(SprinklerBandit came out to cheer and TAKE PICTURES! Everyone cheer for TSB!)
During the warmup day at the show, he was rather up and looky. When I longed him, he threw a couple of bucks, ran around, and was generally what I'd expect from a horse at a show. We had some initial agita over the fact that even though the warmup was supposed to be set up at 9 AM, when we got there around 10:15 there were no jumps in sight. Not even in a clump in the middle of the arena. But we were nice to the organizers, and ME's husband offered to help set up the jumps if they would just get them to the arena, and things got rolling. (I mention this because there were a couple of people, at least one of them a trainer, who ended up screaming and yelling at the poor organizer rather than being reasonable and offering to help make things better instead of actively making things more difficult.) And of course, when MT arrived to warm us up, the organizer exclaimed, "Oh no, MT is here! We have to get these jumps set up!" Hehehehe.
|Trotting along in warmup (on show day, actually); me asking him to flex right a bit|
Anyway, after warming up and working both Apollo and me through nerves and focus issues, we walked into the jump arena, and suddenly Apollo knew his job. :D He looked around and basically said "Oh. Right. I know how to do this. We're good." He warmed up like a pro -- it was really just me that needed work. My mission for the entire show was leg on, shoulders back, look for your next fence, let him go on, and don't jump ahead.
By the end of the warmup, I felt pretty confident about the next day.
Next day, I got to see just how awesome Apollo is: he unloaded calmly, looked around, and when we walked up to the warmup area ... he was just about all business. A little bit of looking at the new sights, but once I put him on the longe line, he was the same horse I ride at home. Completely the same. Maybe a bit tense, but I know that if I'd been working on getting him into a dressage frame, he'd have done it. Total professional.
|Just jumping a little warmup X|
I have to say here that I am SO glad I'm an eventer. We have time and order of go, and if you're not ready at your time without a major reason, well ... the show goes on. There's no downtime, no stretches of 20 - 45 minutes with perfectly good jumps/weather/footing and no one in the arena jumping the jumps. (Unless someone got hurt or there's a hold on course for some reason.) At this show, there were several stretches of time when there was ... nothing ... going on in the arena. I was there, prepared, warmed up, and ready to go, and ... nothing. In the middle of my 2' class, they actually broke in the middle of my class to have the Walk-Trot class go! 0.o Say what?! Anyway, when they were going to do their break, I basically had to assert myself and say HEY! I WANT MY ROUND! Very strange.
|The course - the second element of 4 wasn't up for my classes.|
Numbers in parentheses are jumpoff course.
Not quite to scale, but you can get the idea.
I'd been worried about forgetting my course and the jumpoff course in the days before the show. I actually used Suzanne's technique of identifying storytelling to help myself get over it -- the story is that OMG I will forget my course and look ridiculous and be disqualified! The truth is that nothing like that had happened yet, that even if I did forget the course it's not like no one has ever done it before, and if I wanted a second go-round, I could buy in again. It worked -- I didn't forget either the main course or the jumpoff! Of course, the order was the same in both of my classes, so that helped. ;)
The 2' class went quite well! I am sure the judge heard me muttering to myself "leg on, shoulders back" at every fence. :) I felt like I achieved my goal at almost all the fences, only getting ahead once or twice, and only losing my leg once. In the warmup MT had told me that if I have a rail with Apollo, it's because I've leaned forward. I took that as kind of a diagnostic tool: if I hear him knock the fence, I got ahead, and don't do the next fence that way. I got ahead, he klonked (but did not drop) a rail, I didn't do the next fence that way!
|Leetle tiny fence; looking for next leetle fence|
Anyway, we had a good round, and we came up with a lovely third place ribbon. :D Seeing as my whole goal was to ride well, rather than get a ribbon, the scrap of satin was a bonus.
I felt like the 2'3 class went much better for me than the 2' class did. I felt like I rode better, chose better lines, and generally had a smoother, more rhythmic go. I'm running out of words, so here, see it in pictures:
|Fence 1 - Apollo looking good and me looking for fence 2|
|Fence 7 - I lost my leg a bit because my heels weren't down enough,|
but Apollo's looking good in this one. You can tell we came with
enough pace to this fence.
|I like this one of me. A bit forward but not so much as|
to interfere, and my leg is tight if not quite forward enough.
This might be a jumpoff shot, judging from my turned head.
|What a very, very good boy he is! The judge agreed;|
she said "yes, he IS a good boy!" as we went by.
|Love this horse!|
Of course, when I went to go ride today, just to hack around and tell Apollo how great he is, he'd lost a shoe. Alas. :) We'll get it put back on tomorrow and get back on track.