Thursday, September 29, 2011

MHA Maine Event Horse Show - Sept. 25, 2011

This past Sunday was the last MHA horse show of the season.  The Maine Event is held at the Hollis Equestrian Park and is a Class A show.  I brought Reva to do four in hand classes and four riding classes.  She was a very good girl and I am super proud of her!!  I decided to ride her both saddleseat and hunt seat.  Professional photos by Unbridled Photography are HERE.  

Results for the day...
Championship 2-Gait Standardbred
1st place Standardbred 2-Gait Pleasure 
1st place Standardbred 2-Gait Equitation
1st place Open 2-Gait Pleasure
1st place Standardbred In Hand
1st place Hunter Horse In Hand
3rd place English Horse In Hand
3rd place Open Horse Halter Championship

In Hand...

Oh HIIIII judge!
This one makes me smile!  :-)

HIIIIII again judge!!

Love my Morgan wanna-be!  ;-D

I know her head needs to be higher...but she still looks really pretty!  :-D

Hunt seat...


It was a great day, despite the heat and humidity.  My friend Shelly couldn't bring McKeever, as she was marshaling at the Cumberland Fair.  While I did miss having her there, it was a lot of fun to spend time with friends Margo, Amanda, and Nathan.  They always make me laugh.  And Amanda had a WONDERFUL ride on her gorgeous 3 year old American Saddlebred, pinning second in ASB Country Pleasure!!!!  Yay Amanda and Gemma!!!

Thanks to my friend Amber for helping out as my groom and photographer for the day!  :-)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Reva's New Jewelry

After showing so much progress and growth this year, not to mention winning many ribbons, I felt Reva had certainly "earned" her first custom browband.  Thanks to Half Halt Designs!

I think she likes it.....LOL!  :-D

Friday, September 23, 2011

SMDA Dressage Show - Sept. 18, 2011

Dreamy and I competed in our last SMDA show of the season on Sunday, September 18, 2011.  My friend Tania (from the Stepping Stone 2-phase post) came along with Otis.  It was their first dressage show and I really hoped they would do well, especially after the debacle of the weekend before.  Tania rode Intro A and B, so her times were much earlier than mine.  I hauled Dreamy to the show grounds a few hours early so that I could be there to support Tania.  She and Otis ROCKED their two tests, winning both A and B with excellent scores!  Sweet redemption!  (And the show actually used the RIGHT TESTS!!!!! :-/)  You can read about her day here!  I am hopeful that she will become a member of SMDA and try for year end points next year! 

I was very pleased with our last dressage show of the year.  We entered Training 3, Prix Caprilli, and First 1.  Dreamy was a bit stiff when I first got on her and had a hard time maintaining the connection to the bit in our first test especially.  She wanted to lean on me and travel above the bit.  Maybe leaving her on the trailer for almost 3 hours was a bad idea.....oh well.  Live and learn.  But I did feel that she improved over the day and the more walking and stretching I did with her, the better.  I have to also remember that she is 20 years old this year, and while very sound and happy in her work, she simply has age working against her.

We scored a 62.400% on our Training 3 test for a second place out of four riders.  We had a two 5s on our canter circles (First time since last year...poop!), and the rest were 7s and 8s.   I also got a 5 on our trot transition, but the comment says "balanced".  So that seems sort of odd, to get a low score but it says it was balanced???  Oh well.  We had 6s and 7s on the collectives.
Love this photo!  Training 3

This was our fifth time competing in the (training level) Prix Caprilli and we were UNDEFEATED for the year!  Yay!  We won for the fifth time with a 65.800% out of just two riders this time.  (It was more fun to win this class when there were 5 riders, but oh well!  ;-)  It was all 6s and 7s with an 8 on the free walk.  Again with the 6s and 7s on collectives.  I love finally getting 7s on rider position.  And I know I can still improve and make those 8s!!

Prix Caprilli!
I think I look so weird jumping in dressage tack!!  LOL!
And I even have a video!

