As always, Ez loaded/unloaded/tacked up like pro. When we hit the arena for warm up I gave him a quick walk/trot free flow and then checked out his canter. It was a bit fast (still easily controllable), but I could tell right off the bat that our right lead was very sticky, if not nonexistent. We actually had the judge (whom I recognized from my last Eagle Mountain show and whom I really like because she always gives advice to her riders at the end of each class) come into the arena to give us some pointers, but she was impressed with how good he looked for only three months worth of training.
Equitation classes were my first two classes of the day. Class one went well until we botched the right lead and had to do a simple lead change to fix it, then he was super unbalanced and we broke gait (hello, second place). Class two had a bit of sitting trot with no irons in it (MY JAM). Then when she called for the canter (with my irons) he gave me the wrong lead again and then we messed up the change (too disorganized, too rushed!), so I took advantage of being the only one in the class and made him halt, push his haunches in, and then canter off from the walk with the correct lead.
Pleasure classes were next. Class three she called for the canter on the right track and I made him haunches in slightly before I asked for the transition—he nailed it and got lots of praise (plus a blue ribbon). We went back in for our second pleasure class and he gave me the correct lead without any hassle, so that’s what I call a successful school! Plus his transitions were actually looking pretty good—not perfect, but definitely improved in the head tossing department.
Class 5 was the class I was most looking forward to: discipline rail, where nothing is off limits! Our judge called for a lot of trot to halt and halt to trot transitions (we’ve practiced this, I just have to prep him a lot so he stops with his butt and not his forehand or he tries to yank me out of the saddle), some sitting trot (again, MY JAM), a couple of turns on the forehand (he did surprisingly well, if a bit sloppy), backing (good, head could have been lower), the hand gallop (had a bit of a crow hop, we’ve never done this before), and a hand gallop to walk transition (surprisingly good).
We got called into line and then myself and another one of the riders got pulled out to do battle for second place. We started at the trot, then did a trot to halt transition, then a turn on the forehand, then a halt to trot transition, then a normal reverse, then another trot to halt… the other rider and I were both on our game, so it came down to a halt to canter transition (not Big Horse’s forte)—and we slam dunked it. (Well, okay, there was one or two walk steps, but still.)
My last class was pairs riding with W. We were the only people to show up for the class, so we had the whole arena to ourselves. We were admittedly unprepared (wait, extended trot?), but we did okay (outside of some massive sass from Boston) and it was lot of fun (I may have made a few witty comments to W during our ride that made us both less than focused, lol). There was one point where we had to do three reverses in a row (one at the posting trot, one at our attempt at an extended trot, and one at the sitting trot) and the judge said, “And if you’re not dizzy yet, I don’t know what to say.” LOL
It was a great day! W and R both had a good time and won some perfectly respectable ribbons for their first time showing. All of the horses were well behaved and Ezhno performed very well, plus I got ideas for things we should work on at home (right lead x 1,000,000, cleaning up turn on forehand/haunches and backing, walk/halt to canter, and hand gallop to walk/halt, to name a few). Overall, I’m glad I went because having the chance to show him off made me very proud of where Ezhno’s at right now. There’s a lot of things that are sloppy, but most of his buttons are functional, it’s just a matter of refining them.