Sunday, October 28, 2007

October Schooling Show

The October 27th schooling show at Indian Creek Farm was at the top of my list of all time favorites. Indian Creek deserved many kudos for a well-run and professional show, with lots of personal touches to make the whole day special. They provided iced-down bottled water at each arena plus a cauldron of apples and carrots so every horse got a great reward for their performance. I know Brego and Hobby were kept in apples for the entire day courtesy of Indian Creek. I cannot wait for their Spring '08 show season.

It's been a month since the last show and everyone showed marked improvement, not only in the ring, but during warmup and tied to the trailer for a long day. Brego had only one greenie spazz moment during warmup, so I count that as improvement. I think the atmosphere of the show really gets his heart pumping and seeing all the horses galloping and jumping makes him want to run around. After a couple of forward trot laps, however, he wisely decided to conserve his energy and he got down to business.

I entered him in a 2'3"-2'6" jumping course and it turned out to be quite tricky with a rollback and some tight corners. It was not the kind of course I would prefer for a Percheron, but I was interested to see how he would do. The course consisted of 10 fences and the first 6 were the "Power" phase where you had to go clean. Then after your sixth fence, if you went clean, the clock started on the "Speed" phase and you had to jump the last 4 fences timed. Fences 8, 9, and 10 were set up as a type of serpentine with a pretty sever rollback between 8 and 9 and a mild 180 degree turn to fence 10. It was pretty tricky for our second jumper course ever.

Brego went clean (but a little sloppy) during the Power phase so we turned on the speed for the last phase. Really pushing him forward made his balance and jumping come easier. He nailed all his lead changes during the Speed phase, where he was too glommed up during the Power phase to manage it. We even got the very tricky rollback at fence 9. He came around well to fence 10 and just took an extra peek which caused him to drop the rail from getting too close. The fence headed straight back towards the ingate and both of us lost our concentration, having successfully negotiated the hardest part of the course. What a heart break to pull a rail! Oh well, in the end Brego proved he can certainly turn it on and make some turns and we ended up placing 3rd (out of the adults). The course ended up claiming lots of faults as there were rails and refusals everywhere.

I had about 40 minutes between the jumping course and my dressage test, so just enough time to change my gloves, my whip, and head to warmup. Last show, I don't think I warmed Brego up enough, and this show, I think I overdid it. He was listening well, but tired and it was still warm at 3 pm. He just wanted to go back to the trailer after his wonderful jumper round. I couldn't blame him at all!

We performed the Training Level Test 1 and I think he did very well, much improved from last month. He was more forward and active, and his canter departures were not as flat. He was not as straight though and despite having been working on controlling his haunches, he spun out on a couple of circles. I am very happy with the test and with the judges comments. She said, "Great pair with so much potential. Work to keep drive off haunches and over back and not coming to forehand. Good luck!" I couldn't agree with her more. Brego has shown me he has a lot of potential, in several venues, and I couldn't be more proud.

We ended up tied with the highest score in my division: 63.48. We took second because our Collective Marks were not as high as the other rider, but it makes no difference. Brego performed well, scored well, and was generally a lot of fun at this show. At one point, as I was holding Brego and working with Alyssa and Hobby, a gaggle of girls came up and loved on Brego for a steady ten minutes. He soaked it all up and really turned on the charm as they played with his nose, forelock, ears, basically anything they could get their hands on. They wandered away still crooning over Brego and never said a word to me the entire time. Brego speaks for himself. :)

Complete Set of Photos

After all that hard work, he then had to suffer fools for the costume class...

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