February 28, 2009

Onslow Show

It must be getting closer to winter, as it was pitch black while I was loading (all the horses were very good, walking up the ramp only by the light of the torch I was carrying). We stopped by and picked up Swifty who had offered to help out for the day and headed on down to Ohariu Valley. I didn't managed to get any sleep last night at all (well, 15 minutes - but I'm not sure that really counts!) so I wasn't too keen on even competing at first, but after a redbull and getting started tidying the horses up the motivation finally arrived. Weather almost looked like it might hold when we arrived there, but that didn't last long! It was pouring while I was saddling and warming up.
Though Devon is sold, his new owner was happy for me to take him out today so he could get his first outing under his belt. He had a look around when I first got on, and wasn't sure about the loudspeakers (eyeing them very suspisciously!). He very quickly got focused on the task at hand and was super even in the crowded ring cantering around and the turnout lineup that took forever or perhaps even a bit longer than forever! I couldn't have asked more from him really - he took everything in his stride and though he had a few green moments (mostly just taking a bit longer to prepare for transitions) he did everything he was asked to and nice tidy workouts (we were called in for every class).
We picked up a ribbon in the rider class, and then came first in the open showhack class and second in the paced and mannered! I am totally over the moon with this performance - especially for his first outing, and in such big classes.
I took Devon & Princess in the 70cm jumping class, but talked to the judge and just did a few uprights on each of them from the course as I felt it was just a bit much for them. I was pleased how they both coped with the situation and the warm up area... they just both need more schooling at home before either of them is really ready to tackle a course. Piccies over the practise fence:
Prince was also entered for Ring2 jumping. He warmed up on the flat quite nicely, and was pretty relaxed about everything going on around him. After a few practise fences he got a bit more stressed, but we just went and did some more flat schooling in between our warmup fences to try and keep him nice and calm.
The ground was very slippery and even with studs in Prince was slipping. I tried to do a steady round and not let him get too full of himself, so we picked angled lines instead of doing tight turns or putting any speed on. He did a nice clear round and our angles must have been good enough because he walked away with the win.
I was really pleased with how all the greenies had gone, so I scratched from all of the rest of the jumping to end on a good note, and also to avoid jumping any more on the slippery ground. Poor Neo spent the whole day tied to the truck eating hay in the pouring rain as the ground in Ring1 was horribly slippery and he doesn't have studs in (and I can't put them in, because he hates them!). Such a hassle sometimes is Mr Neo, but we love him anyway. Fingers crossed for good ground conditions next weekend, and I will also make an effort to do an arena session midweek for Neo to get a bit of a refresher because it's been a while since he did any jumping now!