We scored a 63.100% and placed three out of seven (or maybe six?) on First 1.  It was all 6s and 7s, with 8s on the free walk and final center line/salute.  Again, 6s and 7s on the collectives with a 7 this time on submission.  This was a much better test than Training 3 and she was much more fluid and supple.  We had 6s on our right lead canter and lengthening, with a 7 on the transition! To the left we are still a bit lacking, with a 5 on the left lead circle, and 6s on the depart and lengthening.   Oh, and we did get a 7 on the first trot lengthening!  Progress is slow, but we are getting there!  :-)

Starting the stretchy trot circle...

Our final year end scores for the Southern Maine Dressage Association are as follows.  The club awards year ends based on tests.  So I was able to qualify for four different tests this year from five shows!  I am excited to attend the banquet in January!

Prix Caprilli = 67.5%
Training 3 = 62.8%
First 1 = 61.733%
First 2 = 57.00%
*SMDA averages the tests together

And as for Maine Dressage Society, they award year ends by level only.  Prix Caprilli did not count at the state level, only at the southern Maine regional level.  That was sort of a bummer, since our Prix Caprilli Training level scores were better than our Training 3 scores.  LOL!  And I also had to include our test scores from the USDF three day Isaac Royal show we did back in July.

Training Level =60.833%
First Level =61.104%
*MDS uses the median score, NOT the average

Overall I am very proud of our year!  All of our training level scores came from Test 3, which is the hardest test in the level now.  My goal was to average out at at least 60% at both levels, especially for First since it is our first year trying it.  You can see that First 2 is a hard test for Dreamy and the average was a bit lower (and I only rode it three times early in the season, so no opportunity to show further growth this fall).  But our overall First level score for MDS was higher than Training level!  HA HA HA!  I was pretty nervous to try First Level at all this year, not to mention on a horse not bred to do dressage (ha ha ha), so this feels like a real success.  
Put your ears up mare!

Hard work pays off!     
This is Dreamy's Look of Death.

Dreamy: "Don't get near me!"
Otis: "But I looooooove you!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stepping Stone Farm 2-Phase - Sept. 11, 2011

Dreamy and I went up to Carmel, ME (almost three hours away) on Sunday, September 11 for a 2-phase event.  My friend Tania came along with me and I trailered her horse Otis.  It was Tania's first 2-phase, as she did her first three phase earlier this summer.  I have never been to this farm and normally I do not attend any of the Maine Eventing and Combined Training Association (MECTA) events because I have never found them particularly well run.

Well, sadly, this one was no different.  I will never show here again.  :-(

While everything else was awful, I will say that Dreamy was fabulous.  We won dressage with a 27.62, which is amazing.  We had a few 6s, mostly 7s and 8s, and TWO NINES!!!!  Holy crap!  They were on our free walk and left lead canter depart.  We went clear in stadium and she was very easy and happy.  The stadium course was very tight but I was pleased with her.  It made me realize that we could easily move up to Beginner Novice if we wanted (we show at Elementary right now, which is one step below BN).  We tied for first and the tie was broken by our collective marks...which put us into second place overall!  YAY DREAMY!

I was not happy with the parking, the warm up, or the general lack of professionalism.  The farm is right on top of Route 95, aka the Maine Turnpike, the major interstate here in the state.  We had to park across the (busy) street from the farm, in an uneven field that had not been mowed for quite a long time, which meant we were surrounded by dangerous traffic if a horse got loose.  I was not comfortable leaving a horse tied to the trailer, so we ended up keeping the horses with us at all times.  It was not ideal.

Worse was the dressage warm up.  It was a small, cramped, muddy, and extremely unlevel area behind the indoor and about 20 feet from the interstate.  It was hard to hear over the roar of the cars and trucks going 65+ mph.  No one could canter more than four strides and two horses warming up at the same time made it too cramped.  Yeah, it was ridiculous.  Dressage was held in a small and dark indoor, which would not have been that bad except for the UNLEVEL footing!  Every time we came around into the center of the ring for a movement, we were going downhill.  I felt like I was riding my dressage test on a mountainside.

