Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Show Report: Xenophon Farm Dressage and Combined Tests

In this post, you have the opportunity to play "Judge for the Day"!...

We visited Xenophon Farm in Mass for their June 28 show. It was our first time there. It was also significant for two reasons:

1. It was our first show over fences.
2. It was my first time driving the trailer to a show.

We left in the early morning. We followed my instructor's rig down the interstate. She had three horses. Armani rode in my new trailer with his half-brother, whom she owns. Imagine, my first long distance haul and I was entrusted with a horse I don't even own! My husband kindly offered to ride down with me, so that I'd have another person in the truck just in case. The ride was relatively uneventful except that the young half-brother kicked at stop lights. Ugh.

It is a medium-small farm. The facilities are nice. But it was a bit crowded. They had 2 dressage rings in the morning, 1 in the afternoon, plus 1 jump field. In the morning there was no warm-up ring. Armani and I tried to warm-up in a 20-meter paddock they had open. The classes started at 8am and ran well into the afternoon - which made a long day for out of state travelers like us. But it was otherwise a nice place with friendly competitors.

Armani and I signed up for Training Test 2 and 2 foot jumpers.

First dressage...

Armani was very keyed-up for dressage. I got him under control but he was very distracted and his brother was whinnying. I was really disappointed by our score: an even 50% and last in the class of 10 or so - our worst score all season. But I knew we didn't do very well. Would you like to play judge?

So what do you think? Here's what I thought... The score was close to my guess. After the class I thought we'd get like a 55%. Armani is a naturally up-headed horse. You can see him bob his head a few times. He does that when he's nervous and distracted. More of a warm-up would have helped. I did have my rein shorter than normal. If he'd responded to my aids then I could have allowed him to take the rein contact forward and down. But I never had more than a half-pound of pressure in my hands. The judge's comments seemed to suggest I had hard hands - something of a pet-peeve of mine - so I was really bothered by that.

Oh and did you see him fart near the beginning?

But now on to jumping...
I was already bummed out from dressage. My husband pushed me, "I came here to see you jump." Oh no. Am I becoming a ribbon junky? Just looking for my next fix....?

...I felt better perched on my little jumping saddle with the other riders. I remembered my jumping days in 4H fondly. Armani popped over the fences well. He over jumped most of them. He didn't want to slow up. We just did the group "warm up", which was a bit like a demolition derby. It was exhilarating. I had "ears" in the crowd. Afterward they told me a few people commented favorably on my equitation. Well so much for dressage for that day at least. I happily concluded that we should do some more jumping.

Anyway, it was just a schooling show and we were there for fun and experience. The rest of the day I helped my instructor. Armani and my husband fell asleep at the trailer. I was happy to see them relaxed.


Golden the Pony Girl said...

You do not look like you have hard hands to me. You do look stiff and rigid though in your elbows and back. I am sure a proper warmup would have made that a whole lot better for you!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Armani is very cute and you two didn't do bad at all. The more practice you get the more comfortable you and he will be at shows.