The alarm went off at 6:30am though I’d been awake since 6am because I was too worried I’d sleep through the alarm and be late for my first day of showing (little did I know)! The show started at 8am and Blu was scheduled to be in three classes. The first two classes Todd was going to ride and the third class was mine.
Class 22 – HA/AA Western Pleasure Junior Horse
Class 24 - HA/AA Western Pleasure – Open
Class 28 - HA/AA Western Pleasure – AAOTR (Adult Amateur Owner To Ride)
Friday was the Coast Classic Show, the only day that trainers could ride in classes. Saturday and Sunday was the All Amateur Show, for Amateurs only. The plan was to have Todd start Blu off and make sure he had the best opportunity for a comfortable beginning to his show. I knew Todd could handle whatever Blu would put his way (which ended up being very minor – excess energy related to his having 4 days off due to his injury). That was the plan. And actually it turned out well.
With all that planning what was the only problem? I missed half of Blu’s first class!!!
Imagine my horror when I came out of the camper planning on walking up to the barn to help Todd get ready for the first class and instead looked over to the arena only to see Todd’s cowboy hat and red shirt cruising along above the rail!!
It all came about because I thought we had plenty of time once I’d gotten Blu prepped [groomed to within an inch of his life, gloss on the hooves, mane and tail brushed out (and yes, flat ironed), Peppy Spray all over (shine spray), saddled in his pretty new show saddle, headstall ready to go] so that Sharon and I could head off to the camper to get ourselves prepped [makeup, hair up, show shirt on, cowboy hat bobby pinned on so tightly that I thought for sure I was bleeding] and when I was done I popped out of the camper casually strolling on the grass only to look up to the arena (The camping area is lower than the arena and you can’t see the horses or hear the announcers from the camper, all you can see are riders heads and shoulders above the rail) only to see Todd riding by! I swear I about had a heart attack.
After cursing myself I hurried around to the barn side of the arena (looking back I wonder why I didn’t try to go to the grandstand side – it was closer) and stood there watching Todd and Blu change directions. I did get to see his “bad” direction – his right lead – and I was delighted to see Blu get the correct lead! I had no idea how he did the first direction, of course, but his second direction looked AWESOME. I was bouncing up and down, by myself, a goofy smile on my face, watching them line up.
I was totally shocked to hear the announcer say “In First Place in Half Arabian Western Pleasure Junior Horse – Number 101 – Red White N Blu ridden by Todd Azevedo and owned by Katherine Lordier” I jumped and screamed and cheered in excitement. Pumped my fists and looked around to see who I could share my excitement with! Sadly, there was no one there – of course – they were all down at the arena! Doh!
Then I ran to the arena myself, grinning like a loon, and babbling away to Todd about how cool it was to watch what I did. He told me he saw me standing down by the camper when he rode by in the class – probably the same time I saw him! He had been wondering where I was!!
I took a quick picture of Todd and Blu with their ribbon, just before they headed into their second class.
This class I actually watched in it's entirety. I even videotaped the whole thing.
Class 24 - HA/AA Western Pleasure – Open
Once again I was thrilled to watch Blu and Todd have a good ride. Blu did have a problem getting the correct lead on the second direction, then to top things off Todd had to call a “time out” because the throat latch I’d bought had come apart (it was magnetic and the magnet wasn’t strong enough to hold together with the weight of the headstall and Blu’s head movement – it’s designed for a show halter – not performance). Luckily you are allowed one time out without penalty and Todd was able to come into the center of the arena and reattach the throat latch and when the time out ended they resumed the lope and Blu picked up the correct lead this time. I’m not sure how that affected things in the judges eyes, but the end result was that Blu got second place. I was happy. He didn’t come in last!
There were only 3 classes between Todd’s class and mine so I hopped on Blu and we headed to the warm up arena for a quick workout. I picked up the lope once in each direction and Todd said that was enough – we didn’t want to push things and Blu had picked the correct lead each time.
My class was called and I swallowed the small butterflies that were flitting around in my stomach. I WAS a bit nervous, though it still wasn’t to the level that I used to get with Cre oh-so-many years ago. My legs didn’t turn to mush, thankfully. I struggled getting Blu to jog into the arena. The entrance is on a downward slope and the ground is pretty hard outside the arena. (Blu was still a tiny bit sore from his injury the week before during the fire melee but he wasn’t lame.) Once we got inside the gate he started a beautiful, slow jog. I breathed a big sigh of relief and we continued on our way. There were six horses in the class and we did a pretty good job of spreading out. I was trying to be aware of my surroundings so I wouldn’t get boxed in at a critical point. It can be hard to do because I think horses are like magnets and they end up sticking close to each other even when they start out far apart. I believe I did a fairly good job of arena management overall and Todd said I rode smart.
I don’t remember everything about the class, but I do remember that our jog was pretty nice most of the time. A few lurches here and there if I used too much leg or Blu mis-interpreted my commands. They asked for the walk and that was fine, but going through my head was the thought that it meant when they asked for the lope it would be from a walk. Ugh. Mentally it seems easier to ask for the lope from the jog but in reality it worked out fine. I’m happy to report he picked up the correct lead. Yahoo! They called for a jog next and we reversed. I’d survived half the class – another half a class to go… I think at that moment I’d wished the class was over because we’d done pretty well and survived so far. And of course the second direction (right) is Blu’s “bad” direction. But alas – all classes go both directions. So we were jogging around the arena and I was approaching a group of horses when they called for the lope. I tried to wait so the horses in front of me could start into the lope and get away, but they were all too slow. I was also in front of the judge. The dreaded position to be in: blocked in, with a young horse and in front of the judge. Ugh. I asked for the lope but wasn’t prepared as much as I should have been and Blu wasn’t collected so he picked up the wrong lead. Drat! I brought him back down to the jog and collected him better and asked for the lope again and this time he picked it up correctly.
Ah well, it’s my first class with him in a “rated” show, it’s my first day, I was nervous, all (my) excuses. But regardless I think that overall we had a nice ride. We were quite fast and with the mistakes I made (I’ll take the blame) I was quite happy that we pulled a fifth place because at least we didn’t come in LAST!!!
I think all the other horses were older and more experienced than Blu. Actually I’m quite sure there wasn’t another horse in the class that had as little experience as Blu did. He’d only been in training with Todd for 5 months at that point, and with only a dozen rides under Nicole prior to Todd, that wasn’t much experience at all.
I was extremely satisfied with Blu’s and my first day together at a rated show and overall the entire barn did well.
Here's the tally prior to lunch. We were a happy barn!