Surviving and thriving at the Big Hot Show

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Wow, mom, there are a lot of BIG horses here.

Region 7 Annual Championship Dressage Show! Sounds like fun, huh? If you remember attending a three ring circus – lions in one ring jumping through rings of fire! Dogs on bicycles in the next ring! Jugglers and acrobats in ring three! Tightrope walkers overhead! Your head spinning from the noise, sights, smells – exciting, but kind of overwhelming.

O.k., call me a country bumpkin, but that’s how I felt at least for the first day or so.

This show ran Five Competition Rings simultaneously for four days, as well as multiple warmup rings, a lunging ring, with over three hundred horses attending the show, people whizzing about in golf carts and on bicycles, multiple fancy tents set up with ribbons galore, champagne, and even a crystal chandelieryou get the picture.

More fun than a barrel of monkeys! Or maybe more fun than a boiling barrel of monkeys, because it all took place in the 100 degree weather of a heat wave. That slowed some of us down more than a little. People with excitable horses benefitted from the heat, while those of us with more relaxed horses had to work even harder…Dwan_Far Above Par_15CS9297_TerriMiller-(ZF-3600-62173-2-001)

All Finn was wanted a cool drink with a little umbrella in it, a chaise longue, and someone to fan him while stroking his brow murmering, “poor thing, poor thing.” Or maybe this was MY fantasy? Same difference. Neither of us wanted to perform under the broiling sun. Nevertheless, we soldiered on.

Maybe the heat separates the Men from the Boys, or in this case, the Women from the Girls, or perhaps the Super Serious Intense Athletes from, well, the rest of us. Those who would much rather show when the weather is more pleasant. Count me in with them.

But I digress. How was the show? I saw some beautiful rides and some amazing horses. Wow. Some not so beautiful rides. Finn and I had a couple of good rides but interestingly, the judges were quite spread out in their opinions (six points difference from the judge at C and E pretty much each time we rode, big differences in scores, a bit confusing for me as a rider). Why? Well, of course there is perspective, and there are also preferences, and there is some subjectivity, too. Sometimes it works for you, sometimes it works against you.

Shoulder-in Right

Shoulder-in Right

Our last test of the show we both just ran out of steam and got a deservedly low score. Lesson learned: if you think it is too hot and you and your horse are worn out and have already put in a test that morning, you probably should just scratch the second test at noon. What kind of crazy person would stay to ride in 100 degree heat? Duh.

Would someone PLEASE bring us some cool drinks? And iced towels?

Would someone PLEASE bring us some cool drinks? And iced towels?

All in all, it was an interesting learning experience, but I think not something we’ll do again next year.

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Finn standing calmly at the Awards Ceremony, amidst all the Big, fidgeting horses. Bless his pony heart.

There are plenty of other more fun goals to shoot for. Prix St Georges, anyone? Fix up our Freestyle? You betcha! More trail rides before El Nino hits California? YES! A little more fun and a little less drivenness? An enthusiastic YES from Finn!IMG_0198

5 thoughts on “Surviving and thriving at the Big Hot Show

    • Thanks! Yes, there was some soul-searching involved as I thought, “What am I doing here?” Everything is a learning experience and this was one where I could learn a lot of different things all at once!

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  1. The pictures are absolutely Fantabulous!
    Finn looks perfect, and the intense heat doesn’t really show that much on you in the warmup. (Under the shade haha 😉 His cute head is to die for!
    You made it there, stayed for several days (!) , sweltered, and in general kept it all together. What a great experience! I DO hope you come back this way with Finn. Starr Vaughn is a great venue in the same vicinity. A bit smaller, they do 3 show rings at the most, plus one indoor and one outdoor warmup. (Just keep it in your backpocket next time you feel the urge to trailer super far with him, would love to see you!)
    Just stay out of the summer months: May-September, and, apparently, this year also October!

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    • Thank you, my friend! I have heard Starr Vaughn is a good place, and I am keeping it in mind (although it is a long drive). Maybe next Spring…we shall see what El Nino brings, and how Finn comes along with his pirouettes and canter work. They need a bit of polish before PSG feels really “easy,” which is how I want it to be before I attempt it again. Ha! Easy, yeah, right. Well, attainable, anyway.
      So glad you are back on Ms. Valiosa. Don’t overdo it but DO have fun and enjoy your time with her!

      Liked by 1 person

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