Stadium warm up was cramped between the side of the indoor and a steep hill on the regular road in an area about 15' x 20'.  With three jumps in a line across, it was incredibly unsafe.  And when you landed from a jump, you immediately landed into the "dressage warm up".  Yep, it was stellar.  (note the sarcasm)  I firmly believe if you are going to hold a competition at your farm, you must have adequate facilities.  Not the case here.  :-(

And then there was no one around to help.  The farm owner/event manager was also the stadium judge so there was no way to ask her any questions.  My friend Tania had a mishap in the dressage (see link below) but there was no way to interrupt the jumping to speak with the manager!!  And while it showed on the score board that I was the winner of my division, they handed me a red ribbon.  It felt very awkward to do this, but I asked why I had not won since that is what the score board showed.  The young girl who gave me my ribbon and dressage test said that a boarder there at the farm decided to ride at the last minute and they never bothered to put her on the score board.  So I was to accept the fact that I tied with someone else and when the tie was broken I was in second.  I feel it is only correct to show ALL the rides and scores on the board.  It felt wrong and unethical to me and only further confirmed that Stepping Stone Farm was NOT a place to every return to.  We never even took any photos because we were both upset and just wanted to go home at the end of the day.

Here is Tania's mishap.  It was pretty infuriating to me and very upsetting to her.  I think it was WORSE than all of my complaints above combined.  The events that happened were out of her control and nothing she could have planned for.  I am proud of her and Otis no matter what.  We both sent negative event evaluations to MECTA and she also sent a letter directly to the farm.  Within days, without any other word or note, she received a refund check in the mail.  It was the least they could do.

Despite that, we did have fun together.  Tania and I get along very well and it is always fun to spend time with her.  And both horses were very well behaved.  :-) 

  Please remember the opinions expressed here are MINE alone!  If you disagree, that is fine.  Freedom of speech is honored in Bloggerland, so I am free to write my opinion and you are free to disagree.  If you are offended, just stop reading!  :-)  Yay!   It is as easy as that.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Marshaling at Cornish Horsemen's Day

For the sixth year in a row, Dreamy and I went to the local trotting track here in town to marshal the amateur races at the Cornish Horseman's Day on September 10, 2011.  We had a great time with Shelly and McKeever, our partners in crime.  Sadly no one took any photos except the track photographer, so I have none to share right now!  :-(  Oh well!  

It is neat that after a few years of attending as a part of a local club, Shelly and I (and McKeever and Dreamy, of course!) are now specifically requested as marshals.  Diann P. has requested us for the last three years and it makes me feel very proud that she does so.  Also, she has requested that we marshal at the Sire Stakes Finals at Scarborough Downs.  Unfortunately, this year we could not be there for the 2 year olds (Sept. 11) but we will be there for the 3 year olds in October!  

I enjoy being at the track and marshaling is one of my favorite activities.  I also think it is a great way to show the public how STBs can have successful under saddle careers after racing.  Highlights  at Cornish this year included chatting with many spectators, ordering a hot dog over the fence and eating it on horseback (without even dripping ANY mustard on my white breeches!  WHOOO!!), and having NO racing mishaps on the track!  Yay!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This is why I love Peter Atikins....

A blog friend went to an event camp this summer....and one of the clinicians was Peter Atkins!  LOL!  You have to watch the video (click on his name). I hope I get to ride with him again someday! 

Labor Day Classic - Sept. 3-4, 2011

The Maine Horse Association (MHA) added a new show to the roster this year by affiliating with the the Maine Quarter Horse (MeQHA).  The show was typically just a QH show, but became an open Class B show this year.  It was fun to return to Skowhegan Fairgrounds for a second time in a year; normally we just go up in June for the Downeast Congress.

Reva and I had a good show with many ribbons.  She was a very good girl.  My goals were to have fun and have no bucking in the under saddle classes.  We achieved both goals!  Yay!!

Reva being such a big girl...she is calm and happy at shows and I love it!

Reserve Champion Open 2-Gait Pleasure (out of 4)
Reserve Champion Standardbred 2-Gait Pleasure (out of 2)
1st place Standardbred 2-Gait Pleasure (out of 2)
2nd place Standardbred In Hand (out of 2)
2nd place Standardbred Equitation (out of 2)
2nd place Open 2-Gait Pleasure (out of 4)
4th place Hunter Horse In Hand (out of 5)
4th place Trail Challenge (out of 7)

Our In Hand ribbons...

