Santo's first show
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 10:16 PM
I took Santo to his first show on the first weekend of May. It was a schooling show at the same place I did clinic with Alixa Sutton. Because it wasn't EC (Equine Canada) recognized show the dressage tests were Cadora tests
Santo and Chica arrived at the showgrounds Friday night. I booked for them an outdoor paddock where they could be together.Because rein was coming and going I was afraid the paddock would be muddy and my horses would be all wet and dirty next day. I was lucky, no rein! Horses had a chance to settle in and look around while I was coaching couple students. Then it was Santo's turn to check out big and very beautiful indoor arena of Maple Leaf Meadows International. I was expecting emotions and high spirits, jumps and sprints. As soon as we entered the arena and I started lunging him I knew he was OK. He was eager to look around and spooked from flowers, huge mirrors, etc. But these were not real spooks, he wasn't scared or upset, there was no built-in tension in him. He listened well and stayed connected to me. We cruised around arena on a lunge line once each direction and then I rode him for about 20 minutes. At the end he was absolutely fine, just a bit distracted by a new place. I was very pleased. For some reason indoor arenas never bothered him, we have been in 5 different ones and he never really spooked in any of them.
My plan for warm-up on the Saturday morning was to braid him, then lunge him for 10 minutes in warm-up ring, which was a small coverall arena. After that tack him up and be ready to ride 30 minutes before our first test. I booked to ride my tests one after another without leaving the arena. I executed my plan to the minute :) It worked really well, 30 minutes exactly what he needed to supple up and start paying good attention to me but still have energy left for the tests. The show was running a bit late, common thing for dressage shows. Luckily, not too much. We only had to wait another 10 minutes before it was our time. I could feel him being very comfortable and relaxed. This is not the best state of mind for Santo because he becomes lazy when he is too comfortable. The tests went quite smoothly apart from my right hamstring muscle which started cramping in the middle of the test. I had to stop using my legs being afraid it will crump so much I have to stop riding. You can see on Youtube video during free walk I am stretching my right leg :) We got 68.9% in our test B. We didn't make any real mistakes and judge liked his free walk, long and low circle, trot diagonals. Our transitions are quite rough, all I did is thought about walk and Santo would stop going forward completely. Turkey! :)
Youtube - Test B
Test D felt good and I rode my transitions better, however, we had 5 mistakes. Santo did 2 of them and I did 3 :) We got 63.3%. Overall, judge liked Santo's movement, how his haunches are working, she wanted him to be more consistently on the bit and his transitions needs work. This was Santo's first show and I think he really came through for me. I think he has the mind to be a show horse. He was distracted and inattentive at times but absolutely comfortable with the whole atmosphere and so much commotion - people, horses, dog, cars, trucks, flags, you name it.
After my tests I had a chance to join a jumping schooling round with one of the MLM instructors. I couldn't pass that opportunity. Santo has never seen the real jumps up close. All I have at home is couple white standards and a few dark poles. Here it was a complete jumping course set up with flower boxes, weird planks and brightly colored poles. Santo jumped couple jumps without questions. Other jumps looked too scary so we had to do a few attempts to get over them. Mind you, one of them was 2 feet oxer he never seen or jumped. It is funny how nerves can get better of you. I feel so comfortable jumping him at home, we jump easily 2' 6''. Here at the show grounds I could feel myself getting nervous, starting to override and hold too much. Stephanie Mah, Maple Leaf Meadows jumping instructor, was very supportive, very positive and allowed Santo to make mistakes. I liked that very much. Overall, It was a great venue and I will go back next year may be even more than just once.
Happy riding...
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