I hated to spend the time (it’s a 45-minute drive one way) to do it, but I hauled Faeryn over to the championship venue Saturday afternoon to school. I suspected they may have a lot of ‘scary’ stuff that was not there the last time she was there, and I was right. There were banners along one side, closest to the horses, and when she saw those, she stopped dead in her tracks and said to me, “Uh HUH, I’m not goin’ in THERE!” I had to use my whip (carried especially for this situation, since I normally do not ride with one) to convince her to even set one dainty hoof inside the arena. Whereupon followed much protesting of getting close to them, but after about ten minutes, she was ‘eh’ about them. Mission accomplished.I could have left her overnight, but I didn’t. She’s not been overnight anywhere except two occasions – both hurricane-evacuation related, and both times with her close buddies. Once when she was just two months old, and since she was with her mom, Lisa, who had “been there, done that” she was not the least bit stressed. This time, not so sure. So I hauled her home, did the “fairy godmother’ makeover on her that night — brushed/showsheened tail and combed out, washed socks, finished pulling and braiding her mane (for the second time in her life) and clipped her ‘goat hairs.’ (Faeryn is one girl who could really benefit from some horsie electrolysis!) I prayed she would not rub her braids out overnight. Thankfully, she didn’t. Sunday morning was foggy, clammy and cold, so she got to wear her pink sheet and into the trailer she went for another road trip. She was very laid back on the showgrounds – finally! I did not even have to lunge her before I got on her – a first for away from home! Fortunately there were just 3 other horses in the warm up arena. All the outdoor arenas were quite literally underwater. I have never warmed her up in the small covered with other people before – I always go outside. That is the downside of having your own farm – my horses (and me!) are not used to having to deal with other horses in the arena! She warmed up well and now I just had to hope that no trains came by – the show arena is about 250 feet away from double train tracks and she about came unglued in the warm up arena at the last show when one went by. Our “warm up” ride, Test 2, was first. I went in and she was totally boogered by a truck sitting at E (for the judge) that had not been there the previous day. “Oh great,” I thought, “this will be a waste of time.” Fortunately, by the time she went around a few times, she was OK with it, just as the judge blew her whistle. She was very responsive and fairly through – not as ‘dancy’ as she is at home – still have not managed to get the same level of work away as at home, but I was very proud of how focused she was, considering how boogered she was at first. She was so focused, she didn’t bat an eyelash as a barn cat streaked right in front of us on the long side about halfway through the test. I saw it coming and laughed out loud when it, did, indeed, cross our path, as did the audience watching. She ended up with a 67.7 average from the two S judges and I was happy – and she also won the class by a large margin. BUT, not every horse entered in the Championship was entered in this class. Our Championship ride – Test 4 – was 3 hours later. Lots of time for her to rest and chill. This would actually be the first time she’d done test 4 in competition, since you could qualify using any test of the level. Unfortunately, there were three horses being lunged in the warm up arena – the size of a small dressage arena – when I had to warm up for our second test. She could not get focused and she was very unstead and ‘looky,’ especially at a very large horse cantering around. It showed in our second test, and mentally, I was not as sharp, either, being quite distracted her her looking at things, and from hearing a huge CRASH from somewhere on the showgrounds, behind me. I knew when I did my final salute that it probably wasn’t good enough to win the class. She got a 65%, and the winning horse had a 65.4%. But I was still happy with her — 65% average from two S judges, on her first time to do Training 4 – and she is just 4. Not too bad at all. She earned Reserve Champion Training Level Amateur, and her 67% was ‘reserve high score’ of the show, for which they gave us a lovely neck sash. The other good thing is there was a photographer on the grounds, and a video person. I have NO video of me riding her in a show! Or pictures, really, either, except from one schooling show, her first, last year. The photographer probably took 200 pics of her, some during our tests, some posed between classes, and then some with her ‘loot’ at the end. I bought the entire DVD of them for $100. She’ll mail it to me when it’s ready and surely, surely, out of that many photos, there will be some good ones I can post! 😉 In other news, I also found out last week that Faxxsimile is the USEF Horse of the Year Region 9 Half Arabian Training Level Dressage Amateur Champion! Coming tomorrow – a look back at 2009 – and goals for 2010.