There is a cold storm making its way to Southern California from the Gulf of Alaska. You wouldn't know it by the weather today; clear blue sky, a light wind, and sunshine. We dragged our chairs into the shade and spent the day there. Even so, and despite my sunscreen, my face is sun kissed pink.
I had two rides today; training level 2 at 2:20 and training level 3 at 3:15. We rode training level 2 at Thermal but Winston had never done TL3 before. TL3 is full of circles and half circles and bendy lines. Winston is not consistently soft as butter and bendy as Gumby so I didn't have high aspirations. My goal was to improve on our TL2 score from the Thermal show and to introduce Winston to TL3.
I was dragging at the show today. I took Winston for a walk, braided his mane (came out OK; nothing to write home about), and then collapsed in a chair. Last night I woke up at 2am and then every half hour like clockwork thereafter. You young women out there... you just wait. Hot flashes are hell. Just sayin'.
Winston, he slept well. He was bright eyed and calm; shavings stuck to his fuzzy belly, in his ears and his tail. Our warm up rocked. He was like butter, he was responsive, and he was on his game. When we went into the court for our test he worried about the mirrors set up along the side and flanking the judges stand. We didn't do so hot going down center line. But the rest of the test was good, even though he was still worried. The judge commented that he was "obedient" (YES!!!) and had very solid moments. She said our basics were very solid, that I was effective, and that with more work we could be a brilliant pair. ....um, WOW. We scored a 62 and some change.
I put Winston back in his stall to chill for half an hour or so. He was very good about my throwing the saddle back on him -- he even seemed eager to go back out. We entered at A, halt and salute at X, trot on, turn left.... and went off course. I started riding test 2 again. Oops. I realized it immediately, yelped, the judge laughed and we went on to do the correct test. Totally rider error. Despite the mistake, we rode a good solid test. Even with the 2 point deduction for the error, we scored another 62.
Winston is interesting. He truly loves doing this. Auke hated it and fought me. Jackson tried his heart out -- to make me happy -- but he couldn't do the work because he was so crooked in his body. His love was trail riding. Winston, he loves this showing stuff. He puffs up and he gets a glint in his eye that says "Look at me! I'm the man!" When we finish, he doesn't ask for reassurance that he did well. He looks for acknowledgement of his wonderfulness. ...its hard to explain, but it is very different and it makes this whole showing gig lots and lots of fun.
Brett took pictures but I can't download them onto the iPad since they are on the regular camera. I'll share when we are back home. Tomorrow we ride the tests again. Tonight, I'm sleeping.
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