Our judge for dressage was the same one from the show. Eyeroll, sigh and a big whatever. She didn't like Kat and I yesterday, I didn't hold out any hope that she changed her mind overnight. One of my friends reminded me that for pleasure and main ring type classes- The arena is the
I had chosen to use our butterfly bit again- just added measures to ensure we had brakes and may actually stop at X this time. Remember last month we galloped into the ring and I was hauling on him hard to stop? I didn't want a repeat. I had also lunged him before putting his harness on. Everything combined- Kat couldn't give much of a swish of his tail either way. He wasn't pushing anything, wasn't challenging my cues or leadership, he just went about his way and did as I asked.
On two parts of the test we trotted right past the judge. As we went by the first time, I had a few rather *unsavory* thoughts going through my mind for her which caused me to start laughing. It was a tension breaker for both me and my pony. Was it unprofessional on my part? Maybe, but I didn't speak it out loud, just kept it to myself and thought what I wanted. Had I said what I was thinking- well that would be a different story altogether. I have always used the phrase in the arena, "Smile like you have the best secret in the world. This time I did a little more than smile and for a reason.
As it was- our scores for every movement, were all either a 5 or 6. At least we were consistent! At the bottom, all of my scores were 6's with the notes of Needs consistent contact in both up and down transitions. With the butterfly bit, I was barely touching the reins and signaling for turns by 'feathering' my touch with them. Less is more and Kat was uber responsive. Had I taken a hold and had contact- he would have been behind the bit, gaping at the mouth and a host of other things we would have gotten nailed for. I would gladly take the lesser of the evils.
Our score was a 63.61 overall. Pretty much in line with some of our other scores and since this judge "wasn't giving anything away", I'll take it and move on. Which we did, heading over to the cones...
With two rings, both the minis and the horse/pony ring feeding into the cones, the organizers thought there may be a bog down at some point with competitors lined up for their turn. The cones have to be set one width for mini's, another for the larger horses/ponies and this took a minute or two to do each time. If there were 3-4 mini's lined up, they would set the cones and run them through, stacking the horses/ponies up for their turn after resetting the cones. This kept everything moving along fairly well.
There were also 3 sets of cones in the warm up area for practicing. This worked well because I only allowed Kat to walk through them. This kept him moving and loosened up without letting him get the idea he could run around and go berserk acting like a wackadoodle loon. As it was, once our turn came- he was doggin' on me bad. I had to really push him to get him to trot. We halted and saluted the judge, went through the start finish gate and were off to do our best.
This time there were only 15 cones since the arena space was smaller and a bit more limited. Usually there is 20 cones staring at you, trying to trip you up. I pushed Kat on and even told him he could go a little faster as long as he kept it at a trot. He never once broke gait and cantered, instead it was the opposite. He felt like at any time he would putter out and just walk.
As we went through cone #12 we were still clear with no balls down. Lining up for #13, I looked at it thinking red on the right and realized we had just gone through cone #12 the wrong way. I circled Kat back around and corrected it before going on, but as we went through the right way, I asked the guy by the fence- "We are pretty much dead for that one, aren't we?"
"Yeah I think so."
"Ahhh shit." I laughed it off and went on.
In the obstacles, if you go through a gate in the wrong order or direction, as long as you correct it before going through the next one, you are not eliminated, but you do get penalty points. I hoped the same applied to cones as we finished the course. As we passed through the finish line our time was 3 minutes flat. The time allowed was 3 minutes, 20 seconds. We were double clear, which means no balls down, no time penalties. I saluted and thanked the judge as I waited nearby, to hear the guy by the fence say "She went thru 12 backwards."
Jim looked at me as I said, "Yes. We did do that! I corrected it and went thru the right way again before going thru 13. Are we out for that one?" He was going to check with the other judges to see if we were still in the game or eliminated and doomed. I kinda figured we were doomed as we headed back to the trailer to unhook and give Kat a break before obstacles in the afternoon.