Sunday, March 16, 2014

First Show of the Season

First Show of the Season

The first show of the season is at McDonogh School located in Owings Mills, MD.  This is a single day show, so it means we get to get up bright and early and trailer to the show in the morning.  Most of our other shows we will trailer in on Friday and then show on Saturday and Sunday and stable at the showgrounds for the weekend.  The show starts at 8am and my division goes pretty early.  So here is how it went!

So after all of my hard work the night before to get him cleaned, he immediately rolled when I put him out (expected, but a girl with a grey horse can always hope).  Which meant an extra early morning to spot clean his legs and make sure he looked ready to show.

5:30am...Alarm clock, coffee, get dressed, and head down to the barn.  I feel that I am one of the luckiest people in the world to board where I do.  I live 45 minutes from the barn, but the owner's daughter lives on the farm just up the hill and was the trainer going to the show today.  She and her daughter were coming and the trainer was riding the other horse in a couple of classes since he is younger and green.  She lets me sleep in their spare room so that my commute goes from 45 minute drive down to a 5 minute walk.

6:00am...After the much needed coffee, a quick stroll down to the barn in the dark to see what the damage was.  Not too bad, just a couple of dirt spots on his knees and hocks and his head.  So a quick spot clean with some shampoo and a quick rinse of his legs.  Then back to his stall so he can dry.  I fed my horse and the other one who was showing so that they would have time to eat breakfast before going on the trailer.

7:00am...Horses loaded and it's off to the show!

7:45am...Arrive at the show, my friend (my horse show mom for the day) goes to check me in while I get my horse ready to lunge.  I like to always lunge him in his 'Fauxsoa' rig that I made myself (too cheap to buy the real, expensive one).  I don't like to just chase him around; I like the lunging work to be actual work and I really just like him to trot on a big circle and canter occasionally.  It's nice to see my horse move so I can see how he's feeling that day.  He was so excited to see the new place.  The location is composed of beautiful rolling hills, LARGE pastures, several rings to ride/school/lunge, and a beautiful indoor ring.  While lunging, he was looking around and taking in everything.  He also called to all of the horses on the property and we had a three ring call going.  Every time he called, a horse over in the trailer area called, then a horse schooling in the ring called, then it would start all over again.  He eventually went to work and started to focus and lunged well.
Indoor picture pilfered from the internet 
My friend came back from the show office and updated me on the counts.  The entry counts the day before were pretty low, but when my friend checked me in, the first division went from 3 to 10 and the second division from 2 to 5.  So, I had plenty of time to get my horse used to the show grounds and ready to go.  As always, shows are 'hurry up and wait'.  Every time I thought we were going to be going soon (back gate would call for my class to be in x amount of time), I would plan accordingly, get ready, then hear that it would be longer til my class.  Oh well, I flatted my horse to see what he would be, and he was good.  Still a little bit up, but after a nice flat work session, he was used to the schooling ring and relaxed.  I then hopped off and let him stand at the ring to see everything and give him time to settle.
Studying the course and ring
Some time later (actually, no idea what time, since I do not carry my phone on me - illegal to ride with one at the show), it was finally time for me to show.  I flatted Ronin again and he felt great, nice and relaxed, forward, but not pulling.  The warm up fences where a good size, a medium x-rail, a 2'6" vertical, a 2'6"-2'9" oxer.  Jumped a few and came back to a walk in a straight line to get him a little backed off of the corners.  My horse LOVES to jump and gets very excited to do so.  So after a few jumps, we are ready to go.
Forgot to take a picture of the ring, but here is a still shot from video.
Make the quick walk up to the show ring (a beautiful indoor) and they are still doing the medal class before my division.  There was a small break in the class and an empty ring, so I asked the back gate if I could do my warm up trip while there was an empty gate.  She let me, and I walked in, let him walk around a little, then proceeded to my trip.  I was a little worried at fence one, so was pretty deep, but he was great, and then I got relaxed and let him do his job.  He was super.  Jumped around a ring he has never been in, nor ever seen the jumps, and was overall excellent.

The medal class finished, then they happen to fill the next medal class, so that went too.  I signed up early and signed up to go first in the division.  There were only 2 Adult Amateurs (including me), so we were combined with the 9 other Children's Hunter riders.  So a pretty big class.  Here are my rounds:

I couldn't have been happier.  Ronin did exactly as I asked and was great.  It was a competitive class filled with the children's fancy warmbloods.  After all 11 went (three rounds for each), I ended up 2nd in the first class and 4th in the third one.  The rail in the second class basically knocked me out (my fault, I was trying to be quieter in the line and over did it, had to rush out a little and jumped flat).  The lines rode well, just a little quiet, he landed all of his leads but one and did a beautiful lead change and jumped great all around.  The fences were pretty low, so he wasn't too impressed.  The fences were beautifully decorated with plenty of fill and flowers.  I was so impressed by the quality of the show ring and the facility.

After my classes, the other horse who was showing was in the next division.  My trainer was riding him in the first division, the Low Hunters, and the owner was riding him in the next, the Low-Children's.  This horse had a stall for the show and the mother told me that I could put Ronin in while the horse was showing.  Ronin was very happy to be in the stall and after cleaning him up, he comfortably ate and rested.

After all of the showing, loaded the boys up and head back home.

Long day, but well worth it.  Ronin was fantastic and I couldn't have asked for a better first show :)

Thanks to my trainer for taking us to the show and to her daughter for video taping my rounds.  Thanks to my substitute show mom for helping me get ready for my classes.  I couldn't have done it without you!  Can't wait for the rest of the show season :D


  1. That's a great start to the season. Ronin looks so happy :) And what a gorgeous ring! I'm excited to see more! (P.S. couldn't watch the second two videos for some reason...says they're "private"?)

    1. I forgot to publish them. I haven't uploaded videos to youtube in forever, so I have to learn all of the new hoops they have you jump through to do stuff. Thanks for the heads up :)