Monday, September 30, 2013

Dressage Day for Gus

What a beautiful fall day today! Perfect temperatures (low 70s) with just enough sunshine to warm your body but not enough to make you feel hot! My best friend C and I took our horses to a dressage show today. C has always loved dressage and her Canadian Thoroughbred George is just a wonderful dressage horse. While he's still young and green, he's part Fresian and an extravagant mover. I took Gus along to the show...even though he hasn't been ridden in almost a month since he popped a splint back in early September. I have the vet out to check him over last Thursday prior to the horse show. She found the splint to be good, cold and settled and gave me to ok to ride him. C and I both picked Intro Level tests for our horses. She rode all 3 tests, but I just picked one. I figured that it wasn't worth breaking Gus again and trotting in a couple circles for 2 minutes shouldn't kill him right? I rode him Saturday evening and that was it pretty much.

We arrived at the show early this morning, got the horses settled in their stalls and picked up our numbers. The show was outside at a venue which we have never been to before, but it ran nicely and we had a great time. Gus was phenomenal! So calm and quiet! He was a little stiff since he hasn't been worked much but over all I was super impressed with him! He's never seen dressage rings or judges stands and he just stood by the in gate watching the other horses go around, then walked into the ring like he'd done it his whole life. The footing was a little hard and so I was very conservative in my warm up, especially with all of the problems we've had with his feet and his latest splint catastrophe. While all of the other dressage horses trotted and cantered outside the ring waiting for the bell, Gus and I trotted one lap and then just walked around waiting for our que to enter the ring.It seemed like we walked around forever!

Gee, I hope he trots through that narrow opening into the dressage ring...

I thought as I walked him past the entrance at A and realizing that I had no idea how he would feel about suddenly turning and trotting through such a narrow opening into some scary small white ring with big black letters. Oh well I thought, at least this is a good experience for him. Whats the worst that could happen anyway right? He goes sideways and we try again.

When the bell sounded we picked up our trot, took a deep breath and entered at A.

I honestly expected....something. Anything really. I was ready for there to be a fire breathing dragon, weaving, snorting and jumping left-right-left-right as we trotted down center line. Based on what I had learned from Gus's previous owner/trainer, I was ready for a bomb to explode the second that I walked into that ring.

Instead, I got nothing.

He glanced slightly sideways upon entering the arena, and then trotted straight to X. I settled in the saddle and whispered "whoa." He stopped square and pricked his ears at the judge ahead of us who stood up to acknowledge our salute. When I closed my leg, he trotted off, continuing down center line. As we reached C, I was again ready for the bolt and spook that I assumed would come as we turned by the judges box.

Instead, he just turned.

We rode our entire test with no drama, no explosions, no fireworks. Not a single spook, snort or sideways step. This was the horse that I had been told to lunge for 40 minutes before showing. The horse that hadn't been ridden in close to 30 days prior to this horse show. The one that I took out of the field, cleaned up, and loaded into the trailer.

We scored a 61.093 on our test, the third highest score for our division.

I was so pleased with him, what a champ! And what a positive horse show experience for him. There was no lunging, no hard warm up. We literally showed up, trotted and cantered once each direction and then stepped into the show ring for 2 minutes and he was done. Just like that.

Easiest horse show ever.

My friend C put in stellar rides on her gelding George and after tieing for first place (tie broken only by the score of the collective remarks) came out with 2nd place ribbons in both of her classes under 2 different judges.

What a wonderful day!

And now it's time for Gus to go back into the field and slowly step back up into a training program. For now, the next two weeks are focused on Cool as we get ready for our last hunter show of the season!

Gus and me (left) and C with George (right) Gus and I can't help it that we look like hunter riders!

What a gorgeous boy!
Sporting his dressage number with pride
Waiting to check out some professional pictures from the photographer...hopefully there are some good ones!

Until next time...


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