I’ve been having all the thoughts about the fact that show season is over. Especially the fact that my first show season with Maestro is over. Time goes so fast and I feel so lucky to have this pony as my partner.
As we’ve been doing all outdoor season, my trainer got on Maestro Thursday during the day and schooled him over fences. The plan was then for me to do a quick school at night and then do a nice flat Friday before showing Saturday and Sunday. I put small spurs on, expecting Maestro to be tired after schooling earlier in the day as usual. I got out to the ring and warmed up on the flat with as lazy of a horse as I expected. We started jumping by cantering up to a single on the diagonal, jumping it nicely, then I put my inside leg on for the lead change…and Maestro kicked out rather enthusiastically. Interesting, but I carried on over a few more fences. Except I was now riding a forward horse instead of the dead one I warmed up. Stopped and removed my spurs before trying again. Got around the course okay but a bit strong.
Next we moved over the other ring as I would be doing the medal final class in there on Sunday. This is the same ring we did the low hunters in a few shows ago. We had the ring to ourselves and trainer told me a course to do. We went over the first fence away from home but once I started to put him together for the lead change he got hopping around nervously. I circled and went to continue on but any mouth contact was met with hopping and any release was met with too much speed. After getting around the course with much hopping and circling we took a walk break before finally ending with a roll back and looping around to a scary end fence (fancy boxes with no standards). With that we called it a night and made plans to school him again on Friday instead of the planned flat day. I was definitely disappointed that things had gone so poorly after he was good earlier in the day. Whenever things like that happen you start to question what you might have done as a rider to cause it. Taking myself out of the equation I can say though that he is already somewhat nervous about jumping at dusk, there were loose dogs by the second ring (until the owner got yelled at), and he was alone in the ring. I’m sure my trainer can finesse things more when Maestro gets upset but looking back I don’t think I was doing anything horribly wrong to cause the issues.
So Friday a much lazier version of Maestro came to the hunter ring and jumped around fine although lazy. Of course then he miraculously decided it was the day to land right instead of his usual left and thus caused more jumping efforts than I wanted to do just attempting to finish with a nice left lead, lol. Finally I did a roll back, landed the left lead, and cooled out.
Saturday I had a warm up and two hunter rounds to do in our usual ring followed by a medal warm up in the other ring. While getting Maestro ready I decided to dust him off again quickly before tacking up. I reached down to brush his legs and swiped at his heels. Evidently he had a little bit of fungus brewing and things were sensitive and his foot went flying up and some part of his leg hit my helmet brim and my left brow. It had been four years since my last black eye, I guess I was due?
After the spur snafu Thursday I opted against used them and thoroughly regretted my choice as we crawled around the warm up course. Instead of staying in after my warm up I came out and sent the husband to grab my bigger spurs instead of the little ones he was carrying. Went back in the ring and it was still a struggle bus but we got around. He’s just so gate sour in that ring for shows. We got 4th out of 7 for both our hunter trips. I was mostly disappointed in myself for not being able to get that nice big stride but happy to have improved with each round.
From there we went directly over to the other ring for the medal warm up while Maestro was still awake. Of course medal warm up and he rocked it. Brave to all the bright fences and happy to go forward. Since that warm up goes for all heights there was this bright yellow and white two stride to two stride set up and while he hesitated a couple of strides out I put my leg on and he rocked it. Good boy and a good way to end the day.
Sunday I had a warm up, a hunter round, an equitation round, and both an equitation flat and a hunter hack to do in our regular ring followed by a several hour wait to our medal final class in the other ring. Despite some reluctance on Maestro’s part to go forward, lol, we got things going by the second line of our warm up and I opted to stay in for our hunter course. We had one long meh distance in our hunter course but otherwise it was decent. Not exactly sure why but we got 6th in that. Our equitation course started with a roll back which he did nicely but failed at the lead change (ugh right turns) then had a nice course otherwise. We got 7th out of 12 there. In the equitation hack we got 3rd out of 10 which I was happy with – amazing how much better you do if you get yours shoulders up! He has really improved in the flat classes the last two shows and the spurs help a ton (thanks for input guys!). In the hunter hack he was trying to get a bit low with his head so I think we were dinged a bit for the inconsistency there but we got 4th.
After a long wait and a course walk we got prepped to do our medal final course. I did it purely for experience and fun since Maestro is very green to that kind of more complex course and the look of the fences. I am just so proud of how he went around and tried so hard. I wish I had it on video. In terms of finding distances and going around with a consistent pace we did awesome. Our issue was that this course had lots of shorter turns and the turns mostly happened to be turning right. All said we failed to finish 3 lead changes and it hurt our score of course.
I think I will do a separate post on my overall thoughts on my first show season with Maestro. I’ll finish by leaving you with my favorite photo of the weekend.
What a beefcake he is!