And the really funny part.......are you ready for this???  I showed SADDLESEAT!  LOL!  Yes, the "dressage queen" rode saddleseat.  It was so fun.  Apparently, I have been hanging around at too many MHA shows in the past three years.....HA HA HA!  A friend of mine loaned me her saddleseat suit, saddle, and bridle for the show season.  

It was super fun and the judge even complimented me at the end of my last class.  She was one of the judges at the Downeast Congress back in June and told me that while she thought Reva looked really good hunt seat that she thought she liked her even better saddleseat!  Other people commented that with her headset, if you did not realize she was a Standardbred, you would never guess. 

1st in STB Pleasure and 2nd in Open Pleasure on Saturday...

All our ribbons!

The only downfall was my equitation...yeah, I look like a hunt seat rider playing dress up.  HA HA HA!  I will never win an equitation class riding saddleseat like I can win an equitation class riding hunt seat, well at least not until I can take a few lessons (this winter..... ;-) .  OH WELL!  :-D

We even tried a class for fun called Trail Challenge.  Basically you have to navigate your horse around a course at the walk and trot with only a carrot or other form of bribery.  We signed up for it at the last minute, mostly because my friend Shelly signed up for it with her horse McKeever, and I was really happy with 4th place.  The last obstacle was trotting over four ground poles and then halting right at the closed gate.  Well, as we are trotting along, the gate person OPENED THE GATE!  I instinctively reached out and touched her lead...just as I did I realized I would be penalized.  I honestly don't think Reva even realized the gate was open, but I was not taking any chances just in case!  :-)

Professional photos are HERE.  They are awesome!  :-)  There are two random in hand photos that are NOT me or Reva though...whoops!  LOL!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

National Standardbred Horse Show 2011

For the fourth year in a row, I made the trek to the Horse Park of New Jersey for the National Standardbred Show.  It is a long eight hour drive but it is always fun to see everyone.  The SPHO-NJ and SBOA of NJ present it each year; I am a member of SPHO-NJ and try to support the group as best as I can from Maine.

This year my friend Shelly brought along her gelding McKeever.  They came down with me the first year 2008.  And my friend Tania (who came with Dreamy and me to WEG last year) came along as our support person (and she got to show my horse too!  More on that in a minute…)

After bringing Dreamy down to the show for three years (2008, 2009, 2010) I decided to bring Reva this year!  I knew that we would not really be competitive in the huge classes and she would have her share of baby moments, but I knew it would be a good learning experience.  And having Tania along to help, I knew it was a good year to try it.  Dreamy is so super easy that I actually brought her down last year in 2010 all by myself.  I am not quite there yet with Reva! 

Reva was stabled in NJ when I got her back in 2009, and my friend Rob was her groom.  I asked Rob to show her in Mares in Hand, mostly because I dislike showing in hand and Rob LOVES it.  I also thought it would be cool for him to take her in the show ring!

We had a relatively easy trip down from Maine, only hitting some traffic a few miles before the George Washington Bridge.  We got over the bridge easily and rolled into the horse park around 4PM.  After setting up our stalls, reuniting with all of our NJ friends, and bathing, feeding, and taking care of the horses, we all went out to dinner at the Clarksburg Inn.  It was a really fun time, with lots of laughs, great company, good food, and a small bit of alcohol.  ;-)
I am third in on the right...white shirt!
Reva was such a good girl on the trip down and when we arrived.  She took everything in stride with no issues.  I took her for a walk around each ring while she was drying from her bath, and while she did look at everything, she was calm and happy.  My only goals for the 2011 National were to have fun and give her a good experience.  So far, things were going great!

Sunday morning started bright and early, mostly because I knew I would have to re-bathe Miss Reva who likes to roll and sleep in her pee.  :-/  She was looking very clean and pretty for her first class of the day, #1 Showmanship and Grooming – Adult Exhibitor in the East Ring.  I had Tania take her into the class, again because I dislike in hand classes and I thought Tania would enjoy being able to show (I think she did!)  Tania and Reva looked awesome!  Sadly Reva was a bit of a cow and did not want to trot in the pattern, so I knew our chance of a ribbon was shot.  The class had 12 horses and Tania brought Reva into the ring first.  Despite the lack of trotting, everything else was perfect.  I was super proud of her good attitude and that meant way more to me than any ribbon.

