I am actually starting to enjoy show days again. With miss H, I knew she would be great. I knew she would turn it on in the ring and be perfect for everything. With Mav, we had to work up to that. With Miss H, I also did. Early on she tried to turf me by cantering like a run-a-way exercise ball (that was an actual judge quote), and she tried to leave the ring exit stage left - only managed 3 legs out that day. Plus, she was terrible to hand walk.
But I’m 15 years older now, and possibly slightly wiser. I know to expect these things, especially until they understand what is expected of them. It’s a journey for sure! It’s nearly 2 years to the day since Mav arrived off the trailer, an unstarted 4 year old, and here we are at first level. Is it the speediest rise ever? No. But these things take time. Everything is a work in progress.
In case you forget the day he arrived, here is a reminder!
I no longer feel like I need my big girl panties to get on and I’m enjoying him greatly.
Today we had paparazzi in the shape of @kathy.patersonphotography following us. She is very talented and wanted some practice. I’m always happy to have pictures taken, as everyone knows already! Cameras love Mav too and his wall needs filling. All of the good pictures in this blog post are from her. All the mediocre or not so good ones are not… they are mine, or video grabs, or were taken by a random iPhone.
It’s amazing how much goes with one horse for one test.
Mav now understands exactly what is going on. The braids go in, he goes on a field trip. We were supposed to have company today. A member of the excellent ground crew was also going to show her horse. But alas, after 2.5 years she managed to contract Covid. A weird new strain that made her overheat and be really thirsty. It’s been so hot out that she assumed she had heat exhaustion, but she tested just to be sure and there went the show as she waited out her 5 days. The short version is we went alone (but we were not alone, I had another excellent ground crew member with me, a photographer, super husband in his Top Gun related t-shirt, amazing coach and additional friends there to cheer us on!).
I am actually surrounded by tall friends and looking at this pictures does make me feel short, but I'm not bothered by that. It turns out I’m not overweight, I’m undertall.
A final bridle adjustment and off we go. He is very chill. He knows what this is about now and he’s ready to go to work. Which he does, even if there is a actually a sprinkler going in the warm up ring. Like there is water shooting from part of the rail and rotating. Last year I would have died. This year he ignores it and I warm up in the opposite end of the ring. I am not sure why a sprinkler is ignored, but the same mounting block is scary day after day, but I am not bothered by this in the moment.
He is unsure if his own shadow, and the shadows from the lamp Posts. This is not surprising as he tends to be unsure of any footing changes he sees, like tractor marks. He behaves, but stares at his shadow and bends away from it every time it appears. I laugh at him and tell him it’s ok.
Excellent Photographer captures this beautifully.
It’s hot. Did I mention this? My truck says it’s 34 degrees.
This is exactly how I feel about the heat.
Thankfully it’s been hot all week so we are fairly acclimatized. Plus, since kidney stone day, my water intake has more than doubled. I’m hydrated and ready to go. It’s time to Allons-y as the 10th Doctor would say.
And go we do.
First Level Test 3 today.
How much do we want to see? It was a nice solid, steady test.
It starts fine with a nice halt. Clearly, this picture is one of mine and a screenshot from video.
The lighting in this indoor is tricky, but this is her picture. I like it better.
Leg yield is still a bit of a struggle for the right hind. He wants to throw it sideways instead of forward which makes too much sideways and not enough forward. My last lesson involved Amazing Coach showing me what he was doing. Mav thought she was behaving very strangely and he should stay away from her.
This was the canter depart I’ve been struggling with. It looks like my canter transition is very early, and it was maybe a stride early, but it looks earlier than it was from this vantage point. This got us a nice 7.5 today! Win!
Our change of lead through trot was, uhm, behind the leg is what the comment says and I would agree! I had to tap him as he was pretty sure not cantering was better.
The canter shallow serpentines were fine. I stopped riding changes about a week before the test and he actually did not anticipate. although he did somewhat think we might trot at X.
Our stretchy trot feels stretchy. It literally feels like he’s dragging on the ground. He is not. I may never actually achieve good marks on this one with him. It may be me, it may be partly how he’s built, or it may just be. I think it’s gone for us after this year anyways.
Lengthen canters also feel huge. They still do not look huge. Or even remotely big. If you sort of use your imagination you can see the transitions and it’s a slightly longer step. Which is better than the running he used to do so we are moving in the right direction.
Lengthen trot also very much a work in progress. He likes to run, not sit and push. Use your imaginations again. One day I hope to reuse this one to show how far we have come…
Final line and halt gave us an 8! Nothing below a 6 and we finished with a 68.6%
I was thrilled with him! He’s relaxing enough I can start pushing a bit and hopefully get more trot out of him. Although pretty sure anything holding him back is me, as usual.
A rare shot including Amazing Coach, from the back. She is great from any angle!
Mav got a quick shower to cool down before hopping on the trailer. He enjoys showers.
We won the class and it was an uneventful short trip home to his stall where lunch was waiting for him.
One more show planned this year before it is back to a winter of work (and play)!