Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Daffodil................The Select Rider Championship

Part 1

There was some confusion for me whether my last class was a select rider championship class or whether it was a regular amateur championship. The way it looked in the prize list under the classes by division section I believed it to be a select rider championship although it did not say it there. The only class about it was select rider with the championship right underneath. That usually means the first class is the qualifier for the championship listed underneath.

I suspected the computer had dropped that part because of the number of letters in that line. Then when I looked in the show program I found riders entered in the class who were not select riders. To add to my confusion my accounting printout showed it as a select class. I figured I'd find out when I got to the ring and saw which riders actually participated in the class.

Near the end of my warm-up in the proper arena, I saw one of the non select riders approaching the ring. I figured that answered my question about what type of class it really was until I was on the ramp waiting to enter the ring. It was there I heard the paddock announcer call out the entire heading of the rider was definitely a part of that title and the non select rider who had come to the warm-up did not enter the ring.

Legs and I were again first on the ramp. There had been complaints from the judges throughout the show about riders being late to enter so I made sure my horse and I were not part of the offenders. Also since the rule reads that riders have two minutes to enter the arena from the time the first horse enters, it helps the paddock announcer have leverage to push the other riders to keep the show flowing smoothly. That part of me that's programmed to think like management is always influencing what I do at shows.

Being first also gives me a bit of time to school my horse before the gate closes. I worked Legs down at that far end as much as I could watching for the entrance of the last horse. I like to be at the mid point on the far rail when that rider enters the ring and the gate is closed. Doing so usually will put me in a space by myself on the rail.

Legs seemed relaxed enough at the far end considering we didn't really get to do proper schooling. Still that bit of tension was there telling me not to let my guard down. I needed to keep track of where the other horses were so that I didn't get stuck going deeper into that end than my horse could/would tolerate if I wanted him to hold things together for the whole ride.

The jog began a hair fast as we came through the gate. I listened to the music to see if I could use that to slow my horse but the tempo was a hair fast too. Instead I tuned out the song and slowed the movement of my seat, Legs immediately slowed down to my pace and we were good all the way down the rail.

When I reached the far end I decided to do a small circle to push the horse up underneath himself just a little more. The minute I put my legs on the horse laying the outside rein on his neck asking him to turn Legs sped up and braced instead of rocking back and slowing down. His reaction didn't surprise me. It was typical of his fear of this end of the arena. Pushing him through it helped to bring home he needed to be listening to me instead of surfing for trolls.

I think we managed a couple of circles, the second one a tad bigger before I moved him off towards the far rail. I didn't know how many horses were actually in this class but I thought the last one was nearly at the end of the ramp. If that was the case I would be right where I wanted when the gate closed.

Legs raised up a little as we neared the far rail. I talked to him telling him he was OK and even petted him on the neck before the gate closed. I heard a little sigh from Legs and he dropped his head down a little too. At least we were starting off right. I was pleased.

AFter the gate closed we actually jogged all the way around the arena before the call judge asked for the lope. We were almost to the corner when the announcer made the call. I had a quick debate about whether I would use the corner to depart or wait until I was on the straight of the rail. Since I'd already used the corner more times than I like, I opted to wait until I was past the turn. I didn't want Legs anticipating any call in the future.

The departure was good........not the best for my horse but still better than most. The horse didn't go into it strong either. He stayed nice, round and slow for several strides before I had to remind him to round back up. Even at that the request was light and he responded easily. I didn't have to put full pressure on the bit before I got what I wanted. I could see the changes since our national ride.

The horse was not as round as I want him to be at the end of this journey but he was darn close. I figured what I had was reasonable for an A show so I would go with that and not try for more. Going into the far corner, I cut it as close to the second judge as I could get without "buzzing" him so I could push my horse off laterally to the outside to keep him together without having to pick up on his face at all. Legs responded exactly how I hoped. He locked in on my request and rounded up forgetting about trolls at least for this pass.

I looked around the ring to check the positioning of the other horses. I knew there were a couple of horses that could be a problem and particularly at the lope so I didn't want to get too close to either of them. I didn't want to give Legs the opportunity to see something that wasn't there because he trusted the other horses more than me and I knew he would if I gave him the chance.

I didn't see anything unusual going on but used the information to change my line of travel anyway. Some of the horses were bunching up behind me and I wanted to put some distance between us and them so when we reversed I would have time to lope in my own timing instead of waiting on them. I cut the far corner to get me farther down the rail too. The more distance I could get the better.

Our transition down into the walk was nice and my horse walked off on a loose rein with that big sweeping stride he has. Legs stayed nice and round in the bridle so I didn't have to even think about checking him at all. I was pretty pleased with that too. Not that I check him much at the walk, but I didn't even need to jiggle my reins at him. That was a nice feeling.

It was at the near end of the arena right by the in gate where I turned my horse in towards the arena for the reverse. I usually try to turn into the wall but I guess I figured mixing things up was good because I discarded the thought of turning into the wall immediately. Maybe it was because the judge was looking straight at me and I wanted to show him I didn't need the wall to round up my horse. I figured Legs would stay together for me throughout the turn.........which he did. I was proud of my boy.

We walked around the corner before the announcer called for the lope. I had lots of room in front of me and I'd left myself room away from the rail so I immediately moved my horse laterally to the outside for a couple of steps and then asked Legs to lope off. The first three strides were heaven.

To be continued................

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  1. Sounds like the makings of a very nice ride

  2. I think you are going to have a fantastic season!

  3. "the first three strides were heaven...."

    I know I may have been only reading your blog for 3 to 4 months, but this sounds ominous!

    I am really hoping things keep going beautifully for you, but with the way you have left things up in the air at the end of this blog I have a feeling things may not have been so good for the rest of the class.

    I will keep my fingers crossed, and hope that I'm wrong and just try to be patient while I wait for the next installment!

    Karren from Australia

  4. fernvalley, it was a pretty nice ride but not as good as the one that got blow to bits when the horse outside spooked Legs. Now that ride I can still feel. It was very cool.

    Danielle, I hope you're right. Things are definitely coming together.

    AAL, you definitely have the omninous right.