Our trip up there was uneventful. I drove, and was happy to do so with all the trailer lights lit, and the brakes working again. YAY! Almost no traffic for the trip up, again, awesome conditions. Hit a few rain sprinkles on the way, but nothing so bad to slow the travel.
Arrived, got my stall and things organized, and changed clothes. Whether nerves, weather, or breakfast, my stomach was in a bit of a disagreement with the rest of me. We all got Ransom dressed & ready. Jen lunged him & put on the side reins while I finished dressing & relaxing my tummy.
Warm-Up went GREAT! As the first train of a few that day approached the show grounds, Ransom didn't even look up. I could hear it approaching, and he perked his ears, but never moved his head, never took an iffy stride, not a bit. Good Boy!
The EQ class was called, and it was me and the same rider as before. How cool is that?! I rode by the judge, smiled in her general direction, but she didn't look up. Barbara and I had talked a week earlier about this judge, and she told me to "do all I can to be nice & friendly, ride by her table, smile, tell her, "Good morning", anything to be polite." I did all that, though she didn't look at me. Darn it! =) Ah well, anyways.
The Judge called this class WAY different from the last judge. We rode "follow the leader", and she held a bullhorn and very softly called out changes to us one by one. For example, she said "D, extend the trot down the diagonal", then told me the same thing as I approached her at "C". Strange...
She asked us to
Extend the trot
Change direction over the diagonal at trot
Canter on the long side
Canter in a corner
In the canter-left, she asked me to canter him on the long side, I went into a circle to pick it up, got the lead, came out of the circle, and Ransom broke gait to the trot. I asked him to canter on long side, he picked up the wrong lead, and when I realized it, I asked him back down to the trot, and for canter again in the corner. Correct lead again, I proceeded around the arena (stuffing another circle in there since I was also trying to stay out of the other girl's way).
Very strange.. It was a "follow the leader" style, and we cantered together, which could have made for a train wreck. At her time to provide comments, she told me the following:
Good job sitting up straight
Good job getting my leads
Horse needs more energy, consider carrying a dressage whip
Shouldn't have gone into a circle to ask for the canter at the ask on long side. Judge "uses that canter on the long side to choose between riders for placing."
UM. there were only two of us, we were in different age divisions, so it didn't matter, and furthermore, I'm not riding at that level - Training Level asks for canter in the corners for a reason! That poor other little girl was riding Intro Level for her tests! Ain't no reason to be asking her to ride canter on long side. Thphphpht!
Note to self - EQ is a little too long, a little too difficult, and a bit too stressful for me with this judge.
The EQ class set me on edge. I got to give Ransom a good solid break at his water & hay before a quick warm up to TL#1. I grabbed a drink and relaxed a bit by the truck, R and Jen at my side cheering me on. Judge did say I was sitting upright, I did obviously cover our lead-blown, and I was able to canter in the arena with another horse going at canter in competition without having a mental meltdown.