I’ve been digesting this show season for a while, going between excited with our progress and depressed with the lack of progress. Somehow that’s possible! So here I will start with the last show of the season which was now two weeks ago.
Firstly, let’s put out there that yes George Morris came to my barn and judged at the last show of the season. I wasn’t in the ring(s) he judged. My friend Christie got a 1st from him in one of her hunter over fences, which is awesome! He also did a three day clinic after which I didn’t really get the chance to see other than a little bit while I was riding P on Labor day. He will possibly be back in two years, so maybe I can get in front of him by then, lol.
Overall Stampede was better Saturday than Sunday. He never does well with standing around with me on, and we had to wait a long time on Sunday since they decided to drag and water but didn’t announce it. Saturday we had two hunter over fences and a hunter hack. I sacrificed too much rhythm while enjoying his calm demeanor, and we paid for it with some lame distances into lines. He was good, and we still made the strides down the lines fine, I just wasn’t so good. We got fourth and third in those. I will say my horse has greatly improved at staying calm in the hack class, although he did do a tiny spook at the judge saying trot into her walkie-talkie as we walked by. She laughed and said she wouldn’t hold it against me, lol. Anyways, got 2nd in the hack to the same horse we got 2nd to most of the season, a really nice bay wb mare.
The best part of Saturday was that my parents were finally at a show AND got to see Stampede be good, usually those two things are mutually exclusive. Hopefully they at least think I’m slightly less crazy for keeping Stampede around now.
Sunday like I mentioned Stampede was starting to get tired and probably sore from me being on so long by the time I finally got to show. The first class was my hunter over fences and it wasn’t really bad but not great. Tight to the first fence as well as the in of the bending line, plus he grabbed the bit to the final single oxer. When he grabs the bit I think it always looks bad, but my friend took video and it really doesn’t look like it feels. Bonus. Got 3rd there.
Here’s a video of the round. I was unsure about sharing it because it’s still not as good as our average ride and fairly grumpy in spots but why not.
And here is the 2nd round on Saturday
As soon as I started my equitation over fences I knew it wasn’t going to be good. Nothing goes well when Stampede has to poop! Due to a previous injury I’ve probably discussed some before, his tail doesn’t work normally and it’s hard for him to poop on the move. I generally let him stop to poop on normal days and he has been smart enough to poop before my classes normally. Regardless, he moves different when he has to poop and it’s not fun. So we did a whole course of Stampede has to poop which included being extra hard to get moving away from home and him grabbing the bit coming home, all while looking grumpy. Then he literally took 4 steps out of the ring and stopped the poop. Bad timing. Got 5th.
So positives from this show season.
1) We showed at every outdoor B show at the barn this season
2) Stampede’s attitude continued to improve as the season went on as far as grumpiness
3) Stampede didn’t run away with me like he used to at all. A few bit grabs coming home, especially now that I know they don’t look as bad as they feel, I can handle
4) We won one of our hunter hacks, and got 2nd in all of the others in the novice hunter division (to the bay wb mare!)
Negatives from the show season.
1) Stampede is still not the same ride when showing as he is on a normal day
2) He gets back sore after a weekend of showing, regardless of my many attempts at keeping him comfortable. The amount of jumping doesn’t seem to be the factor, more like the amount of time spent on his back.
3) While I’m proud of my good ribbons this season, proud of Stampede for becoming much more dependable at shows, and where I finished in the standings for the year (you will have to wait til I get my ribbons in November!), I’m still sad that this is as far as we’ve gotten in a long term sense. Novice adult (2’6″-2’9″) is not where I pictured myself at this point and I definitely feel limited by my horse (who I love regardless). I would like to achieve more with Stampede, but his kissing spines has remained an issue.
So more on my kissing spines plan later as it’s still in the early stages, but I’m hoping to keep Stampede as my partner in crime if I can. His health and happiness will always come first but we aren’t out of options yet. I know he still wants to be ridden. Just yesterday he got all excited and started nickering and going to do stretches when I was at his stall with my helmet on. He’s been off for almost two weeks (show time off, shockwave treatment, then I think an abscess) and obviously wants to get back to work!
Lastly thank you to my photographer and braider (Christie in picture above), my videographer last show (Rachel), my general horse show/man servant husband, and my parents for really being the start of this whole endeavor long ago!