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Show Recap: Sunday May 21st (Western) @ Cascade Pinto Silver Buckle Show

Show Recap: Sunday May 21st (Western) @ Cascade Pinto Silver Buckle Show

With only a couple of weeks of western experience under our belt, I knew going into Sunday that Ezhno and I were going to come out of it without ribbons. We managed to get him trained up enough for a transition bit by the time the show hit, but we’ve been focused on keeping his head down and his pace consistent, so… well, he’s a #goodboy, but he’s not very slow and it doesn’t help that I didn’t have a hat (though I did go buy a scarf and a very comfortable hairnet from The Hat Lady)!

Our first class (#322, OTAB Walk/Trot Horsemanship All Ages) was scheduled right after a bunch of driving classes, so it was a great chance for us to go out and see how well Saturday night’s carts-are-cool lesson went. He was still nervous, for sure, but he walked properly past themβ€”MASSIVE improvement!

Trainer A hopped aboard for a quick school (she looked super funny riding in my stirrup length with her long legs, like a jockey!), then passed him over to me.

We warmed up for our class by practicing the individual elements of the pattern: walk to jog, jog to halt, turn on the haunches, halt to trot, backing up, etc. There were cones set up in the outdoor arena, so we even practiced the pattern all the way through a couple of times! We got to the point where he was really knocking it out of the park (at least to the best of his current abilities), then we lingered in the shade while we waited for them to finish dragging the arena.

Of course, when we went in to do our pattern everything fell apart, LOL. We lurched off of the straight path, stumbled into our halts, didn’t really plant for our haunch turn, and backed super crooked… but, to be fair, neither Ezhno nor I are experienced enough to perform in the main arena just like we do while we’re practicing, I get super nervous and the change in environment throws him off. More experience needed!

After we were done I untacked and gave Ezhno a break while I watched classes, then came back for him a while later for class #341, OTAB Walk/Trot Pleasure All Ages/Types. I had no doubt that the pleasure class was going to be laughable, but it was even more comedic when I faux-jogged him into the arena and realized just how many horses were in our class.

Apparently everyone and their brother decided to use the OTAB walk/trot class as a warm up (can’t blame them, the OTAB classes were way cheaper than the Pinto classes!), so any chance we had to snag a ribbon flew right out the window. The super full arena also made it really hard to hide the fact that Ezhno’s jog clocks in at Mach 10. We had to pass a horse and then we never really found a place on the wall again. Pretty sure Ez thought it was a race and was super proud of himself. πŸ˜€

Personally, I was just super happy to get to take my chaps off and put a tank top on, because β˜€β˜€β˜€

I took a few minutes to organize some of my stuff and throw a few things into my truck (after I untacked Ezhno, topped off his water buckets, and shared an apple with him, of course), then spent the rest of my time at the show grounds watching the rest of the pleasure classes, the discipline rail classes (one of which Trainer A rode Midas in, the GIF to the left is them walking to the main arena!), and the ideal Pinto classes.

The ideal classes were very interesting! It started out like a pleasure class, then all of the riders dismounted, a whistle blew, and grooms ran in to untack and spiffy up the horses for the halter portion of the judging. Unfortunately, a few of the competitors from my barn got DQ’d from the ideal Pinto classes when their grooms came in wearing tank tops (apparently they have to wear long sleeves, go figure!). πŸ™

All in all, it was a super fun (and educational) weekend! We were definitely outclassed by the competition, but we went into it expecting to get trounced, so no loss there. We’ve got a lot to work on in the next few months, but there’s a good chance we’ll tackle another one of these shows in the early fall if I feel like we’ve made good progress. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Show Recap: Saturday May 20th (Trail) @ Cascade Pinto Silver Buckle Show

Show Recap: Saturday May 20th (Trail) @ Cascade Pinto Silver Buckle Show

I took a look at the schedule for Saturday and was a little preemptively nervous when I saw that the classes right before mine were trail in hand classes for miniature horses. Ezhno spent most of Friday afternoon staring out of his stall as the pleasure driving carts rattled by on their way to the arena, his eyes wide and his nostrils flared in a permanent snort. When I led him out for a lunge Saturday morning (after everyone went through the showmanship rigamarole again) he was better around the tiny horses, but still not completely sane.