Rob took her into class #3 Mares In-Hand.  There were only two horses so I thought we might have a shot at first.  But again, she was a poophead about trotting so she ended up second.  And Rob reminded me of what I was fearing: I had trained Reva to slightly park out like a Morgan while being handled but he and Tania showed her western.  HA HA HA.  What can you do!?!?  It dawned on me just a few days beforehand that I had trained her that way and that they would be showing her in the opposite discipline, but there was not much I could do.  So she wanted to park out her hind end (as I have taught her) while Rob was trying to get her to stand up more underneath herself.  But what the heck…she had won her first ribbon at Nationals!  Yay baby mare!  (I showed Rob how I can stand her up like a park Morgan…..he was like HOLY CRAP!  I think he was a little disgusted with me.  Hahahaha, I am such an in-hand failure.)

This photo cracks me up...I held Rob's horse for him while he showed Reva.....LOL!
Rob telling me how my horse was a cow.....HA HA HA!
Knowing we had a bit of time before our next class in the lower rings, I decided to sneak in our dressage tests in the upper ring.  I had signed Reva up for Intro A and B, knowing full well that it could be a complete disaster.  While I always ride her dressage at home and her training has had a dressage focus from day one, she has never seen a dressage ring, a dressage judge’s booth, and we have never actually ridden an entire test together.  Not to mention I did not know my tests until about 30 minutes before I rode them!  LOL!  For the record, Intro tests are SO MUCH EASIER to memorize than First level tests, that is for sure!!!! 

Reva warmed up really well.  She seemed happy and sure of herself, which I was very happy with.  We were able to warm up right near the dressage ring, and it was “first come, first serve” instead of published times, so I was able to walk her around the entire dressage ring between riders.  She was unconcerned about her surroundings and I worked hard to get good transitions, a good trot tempo, and some decent free walk into our warm up.  I entered for Intro A and figured we would just give it our best shot.  We might end up with a 50%, but everyone needs to start somewhere!  I am pretty sure I smiled throughout the entire test.  She was SUPER good!  I was amazed at how she acted like she had been entering at A all her life.  For her first ever test, I was proud and happy.  The judge’s first words after our last halt were, “Excellent ride!”  She was really encouraging and that made me even more proud.  I would not see my test until the very end of the day, after all was said and done, but I was hopeful for a good score.  We ended up fourth out of eight riders in Intro A with a 63.75%!  It was all 6s and 7s with a 5 on our left trot circle because she got a bit fast and crooked.  Our comment was “Nice job! Work on transitions for better balance.  Good luck!”  Yay fancy dressage mare!  Hahaha!
First time up center line!

She has a good developing free walk...

I'm pretty sure I grinned the entire time!  LOL!

Good stretch!

Checking out the judge...

Final halt!  Reva looks pleased with herself!
The judge really liked her!
Proud mama!
I was memorizing Intro B when the judge had to leave!  Ahhhhh!  She was scheduled to judge the harness classes from 9:30-12 noon, so sadly the dressage was over for the time being.  I was super bummed because I wanted to get the other test done and not have to come back.  I was worried I would not be able to make it back up, and after Reva was so good for Intro A, I really wanted to give Intro B a shot.  I wish there could be enough judges so that certain rings did not have to stop.  With four rings and only two judges, things could get really backed up and/or messed up.

Instead, I decided to go back to Reva’s stall and change into her hunter tack.  She relaxed and ate hay while I struggled to change into my hunter attire.  It is very difficult to change into different breeches when you are so sweaty and it is so muggy outside!  LOL!  After plenty of laughs and groans, I managed to get myself redressed and my horse retacked.  We headed over to the West Ring for our trail class.  I had entered trail on a whim as well, thinking it would simply be a good way to get her into the ring.  We have never practiced opening a mailbox or going over a bridge, but Reva is pretty game for anything.  There were nine riders in the class, so I was not expecting a ribbon.  We had to enter, cross a small wooden bridge, stop to open a mailbox and show the judge the mail, trot to a square made of four ground poles, enter and make a 360 degree turn to the left, walk out and trot over a ground pole, weave at the trot between four very closely spaced cones, halt at a cone and back five steps.  It was pretty straightforward which was good.

