Monday, June 8, 2009

Show Report: Morton Farm Dressage

Armani and I just got back from the schooling show at Morton Farm, the Dartmouth College Riding Center. It's a nice facility; white fences and red barns. The warm-up is conveniently next to the show ring. So I was disappointed to hear that, due to low turn-out, this would be their last dressage show for the year. They will be hosting some hunter/jumper shows however.

This was our first outing of the year. We did Training-1 and 2. Armani was nervous and looky. But he remained under control. We scored 55.6% T-1, 2nd out of 4. Comments on contact and submission.

Between classes we had an hour long break. I was sweltering in my jacket. We retreated to the trailer for a drink and a snack. I was proud to see him starting to doze. How far he has grown from the wild youth I bought at auction.

We revived ourselves for our second test. We scored 56.5% T-2; 4th out of 6. Armani still had enough "spirit" to try to run off with me at the canter. More comments on submission. Perhaps we should take up endurance?

A confession

I've discovered how challenging it is for the "adult amateur". I got out of work late but I still had to clean, practice and pack the night before. After a fitful sleep, courtesy of an ear-ache, Tylenol PM and banishing my ever-supportive husband to the couch, I got to the barn at an uncivilized hour. Loaded Armani. Fortunately I wasn't driving and had a friend. But she was just as "on her own" as me. And it was her first dressage show. I found myself in the unfamiliar position of "experienced showman". Plus we traded off babysitting duty on the accompanying 7 year old. Between the lead rope and holding the kid by the collar (can you halter train children?) I didn't even have a hand to take photos. But seeing my friend's delight at winning her first class was worth while.

Oh and I always pack tasty treats, a la sophisticated "picnic" at the horse show. We sure could have used a hand. There was plenty of food. Will grooms work for food?

Another confession

(Puts on her fireproof suit.) The judge was someone I've taken lessons with regularly. There aren't many schooling shows in a day's drive. My horse and I both need mileage. We were offered a ride. I discussed it with everyone involved. I asked to be entered "hor concours". But the show secretary said that it wouldn't be necessary as it was a small, relaxed schooling show. The judge - trying to make me feel better I think - insisted she'd be "mean" to me. So I put on my bravest face and showed anyway. I planned to be honest if asked; though no one did. But in my own mind, I pictured a total stranger in the booth. However, I still felt a bit awkward. I've always prided myself as a friendly and honest sportsman. Was it immoral of me? Would you have minded if you were there? Or perhaps I'm being too much of worrier?


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great outing, enjoyed by all! I wouldn't worry about the issue with who the judge was - you disclosed it and they weren't worried because it was a schooling show - in a true show it would matter more, but you did the right thing.

Paint Girl said...

It would not have bothered me at all. You want to show, and it just so happens you knew the judge. Most judges are honest. Although at a judge at a schooling show I showed at 2 years ago wasn't. She place her students above others in the class, it was very obvious that the students should not have placed higher than the non-students. It was very frustrating. But what do you do?

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm happy to hear you and Armani did so well. It's always hard to have to do everything yourself when you show and we would all love a little help. But you made it work anyway.

As for knowing the judge, I think you were very honest and gave them an opportunity to say yeah or nay. It's only a schooling show so it's not a big deal.

There are so many judges out there who pin their students or friends students it's ridiculous. Your judge sounds like one of the good ones. Glad you all had a nice time.

molly said...

Just discovered your blog and love it- I am never going to get any work done if I keep finding these internet treasure troves!
I say at a schooling show I would not have been angry at all as a fellow competitor. We are all there (mostly) to learn from the experience and the comments not to win. I would think as she knows your horse she would have had higher expectations for you! As for your other confession I agree. It is getting very hard for me to find the time for even a local show and I never have the energy to put into the prep and the actual show day as I had in my youth. Oh to be young and unemployed!

Stephanie said...

I think you should not worry! You disclosed the info, they did not mind and after all it was a schooling show. (after all you may have actually been at a disadvantage... she may have been extra critical because she knows you :)
Either way, all that matters is that you had a good time, and Armani behaved well.
Plus the added bonus of being there for your friend!

Net said...

Especially in an area with few schooling shows, I would expect some competitors to train with or know the judge. Where a higher level show may fly in a judge, a schooling show will use someone local to the area. If there are few schooling shows to attend, I definitely wouldn't expect his or her students to have to miss out.