But before our class there were sixty four others, and most of those were halter classes (AKA so boring to watch). I watched a few of the halter classes with some of my friends from the barn (and discovered the awesome scones at the Horse Play Cafe attached to the main arena), but I spent most of the morning hanging out with Ezhno (and tying him to a rafter when he wouldn’t stop trying to bulldoze past me while I cleaned his stall).

Originally I planned on doing my trail class (#164, OTAB Walk/Trot Trail All Ages English/Western) western, but Trainer M suggest I ride English so that I had two hands to manage Ezhno in case things went wrong (AKA my steering one handed sucks LOL). I like English more, but I feel more secure in a western saddle, so I spent most of my time after I warmed Ezhno up sticking close to Trainer A (while letting Ezhno stare at all of the miniatures that were plaguing the arenaβ€”it’s probably good that he ignores how nervous I get and does his own thing).

Unfortunately, the trail classes before mine took forever. By the time we were put into the holding area at one end of the main arena (with only a small amount of unease as the minis left), an hour or so had passed. I was hot, Ezhno was pissed off/bored, and he would not stop fidgeting. He’d start shifting his weight and wiggling, then I’d correct him, then he’d get mad and overdo the correction, and then I would have to jam my spur into his side to stop him from bashing into another person/horse.

By the time it was our turn to line up at the start of the course, my only goal was to avoid knocking over the whole gate. πŸ˜€

My pattern and a look at how the trot weave is supposed to look. Spoiler: Ezhno and I didn’t look like that LOL

The person ahead of me (one of the riders going to Pinto Worlds, she wasΒ flawless) was finishing up their pattern while Ezhno and I quietly argued about the virtues of standing still next to the gate. When we finally got the nod to start I pulled my reins a little tighter, bunched them up in one hand, and unhooked the gate. Despite his attitude, Ezhno actually went through the gate and backed into place so that I could close it with a surprising amount of accuracy (if not a beautifully relaxed style).

Our weave was terrible (he trotted over the first ground pole and immediately decided that the obstacle could only be done at the walk, thankyouverymuch), but we picked the trot back up, halted at the start of the L, and then backed through it without any problems (only one moment where we were close to going outside of it and I put my spur in and he fixed it very quickly).

And then we trotted out of the L and I immediately forgot where the hell I was supposed to be going. I’d been so focused on taming Ezhno the Beast that I’d forgotten to think about the pattern, so I ended up having to yell that I was “a little lost” and take a big circle to reorient myself (the judges were very nice, one of the ladies even said, “That’s fine!”).

Despite feeling really silly, though, Ezhno redeemed us when we got back on track and came to the bridge. He pricked his ears forward, but didn’t ask any questionsβ€”he just went right over it, THANK GOD. It was such a relief to be done and even though we didn’t get any ribbons (obviously), I was very happy with how Ezhno performed under pressure.

After Ezhno was untacked I went to sit in the gallery with all of the barn moms and watch all of the other competitors from my barn ride their trail classes. It took forever, but after that they had mini horse jumping (!!!), which was adorable. They were slated to have pleasure driving that night also, but there was only one participant and she graciously decided to scratch the class when the mini jumping didn’t even finish up until around 10:00 at night, which left only the ranch riding classes.

A couple of our riders were entered in the ranch riding classes, so we all stayed late to cheer them on. Another rider and I were excited at the idea of going riding in the dark, so we went back to the barn and I tacked Ezhno up western so that we could gallivant around the (very scary, very dark) outdoor arena while we waited for the class to start. I didn’t even bother to put on breeches, I just climbed on with my pajamas stuffed into my cowboy boots. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Cars with headlights on out on the highway were scary, but Ezhno quickly decided my spurs were even scarier and that he should probably pay attention to me instead of gawking at every shadow that flickered in the dark. πŸ˜†

Our ride was very light, we spent most of the time lingering by the main arena’s in gate so that we could watch our riders do the ranch riding pattern, but I’m glad I got him out and made him ride around in the dark. It was a good experience for both of us! On top of that, we also got the chance to stand in the main arena and watch some of the pleasure drivers practice, which gave Ezhno the chance to watch regular-sized horses pull (still slightly scary) carts. A great way to end a busy day!

