Starlight goes to her first big show

With a new horse, you’re never quite sure what you have until you’ve tried a few things and gone a few places. I am happy to announce that Starlight passed the test of her First Really Big Show with flying colors!

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What a clever and good girl! You survived the test! Carrots shall be yours!

In spite of unseasonably chilly temperatures, winds whipping the tents, decorative ringside plants falling over, and horses bolting, Starlight was practically perfect in every way. Well, other than being rather tense. We’ll allow that, since she’s not quite six.

Bless her horsey heart! Extra carrots for her!

Although she was certainly tense in the dressage tests (still working on relaxation and suppleness), she did five Training Level tests over three days, earning scores from 63-69%.

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The judge commented kindly on my “beautiful horse and lovely turnout!” Yes, you can braid with rubber bands (match the mane, of course), and yes, you can wear colored coats (see the rule book). Star’s abalone browband goes beautifully with my green coat.

We have plenty of things to practice (relaxation! bending! transitions!) before our next show, but she’s handling the crowded warm up ring with aplomb, ate and rested well in her stall, and generally was pretty relaxed at the very busy show grounds.

We moved into the show grounds the day before the 3-day show started, so we had the chance to practice in the dressage court. Very helpful, since Star is a bit worried about the judges booth, as in “Heck no, I am not going near that thing!” At least not right at first, which makes for an awkward centerline entry. My husband had the brilliant idea of sitting in the judges booth the day before while we practiced our test, and offering her a piece of carrot. Aha! That did the trick. She immediately got over her fear and was able to approach the booth. No problem the next day in trotting down Centerline toward the judge.Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 9.27.44 PM

Three days of showing are exhausting for horse and rider, and we were both more than ready to be done by the end of it. Star leapt into the trailer at loading time with the “Please take me home now, I want to sleep in my own bed” look of someone who has been on a ten-countries-in-ten-days trip. Now we take a little break, and focus on training, with a little trail riding thrown in for cross training. Fun!

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A bit of over exuberance at the canter circle. Yeehaw!