Friday, October 19, 2012

Pilgrims Show....Finally

It took me long enough, but I have finally gotten around to updating about Pilgrim's show. His first show ever out at Windrush Farms was awesome. It had great moments, good moments, bad moments, but all in all I was very happy with him and I was tickled with myself for keeping my cool no matter what was going on.

So here's the run down of how it went. We arrived pretty early, Pilgrim loaded and trailered out great. I rented him a stall for the day. I had one of the last ride times of the day and was volunteering in the morning. My hubby, my trainer, and I all got put on jump arena duty. We worked it all morning, and left in early afternoon to get ready to ride. My trainer rode first doing 2nd level tests with me calling. I was so nervous! I had never called before and it was very windy so I practically had to scream the tests. I made it through it though and she made it look easy.

Then it was time to get Pilgrim ready. He was pretty calm while we tacked up. I walked the outer edge of the warm arena several times before heading in and doing some trot work. He did well except for a few tight moments which led to pop ups, but I didn't stress or worry and just kept riding him forward. That was a proud moment for me as this used to send me over the edge. We started with Training Test 2, and got a 60%. His halt was awful, but only due to my poor prep for it. He had some really nice trot work that we got 7's on. His canter was a bit crooked but prompt at the cues and he gave me a nice stretching trot, I just let him fall in a bit on his circle. All is all I was thrilled with it for our first time out anywhere. Despite the wind and trees and scary flowers on the judges booth, he was solid and not spooky, and mostly focused.

The show was running behind, so after warming up for an hour and a half and then doing my test I was pretty much exhausted. There were only 2 riders between my first ride time and my second one, so I decided to park in the shade and watch the other 2 riders. I figured we could both use a break. This was a bad idea.

For our second test, Training Test 3, the break had caused Pilgrim to get tight and wound up. We entered working trot, halted, salute, rear. I managed to get his feet moving again and we survived the test without being disqualified....that was about it. All of our trot serpentines were done in tiny tight backed canter. I managed to get him back to trot for some parts of it, but it wasn't pretty. He missed his right lead twice before I finally got it, tried to jump out of the arena by A (which only a quick and heavy half halt saved us), and ran off in our stretching trot. I think the judge honestly felt bad for us, after the test she asked me to try our stretching trot again, which I did get this time, and talked to me about how she felt the wind was making him a bit tight through his back today but she really saw his potential in first test. I didn't want to explain that this is a constant issue for us and took it as a compliment that she felt this was an odd occurrence and thanked her.

I wanted to try to squeeze in one more show before the year is out, but all the remaining schooling shows locally conflict with show team and ARHA shows, so I'm out of luck until the spring. My trainer was really impressed with how well we both did and how far we have come. She has us schooling and working seriously towards first level. I was just excited to find they have added a training level freestyle!!!! It is totally calling our name. Goal 1: Get qualifying scores to do our 1st freestyle. Goal 2: Not embarrass ourselves doing a freestyle!

On a side note, I got my saddle checked by a saddle fitter, which was interesting and very informative and helpful. I had some flocking added, and found that it fit both Pilgrim and I pretty well and it is not holding us back. So no immediate rush to run out and get a new saddle. Her exact advice was to keep this one and save up for an upper level saddle, that and intermediate priced one would not do any better for us than what I am currently riding in. (Which wasn't cheap either, but is a used older Passier). He does need a chiropractor visit though and I will be scheduling that in the next few weeks.