To begin with, we had a horrible week. I had felt that my trainer (also entering the show) had been a bit dodgy with me all week, by putting me down, my horse down, having us train things we did not need for intro (like canter/walk transitions) until Wednesday she went off on me. She said that she was upset that I had put her down on my show registration as my trainer and not to ever tell anyone I'm her student because I am an embarrassment to her....said a few more things....and ended with her not being my trainer. Yes, my new trainer ditched me 3 days before the show. I have to wonder if it's because she was caught entering Adult Amateur do to my putting her down as my trainer and got a phone call from the show manager that they were switching her to Open. So anyway, there I was....going to my first Dressage show with no help.
Something that saved my life was going online and watching a lot of Intro A and B tests on YouTube AND I found a really handy checklist of things to bring to shows that someone had started and people added to. I had everything I need and wasn't lacking anything, yay.
We arrived the night before and Cinny was just AMAZING from the moment he walked into the Event Center. The place is just enormous and the amount of commotion made my head spin but he seemed to actually love it. His expression simply put said "I am Cinny and I have ARRIVED!" It was so cute. He settled in with no problem, just a bit of screaming back and forth across the arena with his old buds from our previous stable that apparently decided to answer him back. I also had opted for an extra stall for tack, which was a suggestion from my "magic list" and I don't know what I would have done without it.
When the show arena opened, I tacked up and took Cinny in. Judges stand - no problem. Table set up with chairs on it at the end of the arena - no problem. Classical music blasting on the P.A. - he loved it. Getting to canter in a truely gigantic arena - Cinny thought it was just priceless. He behaved better at the Event Center than I have ever seen him behave. Our only issue was when a kid decided to run and bang up the metal bleachers as we went cantering by but after the initial 6 ft sideways jump and a good look, they didn't exist anymore.
The next morning I arrived to find Cinny actually lying down fast asleep without a concern in the world. We tacked up, warmed up and went in from Intro A. He did everything I asked without issue, he didn't even decided to canter when I asked for a free walk which is his usual habit! In my eyes he was perfect. Final score 90, Percentage 56.250. Our notes on flaws maionly were in reguard to being fussy with bit contact, we didn't take our 20M circles rail to rail and I overshot my turn at the end and thus I had a straight yet slightly off center line down center for my salute. All mostly me. Not bad his very first time in a show ring. We placed 3rd out of 6 people.
We waited about 3 hours and did the whole thing again only I was very late getting him to the warm up. 5 minutes after I got in I was told to go which really took me off guard. I told the steward I needed a caller (I haven't worked on memorizing B as much as A) and she said I was SOL as the caller was taking a break, and then the bell rang...dang. Luckily my memory served me just fine and although I was really frazzled from not having a chance to warm up and all that I figured it was a blown class as I didn't really concentrate. Cinny however was untouched by any of it and did as I asked perfectly yet with his little bit of "contact fuss." Final Score 93, Percentage 58.125 and 3rd out of 4. Again, not bad especially for a "blown" class. Comments were good use of corners but again "fussy" with contact and his free walk was a wonderful pace but he needs to be encouraged to stretch down.
About 7 hours later we had Suitability and Equitation. Everyone in the ring was a different division so we all got blue ribbons and a LOT of advice...I count the advice, but not the competition because I don't believe a first due to lack of competition a "real" first place but it was fun to take pictures of Cinny with his blue ribbon. The most important thing that happened that put my whole journey with Cinny into perspective was that the judge asked "how long has your horse been under saddle?" She didn't ask his age as most do...but how long under saddle. I had to think and then it dawned on me.... really only about 9 months! OMG....has it been that short of time?
I am so amazed at Cinny every day, and that question made me realize exactly how amazing he is. I know it was just a little schooling show but really...he had his head about him, he didn't grit his teeth horribly the whole time as he used to do, and made a lot of the "drama" horses look like amateurs. He is such a diamond in the rough and I can't wait to see what he does in the future.
We packed up to go home and then I went to look at the official standings for the day...I got 4th over all. Not bad, I was expecting to get last :) Went to put Cin in the trainer and I swear the horse did not want to leave. He normally walks right in but last night he kept refusing then spinning on his heels to run back into the Expo Center...... Don't worry Cinny, you will be there again!