Day 2 of showing dawns and it is a fairly early one. 9:40 ride time, so I need to give him a run, braid and clean him up and get him to the show, which thankfully is only about 20 minutes away. No pictures of getting ready today, or being at the show. Some days I just do not take any.
But thankfully, my Paparazzi was there (AKA paid photographer and videographer) to cover my test.
It is the same test today - First Level Test 2. In the same ring. Different judge, equally as qualified. Also not raining again! (Thank-you weather spirits!).
Today I am in the Red/Maroon outfit. I think this might be my favourite one, although I do like the blue as well.
First centerline is fine. Halt is good.
I tried for a little more trot today. I may have managed to get just a teeny bit more so I am happy with that!
Here is the leg yield the other way from the last post, just because.
The walk-trot-canter at the out gate. Slight improvement today over yesterday. Different judge, so she does not know that. Not that she would remember one specific movement from one specific test anyways.
Here is some canter, since you have not seen much yet. It is a very exciting mostly 15m circle with not so lengthen canter to follow. At least we stayed in canter and on the rail in this one! You can see him eye up the last letter and flowers. This seems to be a theme. Specifically at the end of what is supposed to be lengthen canter
Final centerline. Also happy with this one.
A nice score of 69% today! Still second in the class. Reusing the same picture. The ribbon looks exactly the same.
Day 3 of show! (day 4 of hauling over there!). Today is First Level Test 3. I have never actually shown test 3. I was supposed to the day I had the Kidney Stone (Drink more water). So I have only ridden it in non-correct sized arenas. I was exhausted, he was exhausted, both of us were pure exhaustion. My warm up was uh, short? Most of it looked like this.
I was not entirely sure I would make it through the test to be honest. Was feeling shaky and weak. So Amazing coach and I mostly talked about my test, geometry, life in general and failed to discuss how lovely the halt was in front of her. I did w-t-c, but it is First Level, he does not really need a lot of warm up. Thankfully Excellent Ground Crew member took this pic.
We were in a completely different ring today. The big ring! The flowers were white instead of red. White flowers are slightly less intimidating to Mav. But only a little. They still may jump out and eat either of us at any time. I thank him for his vigilance regarding safety, considering that is what I actually do as a career.
Entrance was fine, not totally square. Not super important in the scheme of things.
I asked for more today due to the encouragement of Amazing Coach. Or the push from her, she always pushes me for more. She makes us better! Which I guess is the point of having a coach and if they do not do that, it may be time for a new one? Regardless, mine is awesome and is always in my corner helping me improve.
More relaxation, more forward, bigger trot. The difference is not massive, but noticeable from day 1. Which is also the point. Improve over the 3 days (4 if you count warm up day).
The dreaded walk-trot-canter depart. I think I improved from day 1.
The weird canter serpentine thing in First level. Mav thinks change now, but we avoided any changes leading up to the show and he held his lead both ways. Although showing you both directions would just be overkill, so here is the first one.
The Simple change through trot. Reasonably balanced. I was happy.
Amazing coach said push where you can and see what happens. He swapped, because flowers are scary at speed. Or perhaps because I did not ride it well enough. Either way, it is what it is, and here it is for you to see.
Final Centerline of the show. I felt like I might fall off at this point so I was glad it was over!
He came out of the show with 3 seconds and due to being nicely consistent with my scores over the two days, we were champion in the division. His first gold show, his first championship! It sends me back to Miss H and her first championship at her first gold show too!
This was the best picture I could get of him and his winnings. He wanted a nap and to be left alone to rest. Which was fair.
I was thrilled with him. He just got better and better every day and took everything in stride. With the exception of some of the decorations, which he seems to think may be dangerous. I rode fine, all things considered, and I looked well presented. This is thanks to my grooms, the Excellent Ground Crew members, who straighten my stock tie, fix my jacket, wipe dirt from my chest and just generally are there for me when I need to hand them my horse and sit down. This is their win as much as it is mine.
Super Husband was also there cheering us on and wearing his Mav related T-shirts! You may be able to spot him in the background of videos. He always makes sure I have clean laundry. Even when I hand it to him right before bed time then promptly pass out for the night.
That is a wrap on Mav's first big show. He will do a couple smaller shows this year and that will likely be it. I do not think he needs to do much more at First level. He’s learning to go places, to deal with ring decorations and to relax a bit in the ring. It’s not perfect, but when is it ever?! Time to regroup, work on things to improve from this show, keep working on his relaxation and reach, and just generally enjoy the journey!