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We are all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.

The title quote is from the Breakfast Club. If you have not seen that movie, go watch it. In each one of us is a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. You see us as you want to see us.

In Mav are all of those things too. Some days a basket case, other days an athlete, most days a brain and occasionally a prince. Always happy to go to work though, and always attempting to make me happy.

Today is day 1 of the schooling show. The day with a judge, an arena to ourselves and a test paper.

Mav is a prince(ss) as he waits patiently at the barn. I have disturbed his after breakfast nap to make him pretty but he tolerates it well and does not complain.

It is at this moment I realize why the hairline under the mane is actually important. When not braided, it can not be seen. Probably should have paid more attention to that, but attention to detail is not really my strong suit. I am more a big picture kind of person. Look after the little things, yes, but always keep looking at the bigger picture rather than get bogged down in specifics. This may drive Amazing Coach a bit crazy as apparently I am supposed to be more of a type A person to be into dressage, but I still somehow seem to manage some success.

He is quite handsome! If I do say so myself. Which I do, frequently, to him, to anyone who will listen, to other horses, to the cat...

Off we head to the venue again with visions of dancing in the white fences. I sometimes wonder what goes through Mavs head. Is he speculating where we are going? Is he just looking at the scenery? He certainly knows something different is happening again today and is resigned to whatever fate awaits him as he steps quietly into the magic horse moving box.

There are less pictures today as we are all business. But I am happy to have the videographer on site to capture our tests this weekend so draw on her videos for most of this and the next post. They are worth every penny!

Warmup is uneventful, my Amazing Coach is in my ear talking to me (permitted at schooling shows) and I am breathing hard back at her in the microphone - a combination of fatigue, concentration, physical exertion and who knows what. I may occasionally make an attempt at a comical response back to her, but not sure it’s taken in the spirit I intend. Regardless, since I pay her for the session, she puts up with me. Well, that, and our 15+ year relationship where I‘m pretty sure she now expects the odd weirdness coming out of me.

I get past the scary judges booth outside the ring with help from Amazing Coach. Sometimes someone walking ahead of you is enough to make you realize something is not dangerous. Safety in numbers after all. He’s still slightly traumatized from yesterday’s person popping up and the new appearance of a videographer in the corner. Wasting no time, since I just wasted a minute or so getting only a few feet, the judge rings the bell. I quickly make sure he has seen the new corner people from the other direction and head down to the entrance.

The ring does not have much space for entering at the far end so I end up walking a couple steps then trotting once entering the ring. At least we are in! A rogue left hind happens in the halt 🤦‍♀️

Maybe turn your volume down. To cover over Amazing Coach, who was standing right next to the videographer, I added a soundtrack. I realize you may want to hear what Amazing coach has to say, but you do not get to. You can pay your money too and she will come say things to you in your ear. No, I am just being respectful and not putting her out in the world since she did not consent to that. My phone has limited music on it since I discovered Amazon Music, so my choices were all 80's bands. Enjoy newer OMD while you watch snippets of Mav doing First level test 1. Or, if 80's band synth pop is not your thing, turn the volume off. It is a bit loud I will admit. I will try to fix that for the next one, although I am a bit proud I figured out how to add it at all so fixing volume is unlikely.

It reminded me of this.

He is tight, he feels tight and more up-and-down than I would like. He feels like his head is on his chest and he’s about 3 feet long taking 2 foot steps.

This is where video helps. He feels like that, yet he looks much different.

Except the stretchy trot. Apparently I neglected this over the winter. Do not neglect things. They come back to haunt you. The judge was nice enough to give me a score. I mean I did a circle and asked him to stretch, he just stayed bottled up under me. I’m not completely sure either of us was capable of letting go enough to actually stretch. I endeavor to make this better.

He was coiled up like a spring at the canter. Or a slinky that is misaligned and instead of going down the stairs, careens all over your house in a jumbled heap.

No, it wasn’t that bad but it did cause a comment from Amazing Coach that he looked a little humpy. I believe I replied with uh he’s A LOT humpy. This caused us both to chuckle and I relaxed a bit.

One tiny spook at the end of the test as apparently I started thinking about how the test was almost over and stopped being completely in the moment. The bush at C was suddenly scary.

A nice halt to finish the test. 66% we will take that!

When I viewed the video, I decided since he does not look like a coiled Tigger waiting to pounce on Piglet, tomorrow I will show him off a bit more. Our score earned us a nice first place and some horse cookies!

We returned home in an uneventful manner. He is always happy to get back to his stall/paddock and by the time friends arrived there later, he was flat out making up for his missed nap.

One more day tomorrow to pull out the athlete, put away the anxious princess and strut our stuff.



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