Once the first showmanship class was over I headed back up to the barn to wait out the time until my class. With two more showmanship classes to go I expected that to take a while but it actually came upon me much quicker than I expected. Before I knew it I heard the paddock announcer calling for class number 133 and I hadn't even begun tacking my horse up yet. With my adult amateur owner to ride (AAOTR) class being class 136, the mad dash was on getting my horse and myself ready.
It always seems by Sunday at a horse show I'm functioning in a pretty low gear. Everything I do seems to be in slow motion even when I'm pushing myself but the adrenaline that comes from thinking I might miss a class definitely got me jump started. I was whirling around Legs getting him saddled and greased so I could move onto getting myself dressed.
Besides making a change to my work boots, I decided to make one other change as well. LF had "sold" me on the clingy, stretchy pants that she wears back when I'd had problems getting my leg bent enough to even reach the stirrup over a winter I'd gained some weight. Those pants had worked for me at the time but over the last year I've lost that weight and more thanks to stomach issues during the lawsuit.
Now I was thinking those pants were a little slick for my liking. With issues not feeling balanced in the saddle and the fact I still felt a bit more secure schooling than showing even with the boot change, I decided I'd dig out my black jeans and show in those instead.
I'd come from home wearing those black jeans and I'd left my boots on after I schooled my horse and it was a darn good thing. I was running out of time but thanks to these changes all I had to do was put on my chaps, change into my show shirt AND, of course, grab my hat. I'd put my earrings on much earlier anticipating a problem getting the studs through the holes, so I was ready to go in 5 minutes. All I had to do was bridle up my horse and we were off to the warm up arena.
We got to the warm up ring just as they were calling class 135 into the arena. That's pretty much perfect timing as long as my horse is good. It gives me the length of one class to warm my horse up. As long as I didn't end up with some kind of schooling issue, we'd be ready to go when called.
I must admit right from the start I wondered where all the western horses were. According to my confirmation of entries there should have been 6 horses in the class. When I first got to the warm up Legs and I were the only western horse there. Soon we were joined by one more but that was it. When the class was called, there were only two horses lining up on the ramp.
Because the AAOTR class is my measure of where my horse in terms of competitiveness, I always look forward to this class. I have said all along I'll know that Legs is right when he can win in this class. Now as there were only two horses entering this class, I was disappointed the measure I count on wasn't going to happen because so many riders had scratched this class. As the gate closed behind us I settled into what I considered to be just a schooling ride.
I knew my horse was going slower than he had been two days before but I wouldn't get to see how he would compare against those slower horses from the AAOTR class I'd ridden on Friday. The horses that are striving to compete at the nationals level had scratched once they'd earned the qualifications they sought. I would have to be content to work on logging miles in the show ring, building up Leg's comfort level after spooking situations past.
Jogging down the rail, Legs seemed relaxed enough. He didn't seem bothered by the light coming through the tarp seams at the far end of the arena. Any time my horse can be comfortable at that end, I figure I'm making headway against those troll memories he seems to foster.
When the announce called for the lope, I pushed Legs up into the bridle and held him just a moment before I asked. His transition was as smooth as the ones he given me in the open class. I was glad to see we hadn't lost that just because he was tired. I was even happier to see he was holding together pretty well. Mostly just coming off my legs to round back up, instead of needing that direct contact he has leaned on to get "right." His lope was even and comfortable but I was feeling him throwing me to left, just a bit.
The announcer asked us to walk and Legs waited for instructions from me despite his obvious reaction telling me he'd heard and understood the call. That's something that Legs has always been particularly good at, waiting for instruction even though he knows what's coming next. You just have to appreciate a horse that waits until he's told instead of taking things upon himself.
When I did push my feet forward and sit down, my horse rolled up underneath me and walked out of that lope. Galloping the day before in that open class had really helped his confidence in the curb. Legs was on his butt and his shoulders were up where they belonged. The transition was flawless which is something totally new.
Because Legs was tired he didn't really walk off with the true stride I prefer. I had to push him being careful not to push him past the walk and into a jog. Legs actually cocked his head just a little listening for a cue from me. I responded with a low drawn, "W A L K."
It seemed about the time I got him walking at the rate I wanted the announcer asked us to reverse. Legs wanted to stall instead of change directions and I had to pump him with my spur to keep him moving. Only a few steps later and the lope was called.
Legs seemed almost glad to be asked to lope instead of continuing on at the walk. As I pushed him into the bridle to get ready for the transition, his ear perked up and he easily rounded for me. As he got to that "right" place to ask, the horse moved into the lope without even a kiss from me. He cued totally off my thought and the transition was very smooth.
Normally working to the right is Legs' good direction. On this day, I had to work harder to the right to keep him together than I had to the left. He was still moving off my legs and not requiring that firm hold of the bit but it was taking a lot of leg to keep him together. By the time they asked us to jog, my legs were feeling like rubber, still his transition down was better than usual. It was a decent ride.
We were barely into the jog when the announcer called us into line. Thankfully we were on the rail directly across from the place designated by the ring steward for line up. I was thinking if we'd had much farther to go, Legs would run out of gas as I continued to push him with my legs to keep him together.
Normally, Legs is a bit of a busy body in the line up. He likes to look around at the other horses to survey who's there. On this day when we got to "the" spot, Legs stopped and hung his head. He was pooped and we still had one class to go.
I heard the announcer say there was a unanimous decision for the championship in this class. I was surprised to hear that unanimous champion was Legs. I think I had to wake Legs from his nap to get him to move up for the presentation. He lurched a little into the jog to collect his championship ribbons and first ever neck garlands in a riding class.
To be continued........................
A Surprise Visit......
Visit Blog Village and vote daily for this blog Here They are now measuring the rankings by votes out, so if you find my blog on the site, please click that link too to improve my rankings. TY