The last show of 2009

Each year a local farm has a December show called “Dickens on the Sand,” which is a takeoff of our local Dickens on the Strand, held in the historic Strand area of Galveston island.  It’s always fun because riders are encourage to wear holiday attire, and at lunch there is a costume contest.

Despite the fact I had not ridden Faxx much the last few months, I decided to take him. Unfortunately it also rained almost every day for the two weeks prior to the show, so I rode him only once each week. But, the point was more to have a fun outing and maybe try and get some higher scores toward our year end awards. I’d only shown Faxx under 3 judges at schooling shows during the year, and I had 3 high scores, and a 63%. I was just hoping to get a higher score so I could drop the 63%.  Despite his light work schedule, Faxx had been working really well. I think he finally finished growing, and his balance is beter!

I found a battery-operated flashing Christmas light necklace and used electrical tape to attach it to an old browband, and pinned fat silver tinsel onto a red saddle pad. It was going to be quite cold (in fact, there was frost on my truck and trailer that morning) so I wore a Christmas turtleneck and a red down vest with my white breeches. As a last-minute touch, I grabbed some jingle bell earrings and put them on. Unfortunately I did not think at the time how much noise they would make with every step Faxx took! LOL!

Faxx was quite energetic when I got there and I lunged him first. When I got on him, I had about 15 minutes to warm up. Faxx is usually pretty laid back but he was feeling quite ‘perky’ due to the cold weather. He was still a little fresh when I had to do my first ride.Worst was our entry and halt. He’d always had trouble with that, but lately he’d been nailing it at home. Old habits die hard! He skidded to a halt and immediately went ‘splat’ on his forehand and threw his head up. Sigh. 😉

It got better from there, tho, and he was connected enough that I could give the rein, and he actually took it!  I had 20 minutes between rides and I opted to stay on him since he was still pretty fresh. I worked on getting him a bit more connected, and despite again going ‘splat’ at the entry halt – he worked better and was rounder and had more suspension.

While I waited for our scores I shopped at a vendor at the show, and fed Faxx “cookies” I’d brought from home. He had a ‘front row’ view to all the activity and seemed to enjoy the show except when Santa made an inpromtu appearance. When Santa walked by his stall, Faxx ran to the back of his stall! Maybe he was afraid he was on the ‘naughty’ list for dumping me back in October??? 😉

I got my score for Training 1 and it was a 73!  And then I got our score for the second ride and it was an incredible 77%. That’s the highest score I’ve ever gotten. I do think the scores were a bit generous – but spectators were all coming up to me and telling me how incredible Faxx looked. I saw the judge on a break later and she repeated what she’d written on his second test sheet “Absolutely gorgeous!”

It’s been a long learning curve, figuring out how to ride Faxx. I’ve been riding him a bit more than a year now.  He’s my most talented horse, but also the trickiest to ride. Not because he is naughty – it’s just the way he is. But he is more than worth the time it’s taken me to figure it out!



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