|Owners of Trooper and Black Hawk, shown by Gayle|
I took Winston for a walk while Brett cleaned out his stall. Despite the cold morning, Winston walked calmly beside me. We wandered out to the show ring and watched a test. I noticed that they had taken down one of the show rings so we were down to one. Trailers had been pulling out all afternoon on Saturday. The windy cold was too much for half of the entries; they packed up their hyper horses and headed home. The hustle and bustle of Saturday was replaced with peace and quiet.
At lunch time, Gayle braided Winston for me. I have to practice before the next show. I used a French braid on my Friesian and Jackson has a thin, fine mane. I'd never tried to braid a horse with so much thick, coarse hair as Winston and I was sure my rubber band job would look dumb and not hold. Gayle braided him with beautiful tied braids. He looked stunning.
When she finished up with his fuzzy, frizzy forelock his adorable face was even cuter than usual.
I washed Winston's tail and loaded it up with conditioner. It was far too cold to give him a bath but I wanted his tail to have some semblance of silky. My test was the last of our group. I put on my fancy clothes and headed out to the warm up arena. Gayle met me there. I did not bring my whip. Winston had been so forward the previous two days that I didn't think I would need it. Mistake. Winston was tired and sore and not interested in working. He would not canter. Period. I pulled my legs wide off of his sides and slammed them against him as hard as I could. Nothing. Gayle sent Brett and one of the others to get my whip. As soon as he knew I was carrying it, he was good. I didn't have to use it; just a tickle behind my leg to let him know I had it and he was all "yes ma'am."
We went into the show ring and he didn't bat an eye. He was tired and I was so happy that he was going well, that I didn't push him. I know, he should have been in front of my leg more. We rode our test in front of Axel Steiner, who has judged at the Olympics and is not an easy judge. We were at a triple rated show. And we did it. Our trot work was solid and our canter was the best he has done, including work at home, other than the amazing ride I had Saturday. He went down center line like a champ. He knew we were competing and he was happy to show off. We have more work to do; oh, yes. But, I have never had so much fun riding a test at a show. We had trouble with the second canter depart, I pushed him forward, he went, and then we overshot the second half of our 20m circle. I thought we were going to slide or jump out of the arena. I laughed. Out loud. During a test at a triple rated show. Me, the queen of horse show choking, was relaxed enough to laugh at our mistake.
Here's the test. I left in the vocal because my new barn friends were videotaping the ride (so Brett could watch) and giving a running commentary.
Oh, and we got a blue ribbon. Of course, everyone else in my class had scratched so I was guaranteed the ribbon as long as we didn't get eliminated but we don't need to tell everyone that, right? 61.4%, a blue ribbon, a happy trainer, a happy horse and a very happy me. Brett was so proud of me he had tears in his eyes.