Faeryn has not been shown since our Regional Championships in November of 2011. However, Houston Dressage Society was having a show at the new facility that will host our Regional Championships this coming October. I decided to enter her in the show to just try and qualify her for the championships, and also get to scope out the new show grounds since it would be our only chance before the big event.
The facility is in Bryan, just minutes from the Texas A&M University campus and Veterinary Medical School.
When I got there and unloaded Faeryn, I was very proud of how calm and mature she was. It is still hard for me to believe she is EIGHT years old! She will always be ‘my baby’ since pulling her out of her mom when she was born in 2005! I always said that starting her under saddle myself at 50 years old was a piece of cake compared to her first few shows!
I knew that she was not really in top show form, but thought she could score well enough to qualify and then we would be done with it, and go home and train between now and October.
Between my job, a 106-mile round trip daily commute, aging parents, farm and two other horses, she definitely has not been ridden enough the past 18 months. In 2011 I competed her at First level in recognized shows and Second level in schooling shows. She won the HDS year-end Second Level Schooling show amateur championship as well as the head-to-head Second Level Amateur Championship at the HDS’ annual Schooling Show Championships. But she’s definitely ‘backslid’ since then.
I unloaded all my stuff and finally got her tacked up and ready to see the competition arenas by 5 p.m. Although she was calm walking about the show grounds and warm-up arenas, the competition arenas intimidated her. They were the ‘coliseum’ type with high walls, stadium-type seating and no view of other horses. They had livestock panels lining the entry ‘chute’ and she did not like those either, but she got over it. She warmed up well – but I knew I still was not challenging her enough. But for this weekend, I would just ride tactfully to try and get our qualifying scores. Her biggest issue at this point is a head tilt going to the left – mainly at canter. I’ve been working on it, and I know how to fix it – it’s just making it a habit.
I was completely on my own at this show – no show buddies, no trainer. And no test caller. 😉
My first ride was at 9-something Saturday morning – my second ride was 8:11 p.m.!! The show was so big they had to hire another judge and go later since there are only two competition rings. Definitely the strangest ride times I’ve ever had.
I rode First level Test 1 first and of course went off course. Darn. I definitely did not know this test as well as First 3. She was a good girl and no other major bobbles. Definitely riding conservatively and the head tilt reared its ugly head, so to speak, in the canter work. Scored a 62.586 It would have been a 63.275 if I had not gone off course. I placed second, and would not have won the class even without the error. I had a better ride in my First 3 class that night, with a 63.875 and third out of 8 – and best of all – a qualifying score. One down, one to go! My Sunday ride was at 7:20 which was really poor planning by show secretary to have the class that ran late on Saturday night be the same people scheduled for first thing Sunday morning. I scratched it since it was not the qualifying ride and I was afraid I would run out of horse. It was a wise decision on my part.
She warmed up beautifully Sunday morning and I had much almost completely eliminated the head tilt to the left by the time we went down center line. We had our highest score yet – a 65.161 and another third place. And, qualified for both the SWDC and GAIC Region 9 Championships. Judges’ comments were no real surprise…needs more engagement, more impulsion and and thoroughness.
So now, boot camp starts in earnest for Faeryn AND Fling. Fling needs much more suppleness and self-carriage. “Summer school” is now in session!!