We went to the annual carriage driving and pleasure show this weekend. I had us down for 3 main ring classes and 2 of the games classes. When we got there, I added another main ring class and the third games class.
I didn't get as early a start as I would have liked, but still managed to get to the showgrounds in plenty of time. Traffic was fairly light even though there was a race of sime kind at PIR nearby. I got checked in, Kat unloaded and had time to breathe while we got ready. Classes were going along, there were no skips between the first class and our first class #6 Reinsmanship Single Pony.
We tanked and got 5th of 5 which pretty much set the tone for the day. The judge came to speak to me and her comments were about the shafts not being level, which was causing me to sit fairly hunched over. Duly noted and we have been dealing with the shafts for a while now...
Between class 6 and 13 we had plenty of time so we went over to the 'Games' arena and licked our wounds. We were entered in Your Route- My Route, and Fault and Out which were both using the same set up for the cones... we waited our turn and were ready to go. To keep things fair for everyone, they only allow walking and trotting in the games classes. This is so that everyone of every level can compete with a decent chance. Not fair for the beginners to be limited to trotting and advanced being able to canter or gallop, so this is the reason behind the rules.
YR-MR is 10 cones. You take them in order, in the correct direction- red number on the right. When you pass through #10 you take all 10 cones again- in any order, any direction. Fastest time wins, clean round of course. We were clean, but I have no idea what our time was. I wouldn't find out until later in the day how we did...
Since F&O was using the same course, I checked to see where the main ring classes were and slipped back into line for the games ring and our shot at F&O. Fault and Out is pretty self explanitory. You go through the start/finish where your time starts. You go through the cones 1-10 in the proper order and directions. Once you pass through #10, you continue going around through the cones (proper order and directions) until you either knock down a ball or have a refusal. As we went through #10- down came the ball. Crap! Lol! I looked at the judge Jim and said, "That did us in didn't it?" He looked back at #10 and smiled at me as we slowed to a walk and he said, "Yes, it did." I figured we were toast on this one, and would have to wait for the damage report later on.
Next up in the main ring was our Reinsmanship Open class, where again, we tanked and got 3rd of 3. This time the judges comments were to check his mouth when we unhitched. It appears his tongue is rubbing on a sharp tooth or something and there's blood. I was using his butterfly bit, because I wanted to have steering, brakes and some level of control for the morning classes. He was going fairly light in it and I have never had any issues with him or the bit before, but ok. I would look into it since I wanted to switch him to the snaffle for the later classes after he worked down. They were calling for a lunch break so things worked out for us here.
When I checked his mouth, there was no blood, no bruising, no signs of any issues. Chalk it up to Whatever?!?! and go on. I put Kat in the trailer to pee, went and found him some water and went to hit the bathrooms myself. I was settling up with the entry table when they said class 14 was in the ring, there were no entries in 15 and Uh Oh! We are IN class 16. I ran back to the trailer to harness up and put Kat to the cart, throw on my hat, coat, gloves and apron and get back to the arena. Lucky for us, the batteries in the show staff walkie-talkies had died and there was a hold-up while they were replaced. Whew!
We slipped into the holding area and waited for our class. Working Pleasure Pony. This time I'm not sure what the reason was, but again we tanked. 5th of 5. There was no comments from the judge to give me any idea, but we took our ribbon and left the arena.
Again I headed for the games arena, since we had a little time and to go lick our wounds again. Kat was getting a little strong in the bridle on me with the switch to the snaffle, but he was still behaving fairly well for the most part and I chalked it up as a WTF? Day. As in What The F... do you want from us?
The course for Reverse Psychology was set up and we slipped into line to wait. In RP, you take the course of cones in order , 1-10, going the right direction- red #'s on the right. After going through # 10, you drive it again only in the reverse order and directions. Red on the left, 10, 9, 8, etc. It is timed and balls down count as penalties. We had another clear round and no idea of our time... so we headed back to the main ring for our last class of the day.
Ladies to Drive entered the ring. There were 5 of us again and I felt Kat had a fairly decent go. Poor guy was getting a bit pooped out, but he still held strong and did his job. I should have known better as the ribbons were being handed out and placings called. The judge had come over to talk to the woman beside me, but before I could take our 5th place ribbon and head for the gate, she turned to us and stopped us. "I had to ding you on this one because, Traditionally, Ladies don't drive stallions." Heavy emphasis on the *Ladies* part there.
I looked at her and said, "That's ALL I drive."
"Yes, but traditionally, *Ladies* don't drive stallions."
"Oh so a technicality. Nice"
"Yes, that and you are wearing jeans."
I was a bit disappointed about the last class, but figured Whatever?!?! again and headed back to the trailer to unhitch and tend to Katman. He had done well and behaved for the most part, save a couple of small incidents, he listened and repsonded in the ring and gave me what he could. Our day was done and it was time to let him relax. Besides, he needed his braids out and I needed food.
Over dinner, I decided she didn't like my pony for whatever reasons and yeah... rather than telling me he was too flat- it happens, inconsistent in his gaits- it happens, looked a tad tenderfooted- there were strides in the day he looked a little 'gimpy' here and there, I had trimmed him the night before due to time constriants leading up to the day.... Any of these comments, I would have gladly accepted. It is what it is and none of our performances in the main ring classes were absolutely perfect.
My friends consoled me by saying he is a competition pony, not a boring round and round, main ring kind of horse. True, but...
When she said Traditionally *Ladies* don't drive stallions, did you ask her- "Who said I was a Lady????" Well no... but if I had, I may have dropped an f'bomb in there for added emphasis. (You know me!)
As it turned out, we had won Your Route- My Route, pulled down a 2nd in Reverse Psychology and still managed to place 4th in Fault & Out. All was not totally lost and tomorrow is another day. We still had the ADT, the last one of the year in the series... We were sitting in second and there was a chance that if we scored well enough and won for the day, we would be tied for first in the year end standings. Here's hoping!