I went to the show on Sat for the 1st time in winter, and I think it'll be my last time. We were supposed to have 10 mins of warm-up time before the class in indoor (per email). And we didn't. The outside arena was almost impossible to trot (let alone canter). It was nothing but ice and big hard rocks. My (non-shod) horse barely could move there. Coupled with freezing temps and wind her muscles were all stiff (in fact she felt like a board through her back) when we entered the test, so I didn't even demand her to jump over the head (I think she already tried quite hard given the conditions).
The judge (very nice lady) talked to me after the test (and I highly appreciated her taking time to go through the test with me) and pointed out the flaws (I agree on completely, because I could feel what was wrong already while riding). What really frustrates me is that we didn't have all those flaws for the last weeks we've been working on test (at my lessons as well!), BUT I always ride the test in very end of the ride, when horse is all warmed-up and supple.
Is it something normal for the winter shows? I mean the warm-up area in very bad condition? BTW, I've seen people after me (I was 2nd in my class that had surprisingly lots of entries) pushing their horses into riding on ice/frozen dust rocks, but call me stupid I didn't feel comfortable to do that when horse walks on like it's lame.
BTW... The judge said very nice words about the horse, and the scores were in 60th, and we were placed out of 12 or something riders, so it's not like I got a last place and blaming everyone and everything. But I feel we could just ride so much better if she'd be warmed-up properly.
Anyway, here is the video of the test. Feel free to critique/comment although after re-watching it and judge's comments I know most of things that went wrong...
P.S> I can't imagine how the poor judges can sit in those freezing temperatures all day long! God bless their hearts!