class and 1st out of two in the Amateur class. She got a 73.5% in the first class and then with the tips on moving her better she got a 76.2% on the second one. Those are awesome scores! Then they did a high point award for all the horses that showed in all the breeds and all the age groups in the sport horse division. There were at least 25 horses that we counted. Prize took 5th! The 1st place horse had an 80% so Prize’s 76.2% wasn’t too shabby at all.

Then it was time to ride. Let’s review the facts:

  • Prize has never done a group riding class.
  • She used to have a kicking problem in groups that still makes me a bit nervous.
  • Earlier in the week I rode her and she was super-bad. It took me forever to get her into a canter. See the Yippee! entry below for full horrifying details.
  • But that’s ok because I got a letter saying that I would just be riding walk-trot.
  • Armed with this I warmed up carefully. She was nervous. I was nervous. We mostly walked until we all relaxed and then did a bit of trotting. There were two of us in Morgan Sport Horse Suitability. I just wanted to stay on the horse. I didn’t want to have to use good or heroic riding skills either. I wanted the horse to stay under me. That was going to make me happy.

    We entered at a trot. We got all the way around the very big arena with no problems. The other horse even passed us and it was not an issue. I was starting to breathe almost normally when the call came over the speakers – “Canter your horses!”

    I can not even begin to record all the thoughts that came crashing through my brain in the next split second. I don’t think that they were actual words – perhaps of fragments of strangling sounds. I took my crop and signalled her with my leg while smacking her on the butt. This was the very thing that DID NOT WORK when practicing this week. Even on a good day she tends to take one stride of a canter and then break back to a trot. But she never hesitated. She picked up the canter like she had been doing canter classes her whole life.

    I had my back to my mother and husband in the stands. Apparently my mother came very close to her own personal heart attack when they called for a canter. I believe she had visions of major explosions, bolting, and heroic riding skills being used. Then she almost burst into tears when Prize picked up a beautiful lady-like canter.

    When the canter was over she did her other gaits well without being hyped up. We reversed and did a beautiful canter the other direction. (Now I know she’s messing with me when she says she can’t do it.) We lined up. The judge was talking to the other rider and giving some pointers. She came over to me and said that her gaits were “technically perfect” but I need better bit contact with her. I know, I know, it is our main problem. We won!!!

    We exited the arena and my mother came flying out of the stands, across the warm-up area, and hugged Prize. She kept saying she was beautiful and such a good girl. Kept talking about how convinced she was that we were going to die.

    So that was Saturday. Three firsts, a second, and a 5th in a championship!

    Sunday we didn’t need to get up so early but it was too early for Prize. She was not into this at all. Had a hard time getting her into a trot in the warm-up. She wanted to stand in the middle of the arena and have a nap. We went into Adult Amateur Walk-Trot. She was bad. Her head was all over at the trot. I couldn’t get it down. Mom said that her gaits were great if you ignored her head. Right at the end we trotted into line in a fairly tight circle. She put her head down and acted normal then. We took 2nd out of 2. Bad pony.

    Still, it was a super successful weekend! Great confidence builder for under saddle classes.

    (Pictures are supposed to go here but the camera is still in the truck. The husband took the truck to work. Pictures to follow.)

    Then we had to try to leave. Our trailer was blocked in my spectators from another show. We kept getting them to announce that they needed to be moved but they wouldn’t come. Finally one of the park employees was able to shove the front of our trailer over with a skid loader so we could hook up.

    We took bets on how long the new trailer tie would last before she chewed it through on the way home. We stopped about 45 minutes after starting to get some food and she had already eaten it. I hope this isn’t going to be an every trailer ride occurance.