I have pretty ribbons, but it's hard to not be honest with my readers. Classes of one, division of two for one, it's hard NOT to have pretty ribbons.
First off, it stormed on the trip up there. STORMED. Like, 40mph and couldn't see in front of the truck stormed. Rained hard. Off & on for about 40 minutes rolling to the show site. I was pretty happy to arrive at the show, and find Harley's stall open from when we visisted there last year. I unloaded him to the stall, hung his hay bag, and unwrapped his legs.
Well, back up the bus a second. As I got ready to leave home, I had Harley already up in his paddock. I approached him with the halter, and he walked off. I was able to catch him, but he sure didn't come to me willingly. In fact, he walked away twice. I was already slightly concerned it was going to be a long day. When I went to dress him for the tests, he did it again. He wandered to the back of his stall, and wanted no part of the bridle. Uh Oh.
The grounds for the show were wet, muddy, puddly, soggy. All but the covered show arena. Okay, so with the grounds quality, I didn't have a good spot to longe him. I hopped on, and started warming him up at the walk. Stiff, and hard to bend around. I got a little give at the walk, and asked for trot. His trot loosened up some, and while I felt a little forward motion, it wasn't what I hoped for, and he sure wasn't collected or even slightly round. Uh oh. I asked for canter. Epic fail. Harley cantered one stride, then started sliding away from me, bending awkwardly. I let him trot out more, then asked again the other direction. (I think right was first, left second.) I got a little more canter, but as soon as I left him alone on my legs, he broke again. Uh... Oh ...
We rode the Prix Caprilli test. He stayed in trot over the cavaletti poles, which delighted me. No loss in energy over the jumps, and while his circles weren't collected, the test calls for "accepting the bit", not "collected". I was super happy. The judge, unfortunately, did NOT agree. 60% even. She remarked in writing "he didn't "Jump", only stepped over them." Dang. They were maybe 1' off the ground. What did she expect?! An over jump?! Disappointing.
While the jumps were taken down, I asked him to canter again. I got a little more. Happy and assuming the PC test had woke him up, I stayed the course and rode TL#1.
Disaster. He stayed in canter-left, but his stretch trot circle was non-existent. He rode a nice free walk, but again, judge didn't agree. She remarked he wasn't stretched over the topline. Dunno why, his head was well below his withers, and he maintained a solid walk. *sigh* Disappointing again. Heading canter-right, he picked up the wrong lead, and broke gait heading down the long side. NOT the ride I hoped for. We scored 58.-something%. More comments that he wasn't forward enough, not bent enough, not collected, not accepting contact.
I unsaddled him, hosed him off. R and I went for lunch while he dried off. As I went to catch him in the stall to load up for home, he walked off on me again. So not Harley. This is not the Harley I've had. I know he's been tired. However, he's too young to be so lazy, even at somewhere interesting away from home. I counted on that show arena and the change in scenery to be an increase in energy for him. Instead, I got even less. It felt more like a jog than a trot, and no matter what I did for that canter, he wasn't holding onto it.
We've spoke with tech Jamie, and vet Dr. Sam. We're headed in tomorrow afternoon for an exam. Something is just not quite right with my H man. It may be nothing but the warmer weather and the slight increase in workload, but he's just a bit too young to wear down so fast, in my opinion. He's only 6, not 16. I haven't increase his workload 10-fold, either. We're barely up to 45 minutes total, and he's still not working as hard as most show horses I know. I'm hoping for something minor, but definitive. Until then, it's time off. Dr Sam suggested 2g of bute last night, which I did. I didn't notice a big change this am, but he only had a short way to walk to get to his breakfast, being all the way up front in the pasture.
We'll stick with resting until Wednesday afternoon. I'll update when I know more.