Reva walked over the bridge for the first time in her life without batting an eye.  Good mare!

She halted and waited at the mailbox while I opened it, showed the mail, and closed it.  Good mare again!

We had a decent turn on the forehand in the box, but she got a little stuck.  It was still a good effort, so I was happy.

She trotted over the ground pole.  She was not quite sure how to do just one...jump it?  Trot it?  LOL!

The cones were way too close together to trot properly, so I did my best.  Instead of fighting to pull her around, we trotted in and had to walk out.  Her trot stride is so large that it did not seem fair to haul on her mouth just to accomplish a silly goal at a horse show.  So I tried to make it fluid and Reva was very good.  One of her trot strides was about the same length as the four cones…..hahahaha.

We halted at the cone and backed five steps without issue.  I was so proud of her effort!  No problems!  After finishing the course, I was hopeful that perhaps we would place.  But even if we didn’t, I was still very happy.  So hearing that we were placed SECOND out of nine riders was just icing on the cake!  Yay mare!  Her second ribbon!

We had a lunch break, so I wanted to give Reva a chance to relax in her stall, eat, drink, and maybe pee.  It was also important to me to have lunch, since usually I am so busy at horse shows I forget to eat.  That is never a good thing.  So Tania and I enjoyed the AWESOME horse show food while Shelly got her leadline rider ready.  Such an adorable little girl! 

I made sure I ate quickly though, since I was hoping to fit in my other dressage test before the hunter classes began.  There was just enough time to fit in Intro B, but I would have to do it in hunter tack.  That always bums me out, since I like to look good (hahaha) but it was either do dressage in hunt tack or jump crossrails in dressage tack. 

Reva was very good again, happy and relaxed.  I actually think Intro B is easier than Intro A, which is crazy, but again we got a “Great ride!” from the judge after our last halt.  She was very encouraging in her verbal comments and I was pleased with Reva.  Again, we would not find out our scores until much later in the day.  I knew we had done well, but I was pretty floored when I saw the 73.13% for Intro B and a second place out of seven riders!  Whoooo!  We had a five on our entrance, as Reva decided to get herself all twisted up like a pretzel.  HA HA HA.  But the rest of the test had one 6, five 7s, and eight 8s!!!  It felt really good to do so well, because while I do show in other disciplines, dressage and eventing are really my things. 

And while I was very proud of Reva’s first ever dressage scores, I was beaming when Rob handed me a reserve champion neck sash!  We had ended up as reserve national champions at Intro level during our first ever dressage show!  Yay!!!

As soon as I finished our dressage test, it was time for our Hunter Over Crossrails class in the Schooling Ring.  We were allowed to warm up over the fences, so after some brief trotting, I took her over the small crossrails.  The course was very easy, just one counter clockwise circle over the four crossrails.  We trotted the course, but I want to say each related distance was about five canter strides.  In our warm up, Reva was fine over the first one and then stopped at the second one.  She went over it the second try, but then got very excited for the last two.  She bucked and careened around.  Of course, at home we have only done one jump at a time, so entering this class was just for experience.  We ended up going towards the end, and of course, Reva had to knock down the first crossrail.  HA HA HA.  But after that, we jumped the last three just fine and she remembered how to pick up her feet. 

Nothing like sort, maybe, trotting over a jump....silly baby!

Good girl!
Having the rail down in a class of seven meant we would not ribbon.  But I was still very happy with Reva’s attitude.  We had to wait for one more jumping class before our 2-Gait Hunter Under Saddle class.  I was a bit nervous when I heard they were looking for EIGHTEEN horses in our class, especially as we had to ride in the ring around the jumps.  With two other empty rings, I asked if it would be moved.  Of course, the answer was no.  I tried to keep Reva close to the rail, but there were just too many horses.  When three horses came up behind her at the trot to pass on the inside, we were squeezed between the rail and a jump.  Being so green, she felt trapped.  As she began to rear and buck, I guided her to the inside of the ring as safely as I could.  I dismounted, and she was still rearing, as having that many horses trotting around you can be scary!

