Sunday, June 22, 2008


Hmm. Did I say that camping Friday through Saturday and then going to a schooling show on Sunday wouldn't be tiring?

Ha. Who was I kidding?

The horses were just fine, but I am one tired kid. Yes, you crazy people who get like five hours of sleep per night notwithstanding, I really really need about 8 hours of sleep a night. 9 is ideal, but my body can't handle less than 7 for a few days at a time or I get really cranky and start to get sick. In any case, both camping and the show were quite fun!

A quick overview before I go crash for a nap:

I had a blast where we went. It's a state park in Salem, and they have campsites that fit four horses and two tents (though really there's plenty of room for that and more). Since we had five horses and seven people, we took up two adjacent campsites. McKinna was awesome on the trail - just truckin' along being the lead horse, totally fine with all of it except the occasional downed log in the underbrush. For whatever reason, she really doesn't think that big chunks of wood belong in all the bushes and stuff. Don't ask me why, but without fail, every time we passed big pieces of wood in the brush she'd scoot sideways a little and look at it like it came from the moon. Other than that she was good. The rest of the party had the occasional panic issue, probably because the trail was single-file and a bit windy through the woods. There was some bucking and some all-out meltdowning (at the end one of our riders got off to walk for a bit because her horse just lost it), but the majority of the ride was quite nice.

For me the only unpleasant part was the heat. It was just downright muggy - hot I don't mind, but humid sucks. All the horses were pretty wet by the time we were done (except McKinna, who was only a little sweaty under the saddle pad - do I get to be proud of that?). They all slept cheerfully in the corrals and we went for a short ride the next morning with no issues at all.

We ended up taking only Chaucer and McKinna to this show. I did Intro A and B on Chaucer and A on McKinna, then Mom did B on McKinna. All in all it was a very successful first show! We ended up with some ribbons but those hardly count at schooling shows (especially when they score juniors separate and I was one of very few people under 18!).

The real victories were in the rides, though. My first ride on Chaucer was alright - not bad, not good, but still a definite improvement over past rides. Generally inverted and counterbent, but I'm looking for the right gait and the right general direction, here ;)

My ride on McKinna was . . . stressed. I didn't give myself enough time to warm up. I KNOW better, but I did it anyway. The test itself was actually pretty okay, and I got some nice moments, but I know it would have been way better if I'd taken the time to walk and trot for about twenty minutes before I went in.

The awesome part was in Intro Tests B, though! I went first on Chaucer and I was just blown away by how good he was. His lines were straight! His free walk was stretchy! His trot across the diagonal was downright powerful! Our weak spots were the trot circles, where he lost focus and wanted to go fast. But my goodness, I was so happy with him, as I'm sure you can tell by the exclamation marks ad nauseam! That trot across the diagonal was really something. He reached into the bit, brought his back up, and was dead-on straight. It made me really itch to bring him along further just to feel what his trot lengthenings and extensions would feel like.

Last up was my mom on McKinna, and that little horse was just a saint. For my mom's first dressage test ever, she trotted around relaxed and calm, reaching into the bit, marching along at the walk, and halting perfectly on the centerline. From a horse that normally gets so anxious she trots around at warp speed with her head flung high, that's pretty darn good! My mother, by the way, was also pretty awesome.

So all in all the weekend was a great success, and I am off to bed.

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