I'll post the true test movements and judge's very generous comments later next week. For now, I'll spare everyone the suspense of "How'd the show go so far?"
Arrival was delightful. He seemed spacious in his stall (uhm, small horse, big stalls!), and his handwalk around the arenas and show grounds were super relaxed. He didn't really spook at anything. Goofy horses being longed, terrified horses spooking under saddle, two riding mowers roaring around, two weed eaters spitting rocks around. Harley? Startled at one weed eater that spit a rock out, but otherwise? Zero reactions to all the other potential spooks. As I hand walked him down an arena rail, he let out a heavy sigh, and I had weepy-eyed goosebumps. My little baby was growed up! Not letting all the extras bug him, not spooking at the boogers,, good good boy!
Harley and I had a nice free longe, taking in the sights of the arena and the other participants. There were plenty of crazies to watch, and the show arena was quiet and serene. All that going, he was quiet.. One little burp canter-left, but eh, I wasn't too shocked by that.
Back to the trailer to saddle, while I changed clothes. Suddenly, we were pressed for time...
cue bad news music here
Harley went nice in the neck stretcher, and I hopped on. Again, he was going pretty good. We were still short on time, and I didn't feel quite ready when we were heading to the show arena. I was next, and the arena was completely clear. They were waiting for me. Oh.. crud
more bad news music here
As I got to the arena, and the judge rang the bell, I picked up the trot. Headed in a bit circle outside the arena. Harley saw something on the "M, B, F" long side he didn't like. I pushed on, and came down centerline.
Transition to walk, good. Felt solid, felt like he lowered his head for the transition. Harley drug his toes for the walk,,, ugh.. his walk always feels slow to me. Turned right, picked up trot.
Then I realized there was something outside the long side Harley was completely terrified of. I sat the trot, and even remember stirrups kicking loose. He broke gait, but I pushed him on, a little cluck under my breath. Harley was kind of trotting haunches in (cute, were it required... but!)... Obviously terrified of the long side, but I pushed on. Down at A, I was able to get a pretty decent circle, followed by a half decent diagonal on trot. Back to the "scary side", he cut the corner of the arena pretty short.
Trot circle on that end? Eh... Again, more like a scary oval. *lol* I focused on what else was required of him, and slowed to walk. He aimed down the diagonal for free walk, but obviously not too happy with me and my crazy idea to get him in this now scary arena. I tried to get some stretch in the free walk, but it wasn't too great. Shortened to working walk, centerline, halt, salute.
I was glad it was over. Headed to the big outdoor arena, lots of walk on the buckle. I needed to calm down, and so did Harley. We had a pretty significant break between A & B. We averted a pretty big disaster as we left one warmup arena for the other. Another horse and rider pair were being chased by their trainer, snapping a longe whip at the horse to make her go forward. The mare reared up (I didn't see it, but was warned, and then told, "They're headed this way."), and we made our mad exit out of the arena.
Our time was up for Intro B, and then I felt more prepared. His trot work had been nice in the break between tests, the free walk had more stretch, and he was certainly paying better attention in his transitions.