Gonna be a marathon read today, as I don’t feel like splitting this up into two posts. There’s lots of media, at least! Spoiler alert: I did not go to Champagne Run this past weekend. You’ll find out why if you can make it to the end of this!
This show had mostly good moments, but I was annoyed about the location the entire weekend so I’ve dragged my feet with the recap. They had hunters, jumpers and dressage, focused on Thoroughbreds. New Vocations retrains (and rehabs, if needed) and adopts out OTTBs, the proceeds from this yearly show go to them. It is run almost entirely by volunteers. The show is held at a fairgrounds north of town, which doesn’t host as many horse shows as it used to, a thing that was very obvious throughout the weekend. The drag and watering people didn’t know when or how to do their jobs, and the footing has gone way downhill. When your solid, barefoot pony has trouble trotting in the warmup ring, you know you have a problem.
But it’s an inexpensive show and it gave me the opportunity to do both jumpers and dressage. Plus tons of people from my barn went, so I joined. I just didn’t realize how far downhill the place had gone. The weather was stupid hot for haul-in and set up on Thursday. I half considered skipping schooling as I was completely soaked in sweat and tired, but we hadn’t been to this venue in a couple years and I really didn’t want to have to get up even earlier the next morning to do it. We went in the ring and jumped around for about 15 minutes and called it a night. The ring was a dust bowl and the footing was uneven, which I expected but I was still disappointed. Juice was a little up but settled in fast.
Fortunately the rest of the weekend had beautiful weather. My plan for Friday was to do the 2’3 jumpers first thing so I could get my rides out of the way, beg someone to feed Juice his dinner and top off his hay and water, and then go home and rest so I’d have enough energy to compete Saturday and possibly Sunday. I was going to be jumping little stuff in KY the following weekend and to be honest, I did not want to sit around all day waiting for the bigger divisions. My lack of patience and hunter jumper shows, especially those that are not managed well, do not get along.
Our warmup round was fine, he was a bit strong and inconsistent but not unmanageable.
First round had a jump-off but I had a rail due to some indecision approaching a diagonal line heading towards the in gate. I knew it was going to happen as we left the ground, and accepted it immediately. Might as well save our energy for the speed round. We still got 5th place even with the rail.
Our speed round went well, even after standing around forever waiting for the management to open the card for it (why?? it was in the same division??). Unfortunately I can’t get the video in higher quality, but you can definitely still see him bucking around a turn there towards the end! We placed second, by then Juice was very adjustable and I kept him straight, and stepped up our pace. In typical Allison fashion I forgot where I was going halfway through. Thankfully the new-to-me trainer I worked with that weekend saw it coming and yelled at me to turn. If I hadn’t made such a long rollback because that, I imagine we could’ve won the class. I was still really pleased with Juice and myself, I didn’t get very nervous because I was past caring about the show and what anybody thought of us. I wish I could get my brain to operate like that every time I compete.
Saturday my dressage times were around 11 and 1 for Training 2 & 3. I was happy to arrive at the grounds around 8 and got lots of sleep the night before. In between my rides the show held their lead line class, and Juice did that with my friend’s four year old. The tack change in between my rides wasn’t optimal, but it was worth it for the cuteness of lead line. I also had no idea when my rides would actually happen, as the dressage rings ran anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour late the day before. I tried to be zen about things and continue my I-don’t-care-about-this-show mood. I went in for T2 about ten minutes late. It was… fine. We got a 67 and third place. We had some decent moments but nothing special and I’m still having trouble keeping him round. When I do, it’s fairly awesome:
Lead line actually started on time, major kudos to the girl who was running that ring. She was on top of her shit and it was very efficient, which can be super hard when you’re running hunters all day with a lot of juniors. Juice seemed to know he needed to be a good boy with a little person on his back, and he was perfect.
The kiddos got some awesome prizes: a really cute blue ribbon with rainbow horseshoes on it, a trophy, and a stuffed pony. The judge also went down the line and spoke to each kid. Haley had a blast.
I switched my saddles out (I was lazy and left his dressage bridle on for lead line, no one cared). My T3 was the first test after lunch break at 1, and the judge had gone to lunch on time, so by 12:40 I figured I should go ahead and get on. Oh, how wrong I was. The judge was about 15 minutes late coming back from lunch. By the time she showed up, Juice was OVER. IT. and I gave up trying to make him stand still and wait, and we spent the extra time antsing around and walking in circles. I cantered around the outside of the ring while I waited for the whistle, in hopes that would get him to snap back into work. Not so much. Please enjoy the world’s worst halt:
Other than the halt the test wasn’t terrible. I got a really nice stretchy trot circle out of him and despite an ugly transition going into my second loop, we still managed a 65 for 5th place.
I hitched a ride home for Juice with my dressage trainer shortly after we finished. If I was going to show Sunday it would be on a friend’s horse so I didn’t see any point in keeping him there. My husband left the show a few minutes ahead of the trailer my car. I followed the trailer in his SUV, with all my tack and supplies. I hadn’t even gotten out of the town we were in when he called me to say the Honda had broken down and he was sitting in the middle of an intersection. Well, shit. I quickly called my trainer and asked her to put Juice away for me and met up with my husband. A guy had pushed him into a nearby parking lot and our insurance had a tow truck on the way. He wanted to stay with the car, so he sent me to the barn to drop off all my crap and his dad picked him up from the dealer. Shitty end to the weekend. The problem with the car wound up being pretty major, so once I learned I could get a partial refund, I decided to scratch the event at KHP. I just did not feel right spending another $500 on gas and hotel and food after dropping twice that much on the car.
So that kinda sucks, but I truly don’t have as much interest in showing this year as I did last year. I’m a little mad at myself for signing up for the event so impulsively, but I’m glad I decided not to go. Next on the calendar is a small dressage schooling show at the end of the month, where I am thinking of doing T3 a couple times to hopefully improve that one a bit. Besides a jump lesson this evening, I’m going to be working my butt off trying to smooth out our dressage.