After a much needed lunch break (stabilize blood sugar, and, more importantly, relax and remember why I was there), I took Romeo back to the arena, and rode a while Western pleasure. Saw a few familiar faces, and some fantastic looking horses. There were a handful that had the really sweet slow WP lope, and another handful with that ugly 4-beated lope. EW! Lots of ugly bits, lots of spurs, hard hands... Romeo and I jogged around, enjoyed our warm-up, and waited on the class.
WP trot class was *awesome*. We had fun fun FUN! Romeo and I almost had one side-on collision with another rider, as she turned a corner sharper than I anticipated. Romeo broke to walk at that spot, judge looking right at us. I shrugged it off, pushed him back into a jog, and went along. Figured right there I blew a chance of pinning high.
He motioned for me to move first into the center of the arena. I thought, "Oh great. He arranged first to last before, wonder if he's arranging last to first now... That'd be my luck." Everyone else was called in one by one to the center. He walked over to me, (admitting, I got nervous.. thinking, "Oh great.. crooked legs, again?!"), and said, "That was a really great ride. He goes real good for you. Looked like fun." =)
I was beaming! Fun! That's exactly what we prayed for over lunch, and exactly what I got. I got a first place ribbon for fun! Jen called the class, my name first, and I was absolutely glowing as I left the arena. Do I think I earned it fair? Heck no! I watched the video, I know what kind of ride I had. I saw the other riders... there were at least two I thought did better than me. Now, maybe they had "arguments with the horse" moments I didn't see that the judge did, I'm not sure.
WP Showmanship Pattern.... I thought he did good. Walk forward to A, halt at B, turn right 90degrees, depart at jog, jog out around B, halt, back up four steps. I really thought he did well. His turn was good, jog departure was good. We pinned low, but I thought he did great. He certainly didn't hesitate, didn't break gait.. Oh well.. I thought it went great.
Switched saddles, relaxed a little more. Felt good to be out of the stuffy western clothes, even though I elected to wear my hunt coat. Hopped on Romeo, put on the English link bit (without a warmup in the twisted wire). R picked up some warm-up video, and it looked good! Romeo was really minding well. He also got some video of the other english riders - something for me to watch later, see if I can't learn something from it.
HUS W/T class - again, he was ON! Romeo did great. I knew, watching warmup, watching the class, I was at least second. No doubt in my mind. The girl and horse that got first - oh they earned it, fair and square. They were awesome, QH-style, at least. He had a nice stride, long & low headset, light contact, she had good equitation... They earned it, for sure.
Judge pulled her out, then me, and again, I was glowing. Second was more than good enough in my mind... I didn't pay too close attention to the others, except to see high headed horses daydreaming and not minding their riders. Romeo did his job as a hunt-horse, which I think he enjoys more.
HUS W/T Pattern - Romeo blew this one, and it's something I need to work on at home. Enter sitting trot to A, 45deg turn at right diagonal trot to B, 145degree turn to C, sitting trot, C back to A left diagonal posting trot. Halt at A, back up four steps. Romeo decided to turn his rear end at the back-up, and he was backing up almost into my leg. Little dork was obviously getting burnt out. I left the arena at a nice bit extended trot, annoyed at him, and just out of the gate, I forced him to back up straight.
Jumped down, praised my horse, waited for the judge to call the class, knowing he didn't do too well, unsaddled, and gave him ample cookies. He did his job - earned good pinnings, corrected his mistakes, put up with uneven footing, a variety of rider abilities, horses all over the place, saddle changes, and still stayed even-tempered.
Waited around for the high-point call, a bit concerned. I was certainly not #1, and didn't think I pulled off Reserve, either... As Jen called it, the girl that creamed us in HUS got #1. I looked at her, and said, "Oh yeah, we saw that coming. Ya'll did great! Congratulations." She congratulated me for #2, we picked up our prizes, and headed out.
A great day, over all. I had good rides, good help, and great company ...
Of course, it's been busy, and raining since. Sunday I took the day off, because it was windy & sprinkly. Monday, it poured at home! We had a horrible storm pass over the area. Nasty big wet event. "Cow peeing on a rock", as Les called it. Had water flooding over the side yard, front yard, running down the road (at one point, part of the road in front of my house was under water).
Hoping it's dry enough tonight to lunge Ransom before choir... Time to get back to the Big Guy, work on my confidence, and let Romeo goof off a while again... Still, the show was fun!
I don't know if the video will upload, but I will get pictures... R took a handful during the in-hand stuff, so there should be some good still shots somewhere.