Thursday, March 10, 2022

Majestic Oaks Schooling Show

 LH and I did Majestic Oaks HUGE Wednesday schooling show this week. There were 69 BN entries! The 2022 winter season in Florida has been INSANE. This was actually the second weekday schooling show Majestic Oaks did - one at the end of February they had to wait list people for and so they added this one. This show also ended up with a wait list. Craziness. 

I had a (mini) dressage lesson with JT on Tuesday. I'm figuring out riding a spookier horse - it really is like one dressage trainer told me "If they're through and they spook it just adds BRILLIANCE". In about 10 minutes JT made a HUGE difference to our run through of the test. 

Then my friend had a full lesson on her horse while I packed the trailer and bathed LH. After that we drove to Majestic and walked our courses together. 

#8 was an option, you could do the ditch or a blue/white cabin flagged the other direction. So you would have had to loop around to get to and then loop back around to keep going. Trying to add time if you took the "easier" option.

#15 was a rolltop with new fake brush in the top. My picture of it? My thumb and some grass. I texted my friend I hoped it wasn't an omen. 

I felt pretty good about the course. LH and I had schooled again at Majestic on Monday, so we had basically done the entire course then, minus #15. The schooling had gone much better, he and I are really getting the feel of each other. I'm getting used to riding him much more in a package than I could with Yoshi. 

Before schooling on Monday, he's so cute! 

Wednesday morning I woke up at 5. I had asked for early ride times because I wasn't sure if I could get someone to cover my 5-12 shift yesterday. And when there are that many entries, being first vs. last in the division makes a HUGE difference. The secretary was super accommodating, and I did dressage just before 9 and then jumped first out of all of BN, just before 2. After my early alarm, I packed coffee and snacks for me and LH and then headed down to (re)bathe him since it had rained overnight and he LOVES a good wallow. After putting him in his stall to eat breakfast and dry off, we loaded up. It's only a 15 minute drive to Majestic from JT's place, it is SO convenient for schooling and showing. She was back and forth all day, coaching me, my friend, and Ms. GY, and then shooting back over to her barn to ride training horses. 

Dressage warm up went well, JT reminded me to connect the parts of the horse. Unlike Yoshi who needed some pretty big, dramatic bends to warm up and then stay supple, LH will easily pretzel, wag his head, and fall behind my leg if I try to ride him in the exact same way. Shocking that different horses need different rides, yeah? Similar to jumping him, both legs into both hands creates a really nice picture. He is also really freaking even side to side which is pretty amazing to me. I am doing my best not to screw up. 

We laid down a very solid test, he is definitely a seasoned show horse, and the warm up we had was the test we had. The exciting part is there is plenty of finessing left to do here - the abrupt W/T transition, the slogging through the first part of the medium walk, all very much rider error that I can improve. 

25.9! Good enough for 2nd place after dressage

We then had 3 hours before jumping, so JT and I walked the XC course. She cautioned to half halt twice on the way up to the ditch to make sure he was aware there was a ditch there more than a couple of strides out. He has shown zero inclination to not do ditches. However, there was a good long gallop before it and she wanted to make sure he wasn't just cruising along and then surprised by it. The trakhener also warranted a half halt before it since the approach was pretty downhill before you turned on to the level ground. For SJ she reminded me that I needed the canter I thought I needed plus about 50%. The course itself was pretty straight forward without any big surprises. 

He hung out on the trailer happily, eating hay and sipping on some water. Not quite as much water as I would have liked to have him drink, but he was drinking some. He also found the "make cute face, insert treat" button really easily and every time I wandered back over to check on him would start begging. 

SJ warm up went well, he again was a true professional, and I was much more bothered by the warm up crowds than he was. In the ring, I rode a bit too forward and made him flat at times. Especially to the 2 stride, I was haunted a bit by memories of two strides in the one stride at home and chased him forward and flat to the in, so he took the front rail of the oxer. Then we were tight to the vertical that followed the combination, but he obliged and jumped up and over. JT said it was exactly the type of ride she wanted (erring too much forward vs. backing off to the fences), but again we (me... literally all me... he's fine) have a lot of finessing to do. Watching the video, I definitely got him tight to several, but he popped up and over them quite nicely, generously not knocking more than the one rail. 

EEK! Thanks for helping me out! 

XC warm up he was game on, and it was obvious he knew what we were about to go do. He came out of the start box like a pro and didn't question anything the whole course. There was some spooking over random prelim jumps scattered about, but once I got him focused on our fence he was good to go. The whole thing felt awesome, so much fun to be out there galloping around again! We were only about 10 seconds from speed fault time, so moving up to novice next time shouldn't be a problem speed-wise.  

We finished up in 4th place out of 15! Next on the agenda show wise is novice at the Rocking Horse Spring HT at the start of April. Can't wait for the schoolings and lessons between now and then!