Baby was NERVOUS...right before the bucking and rearing!  You can see me talking to her.
I was rather mad that neither the judge nor the RING MASTER bothered to have the class halt or even walk.  Here I am in the middle of the ring with a very scared young horse.  At 1200 pounds (Reva) vs. 120 lbs. (me)  it would not take much for her to rip the reins out of my hands and cause a serious problem.  I started yelling at the ring master, who finally had the class come down to a walk.  Seriously????  I was very angry that he was such a dunce and never bothered to do what was SAFE for not just my horse, but the other SEVENTEEN horses and riders in the ring. 

I was not mad at Reva, as she is young.  Maybe I should have scratched when I heard there were 18 horses in the class.  But I was PISSED that the ring master was so irresponsible.  When a rider is off their horse (granted, I did not fall off, but made the choice to dismount before Reva made the choice for me…) I firmly believe a ring master must halt the rest of the class for everyone’s safety. 

I was fuming but decided to just go into the East Ring to warm up for our last three 2-Gait classes.  Reva was a bit tense, but she calmed down easily.  I tried to just relax and let it go.  So what if the ring master sucked?  I still had three classes left and was optimistic we would do OK.
But then I heard there would also be eighteen horses in the 2-Gait Green/Novice Horse class!  Seriously??  I asked if it would be split, nine and nine, but again the answer was no.  I can understand that the 2-Gait Hunter class was not split, since it was open to all levels of horses, but I thought it was crazy for a class specifically for GREEN horses to be so large.  Other riders were asking for it to be split as well, but the management still said no.  I immediately got off Reva and scratched the last three classes (2-Gait Green/Novice Horse, 2-Gait Adult Equitation, and 2-Gait Adult Equitation with a pattern).  There was no reason for me to bring my young mare into a class where I was setting her up for failure.  It was not about a ribbon.  Hell, I would have been pleased as punch to go into a split class of nine and leave with nothing but a GOOD EXPERIENCE for my mare.  I still am very disappointed that safety was not a priority, but there was nothing I could do right then in the moment but shut my mouth, be ladylike, and take care of my horse.  My goals for the National show were to have fun and give Reva a good experience.  I personally did not see entering a class of 18 green horses as giving her a good experience. 

There ended up being large numbers in the 2-Gait Adult Equitation classes as well, so I felt good making the right decision for my horse.  I was not mad at her or anyone else, but just very disappointed.  I took care of her, untacking and hosing her down, and she was happy to be in her stall with lots of hay and cookies.  Reva did so well for her first time in NJ at the National show.  Three seconds, a fourth, and a reserve national championship is pretty fabulous no matter what.

It began to rain and then thunderstorm, so Tania and I loaded the up our tack into my trailer as fast as we could.  We helped the show management pick up, grained the horses, had a yummy dinner of Chinese takeout back at Helene's house, and got a good night’s sleep.  We left for Maine at 6:00 AM on Monday morning, and the ride home was super easy.  Reva was very tired and a bit dehydrated when we got home, but sucking down three buckets of water and a dose of Banamine to be safe, she seemed to perk up. 

Thanks to Helene for her hospitality at the “Gregory Inn”, Tania and Rob for showing my horse, Shelly and Tania for being such great traveling company (and Shelly did excellent with her horse McKeever!), and the SPHO-NJ for putting on another successful National show!
BFFs!!!  With Shelly and McKeever (on the left...)
My big sister!  Helene (on the right)!  Everyone wants to be Swedish!!  :-)

Slumber party at the Gregory Inn!
Don't ask.....ROFLMAO!  I found the stick horses in the HP of NJ office!  Look, it is my GREEN horse!  HA HA HA
 Reva’s First National Show Results:
  • Reserve National Champion Introductory Level dressage (out of 11 horses!)
  • 2nd Mares in Hand (out of 2)
  • 2nd Trail (out of 9)
  • 2nd Intro B (out of 7) with a 63.75%
  • 4th Intro A (out of 8) with a 73.13%