Worst show ever was the fall of last year. It was just a little schooling show at a laid-back farm...perfect for taking a horse whom had very little exposure to the outside world although he was about 20. My instructor and I had taken my boy to about a half-dozen or more places to just get out and around. I wasn't sure how it would go but I was hoping for the best while expecting the worst. I walked him around and around...spent a couple hours before my first ride just letting him chill and check things out. I got on him and we just watched the rides. He was a bit tense but not really spooky.
So I go and warm him up in the indoor. We were only riding Training Level since we had no idea how he would be. This was my first show with him...coming off riding a wonderful mare who earlier last year I was showing at Second Level and we got pretty nice scores.
He was fairly good in the warm-up. Definitely not very relaxed but at least he kept his spooking to a minimum. Feeling slightly hopeful, we enter the arena. I walked him around once then ventured a little trot. Right off he spooks at a hoofprint in the dirt. I laughed it off a bit....he then spooked at his own shadow. I rolled my eyes. Then he wouldn't go through a smallish puddle in one of the corners. Finally got him through that.
The judge rang the bell. I told myself that it was no big deal...and went down the centerline. That's when things all went to hell. My instructor, watching from the sidelines literally thought I was coming off a couple times. Oh it was a great test....complete with a hand-gallop down the long side, spooking at X, and B, and C, and E, and A. Several non-transitions and zero relaxation and harmony ensued. Some children running around, a couple stray papers and a terrifying roll-top jump somewhere off in a distant field were all too scary to contend with.
We finally finished the test from hell. I still patted him on the shoulder, still told him he was a good boy. Because he was...even though I was near tears on the inside. I can't remember the exact score but I believe it was somewhere in the very low 40s%. As where the next two rides *sigh*
DRESSAGE, n.: the passionate pursuit of perfection by the obsessively imperfect -Author Unknown