Show Recap: Friday May 19th (English) @ Cascade Pinto Silver Buckle Show

Show Recap: Friday May 19th (English) @ Cascade Pinto Silver Buckle Show

Friday dawned bright and early, especially for the 5 out of 7 of us that were participating in the morning showmanship classes. I, on the other hand, fed Ezhno his grain and then chilled in my chair with my breakfast (with occasional handfuls for Ezhno, who thinks cinnamon granola isΒ the bomb) while I watched the chaos unfold. As someone that’s never done showmanship, it was very cool to watch the preparations the horses go throughβ€”fake tails, shaved socks, Show Sheen, and face oils abound! It’s a whole different ball game.

There was a moment of panic when one of our team almost missed the very first class of the day (I jogged Midas all the way out to the arena so that she could sprint there the moment her makeup was finished), but the timing just barely worked out.

My first class of the day was class number 130, so I had plenty of time to prepare. While the showmanship classes happened, I took my time tacking up Ezhno, changing into my show clothes, and bridling my lazy, hay-eating horse.

We headed out into the warm up arena early so that we could spend some more time getting used to the noises coming from the highway that runs alongside the outdoor arena and the sheer amount of activity in the covered warm up arena. He was very looky and he did a couple of small, scooting spooks, but for the most part he felt very forwardβ€”a great thing for a horse that would prefer to live behind my leg rather than in front of it where he belongs!

Our first class was #130, OTAB Walk/Trot English Equitation All Ages/Types (Ezhno’s PtHA paperwork didn’t come back in time for the Pinto classes, which is fine because the open to all breed classes were cheaper anyways πŸ˜› ).

We’d practiced this pattern during our lesson on Monday (albeit in a western saddle with an English bridle) and it didn’t go super well. I’m still terrible at picking out my diagonals (a hole that Trainer M has missed since we’d been focused on jumping and I’m quick to fix them when I miss them). I hadn’t been planning to do the class, but another member of our team was entered in it, so I figured, “Why the hell not?” I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty, but oh well, who cares!

Surprisingly, the pattern went well. Our trot transition was prompt and I picked up the wrong diagonal (as always), which was the correct diagonal for the pattern. Unfortunately, as we came towards cone C Ezhno spotted a hose hanging up in the arena and used it as an excuse for a prompt spook left that had us halting very far away from the cone, plus our back was bleghβ€”but we got a 4th, two 5ths, and a 6th from the four judges (Mike Adams, Theresa Sullivan, Curt Summers, Sally Jo Freucl).

See that hose wheel on the pillar? Yep, that was SCARY. Also, this horse was super handsome.Β  πŸ™‚

We had a while until our next class, so I untacked Ezhno and let him chill in his stall while I went and watched a few of the classes (and admired all of the handsome APHAs). There were a few competitors that came to practice for PtHA Worlds, so there were a lot of amazing horse/rider combinations to ogle.

When there were only a handful of classes left before mine (#149, OTAB Walk/Trot English Pleasure All Ages/Types) I brought Ezhno back out and got him warmed up again. Trainer M touched up my lipstick, took a cute photo of us together, and then in we went for our class!

We entered in at a trot and probably made a good three circuits of the arena before they gave us another direction (totally fine, except I was so hot). Ezhno felt super good! His pace was good, his head was down, and he was listening when I clicked to him. He tried to shy a little bit when we came up on the hose the first time, but I just set me inside leg on to pin him to the rail and he got back to work right away. All in all, I was super proud with how he went (though our back was still blegh and we probably lost a placing or two over it), and we came out with a 2nd (!), two 3rds, and a 4thβ€”very good for his first large show!

Ezhno got mucho pets, then I untacked him, stripped off all of my uber hot show clothing, and tossed Ezhno a couple of flakes of hay while I enjoyed my own lunch of champions before I went back out into the heat and spent the rest of the day watching everyone bring home more ribbons for our barn.