Sunday, July 14, 2013

Top of the Class!

Frisco and I just returned on Monday from attending our first show at the lovely Millbrook Farms in Fairfield, UT. We were demonstration riders in a Through the Levels Symposium at Millbrook back in November but at that time everything was under snow. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the green grass and perfect footing. Frisco's favorite thing, besides being able to graze, was having automatic waterers. I was told once that he is "fire", in terms of the feng shui elements: fire, water, earth, metal, wood. I was advised to make sure he always had access to very fresh water, so he gets his water trough scrubbed and filled with fresh water every Sunday. He loves to drink straight from the water hose. So needless to say he drank constantly, so thankful to have his very own water fountain!

The venue suited him, and he was 100% honest and consistent in his Training Level Test 3 classes, earning a 74.6 and 71.2. We won that huge class both days-17 horses on Saturday and 14 horses on Sunday-across all divisions. Open riders do tend to get scored a little more stringently, whether judges like to admit they do this or not. There were many lovely 5 year olds at this show, many trained by riders who had had the opportunity to bring more young horses along than I have thus far in my career, one even trained by a German bereiter. So while Frisco may have had more show experience than most of the other young horses, his rider is far less experienced than the other young horses' riders, and he had to travel much farther. I am learning so much with him, as I have with the others. I am learning how to be there for my horse at all times. This is something you have to learn, you have to learn how to set aside all your fears and doubts and show your horse confidence, to lead him. You have to be willing to be humble and vulnerable, and keep trying to improve. I am getting better at this, and it is starting to bear fruit. Our results in the Training Level class showed this. On Saturday we earned the High Point Hundred Bucks award, donated by Sage Creek Equestrian, which is owned by Jim and Donette Hicks, Heber City, UT. We also received lovely stemless wine glasses with the Millbrook logo for our first place wins.

Frisco and I also showed First Level Test 3 both days. This needs some work. We've been doing a bit too much Second level work in our schooling lately, and not focusing enough on preparing specifically for that test. So I think Frisco was confused, and trying too hard, which is never a bad thing. We had a few miscommunications, and while we got plenty of 8s in those tests, we also got a few too many 4s. The tension from the miscues also resulted in less than elastic free walk and trot stretching, which is normally a highlight for Frisco, who inherited his mother's fantastic walk and his father's fantastic elasticity. I am encouraged, because I know that when he is more secure in the differences between the aids for simple changes versus changing lead through the trot, among other things, we'll be getting very nice scores at First Level as well, more in keeping with our Training level scores. As it was, we still managed a 62 and a 64. I am looking forward to the second Millbrook show in August, always a treat. I am very grateful to the entire Lawrence family for their hospitality, it was a wonderful showing experience. They thought of everything: ice cold cloths to cool us and our horses down after our classes; pizza and beer one night; lasagna the other night-and they remembered to provide veggie pizza and veggie lasasgna!!; and even movie night in the indoor arena Saturday night. I will not miss their shows if I can help it, it is well worth the ten hour round trips. It was also a real treat to have my husband there, I love it when he comes to shows with me. I'm pretty sure he's the hottest groom around.