Regionals Report

You know it is not a good regionals report when it takes you almost two months later to post a blog about it. Regionals were held Oct. 19-20 in Bryan, TX about 2 1/2 hours away from our farm in Alvin.

I was not very confident going into the championships. Despite out stellar performance Labor Day, since then she’d had a lackluster performance at a show mid-September and a dispiriting clinic where the clinician had me ‘take her apart and put her back together’ to change some basic things. Mental attitude has a lot to do with showing and mine was not where it needed to be.

We had a clean but lackluster ride and placed 13th out of 24. Got 61.129 from judge at C and 64.355 from judge at E. I expect some difference because they see different movements from different perspectives. But had 4 on one movement from one judge and 7 from the other judge. Most of the class was in low 60s. First was 68% I think. Judges’ comments all noted things i know we need to work on. In general very complimentary of Faeryn…” elegant horse” and “willing horse with intelligent expression.”  Of course it is the rider who needs the most work! No surprise there!

My ride on Sunday was literally the last ride of the show. And it was an interesting day.  I say that in the same way the Chinese used to say “May you have an interesting life” as a curse. It started in the morning when I fed Faeryn. While she was eating, I was working in my tack stall next to her trying to pack up some non-essential stuff since my ride was not until 3 p.m.  Suddenly there was a great crash – Faeryn, in the middle of eating her breakfast,  had dropped and rolled, and rolled over and gotten ‘cast.’ In addition to being cast, she had hung a front foot in the heavy wire handle of her water bucket.  I just started saying Oh God, Oh God while I searched for a lead rope to help move her – wondering how the hell I was going to get her foot unhung from her bucket. She was on her back with all four legs up against the stall wall, and she was directly in front of the stall door – in fact, her head and neck were jammed up against the door.  Without even thinking I opened the stall door and she fell through the opening when I did – which allowed her room to help herself.  She leaped to her feet and then immediately started pawing. She definitely had a tummy ache. A friend trainer came over and said she probably had an ulcer. I’ve never had a horse with ulcers (it is quite common in horses of all types.)  But apparently it’s a classic sign when they develop distress in the middle of eating a grain meal. Fortunately I’d gotten two free tubes of GastroGuard, an ulcer treatment,  from a marketing rep who had a booth at the show, and my friend suggested I give her some. In the meantime, we took her out and hand walked her in a grassy area, trying to see if she would graze a little. We gave her the GastroGuard and watched her and within 10 minutes she started grazing. Fortunately I also had some alfalfa with me, which is soothing to their stomach. I almost scratched my ride and just went home, but my friend suggested just watching her for awhile. Soon thereafter, Faeryn became her old self, demanding more alfalfa, more hay, etc. etc.  I took her out again and hand walked her and again she did some grazing – also good for the tummy. So I decided to go ahead and ride.
She warmed up beautifully – better than the day before. I was really tired and ready to go home. Finally it was my turn – the last ride of the day. As I was heading to the coliseum-type arena, the trainer who had been schooling the horse ahead of me walked out of the shadows in the ‘tunnel’ leading to the arena and it startled Faeryn, and she spun around and then scrambled on the concrete footing on the pathway. They’d put down some rubber mats, but she spooked off of them. I never thought I was going to fall off, but I was afraid she would fall with me. Probably a good thing she is barefoot behind as that gave her better traction. I let out a very loud “Sh*t) that I am sure anyone within earshot (including the judges!) could hear. I am just glad I didn’t say something worse. But the show goes on – I had no extra time to recover.
Her heart was racing and she was very reluctant to enter the competition area and very strong in the bridle. The judges were no doubt tired and ready to go – they rung the bell before I’d even gotten completely around the perimeter of the arena and it was time for me to start my ride – ready or not. (but they had  no way of knowing what had transpired as I was entering the arena.) And we were definitely not ready. That shot of adrenaline definitely hadn’t worn off.  She was strong in the bridle in the trot and it got worse at the canter. We got the lowest score of her career – 59.35. We did manage to beat seven people so we weren’t last.
Faeryn was very happy to get home, but again, when she started eating dinner, she started pawing and lying down and getting up. I ran and got the GastroGuard out of the trailer, and gave it to her while I massaged her ears. Within a few minutes she felt better, and I took away the remainder of her grain and gave her a flake of alfalfa. So, I guess my girl was more stressed than I thought. She certainly does not appear nervous or stressed.  Since mine live outside most of the time, going to a show is very different than their normal routine. I think for the next show I will need to give her GastroGuard while we are there. But I have no immediate plans for showing. She is done with First level and needs some more work to be ready for Second level.
Despite the somewhat bitter end to our show season, Faeryn ended up with a 66.2% First level median for the USDF 2013 year end standings which ended September 30. …the second highest first level amateur in Region 9. Onward and upward!

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