Considering the way the weather has been this spring and how few times we had gotten to jump outside I was a bit concerned going into this show. Never mind that my last show (an indoor show at the home barn I never blogged about) was not particularly confidence inspiring. Regardless, I had already decided Maestro and I are going to get some experience this year so last Thursday morning we made the trek to the show. Maestro calmly loaded and unloaded and settled in well. I took him out for a lunge where he was polite but clearly needed to get some nervous energy out. Afterwards he got to decompress for a bit before I tacked him up for trainer to ride. While much calmer than our trip to WAG last August, he was definitely still a bit nervous and up under saddle. Trainer ended up jumping him around quite a bit to get him listening and composed, but like she said he’s still show green. I got on after and took him around two courses and was quite happy with him.
Trainer decided I could just get on him and school again a bit Friday. There was supposed to be an afternoon break in classes in our ring where it would be open for schooling. Sadly the “morning” classes ended up running way behind and that time window closed. This meant we were schooling in the evening with a ton of other people. First we tried to flat in the schooling ring to avoid some show ring mayhem but it will still packed. Eventually I noticed the other show ring was empty so a barnmate and I went over there and I just kept working Maestro around trying to calm him down. He settled in a bit but not back to his normal self. When trainer called us back into our show ring I admit I was already not thinking positively so when he grabbed the bit headed to a single coming home I said no thanks and trainer got back on him. Ultimately it was the correct choice, she took him around the course several times before he settled in. I hopped back on and took him around before calling it good.
Saturday morning trainer took Maestro in a warm up class where he was a bit strong but he did listen. We decided that I should probably flat him around a bit so I got on and just trotted for 20 minutes until he was starting to stretch down and relax. After that we had a pretty long break until my classes. Around dinner time we finally got to show. I only had a warm up trip and one hunter round before a break and a hunter flat. I was happy with both of my over fences rounds – he got his changes and was very responsive, but sadly I missed my distance to the same in of a line both times. We got 6th out of 10 for our hunter round. As has become my usual plan after last season I put my spurs on for the hack, but I certainly didn’t need them! Our flat had quite a few people in it and was in the other show ring (moved to try to catch up the first ring) and Maestro was feeling stressed about all of it. Sadly I couldn’t get him to relax and step out into his nice trot and the canter was mostly just me trying to maintain control, so no ribbon there.
Sunday we were the first division of the morning and it was a pretty packed day of classes. I went in for our warm up class (video above) and Maestro landed every lead which felt pretty amazing. After that we had two hunter classes followed by an equitation trip. Below is our second hunter trip.
After that we got a break before the equitation flat and the medal. Well if I thought the hunter flat was bad, the equitation one was extra. Since Maestro wasn’t being very responsive to my canter aids in the warm up ring I asked for spurs for the flat, lol. As soon as we went into the ring with 18 other horses he immediately changed back to a nervous pony. I felt like he was more responsive than the evening before at least but while we were cantering to the left someone was just hanging out on his butt slightly to the inside and he eventually got tired of it and kicked out at them. He did continue cantering okay after that, and was much happier to have that horse out of his business, but when we cantered the second way I was struggling to keep his canter under control. Ultimately my left arm is stronger than my right so when I pulled back on the straight away (as I passed the judge of course) he swapped leads. So nothing in that class and some homework to do for the pony in flat classes.
Of course during our flat class it started raining too. I was 5th up in the medal so went to warm up over fences right away. Obviously Maestro was feeling a bit frazzled and strong which was a bummer. The medal course was okay, but definitely not as smooth as it could have been if he were relaxed.
Overall for Sunday we got 5th and 3rd for our hunter over fences out of 11, 5th out of 21 in our equitation over fences, and 8th out of 19 in the medal. I was really happy with our over fences trips overall for the weekend and disappointed in our flat ones. I think my favorite part of the weekend was his lead changes though. He finished them all within a couple of strides (usually sooner) and only gave me one with his extra flair, lol.
We are back in the show ring this weekend, this time at home, so I’m hoping those lead changes stick around. We’ve gotten a ton of rain so schooling on Thursday I was not doing changes much since mud freaks me out. Cross your fingers it doesn’t rain on us today!