Sunday, January 13, 2013

We Did It!

This morning, we all (Gayle and her students) met at the show barn at 8:30.  There is a guy you can hire to check your horse every hour during the night.  He records whether the horse is awake, sleeping, standing or laying down.  He reported that Winston was quiet throughout the night and that he laid down and slept around 3am.  It was bitter cold again so we moved our chairs into the sun and sat with our horses warm fleece coolers wrapped around us.
Owners of Trooper and Black Hawk, shown by Gayle
I'm not usually into hanging with the barn crowd, preferring to keep to myself and my horse thereby avoiding barn drama.  This was my first experience going to a show with Gayle and her barn.  What a nice group of people.  We had a great time hanging out, supporting each other, and eating. 

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. 


  1. Who needs a Warmblood when you have such a fancy Appy?
    You guys look FANTASTIC. And that first canter looked so uphill!

  2. Fantastic! Well done :) I'm so happy for you, you must be on top of the world!

  3. way to go, horse and rider!!! you two look great together. very handsome. love winston's long legs. and his tail looked beautiful, too. ;)

  4. You've come a long way baby! I'm clapping for you and oh so happy! Winston looks so pretty all braided ehem I mean handsome! You two are figuring each other out and are going to be the team to beat before you know it!

  5. Love your courage! and Brett's tears almost made me have tears too.
    Good job!

  6. Nicely done Annette - so proud of you both! Congratulations!! :D

  7. Winston looks divine and Gayle is one pro braider! Congratulations are in order. The facility is quite something and so are you..all your work has paid off. He carried himself beautifully, was very forward and your position was just right! Way to go. Thank you Brett for all you do for these two...the ultimate groom.

  8. Oh, congratulations, Annette! That's wonderful!
    Axel lived in Colorado Springs for a few years, and I had the privilege of being his student. I adore him. Firm, fair, and funny.

  9. I've been a little sporadic in my blogging and reading, but I'm sure glad I didn't miss this one. Congratulations!!! Well done. Winston is so handsome and I never get tired of looking at his markings - so dramatic and gorgeous. Don't put yourself down for getting first after others dropped out:
    1. you stuck it out and rode your young show green horse in cold, windy weather, and
    2. you had to earn over 60, which you did. It isn't easy, especially under these conditions.
    I'm coming back to watch the video. I'm in my trailer tonight (two days of riding lessons)and my signal strength is too low to watch it here.

  10. So for some reason the video gave up on me not very far in so I didn't see you test, but I LOVE the comments from your new friends at the start of the video. They seem so nice! And now you have a barn to show with, showing with friends is more fun in my book!

    You looked great from what I saw, very relaxed and happy, as was Winston!! You two have a wonderful future together!!

    And having shown under Axel many, many times (his wife is from my area so he comes back at least once a year, often more, to judge the bigger shows) I know you are doing well! I have won a class of many more than once with a 61 or 62 under him.

    Congratulations!!! And if this is how you start 2013 you are in for a wonderful year!

  11. Axel Steiner is not a "tough" judge. But, he is a stickler for correct work. You must have been pretty correct to get that score. Congratulations! You should be very, very proud of it!

  12. It is so nice to read a glowing show report! I am so happy for you and all the hard work you have put in with the Winster.

  13. You guys are the perfect pair,so darn cute!

  14. why did i not see all these posts??? YAY!!! Congrats on a well done job (and i loved your comment on your laugh - thats relaxed!)


Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.