Sooo it didn't go quite as well as planned. But Dally and I worked through it and I received several compliments on my riding and how well I stay on.
The shows grounds were set up funny. And unless you boarded there, there was really no place to put your horse while you waited for classes unless you wanted to stand near the ring holding them. All my classes were of course at the end of the day. So Dallas had to spend a lot of time waiting around on the trailer, with walking breaks of course, and he had hay and was offered water. I made sure he was alright, he was never alone. Then I took him out and I couldn't warm up in the arena the show was in. I had to use their indoor. Dally warmed up like an angel. I get him into my first class and I have no idea what went wrong(some combination of my nerves and what ever else), but he was really jazzed up. He shot forward a few gallop strides in several places, and was chopping on the bit. I just sat up and talked to him. This went on for 3 classes, he got slightly more relaxed after each one. There was eight people in our class and he still got 6th, 5th, and 5th despite the fireworks. I schooled him during the lunch break in the arena getting ready for our second division. I went in and he was definitely still nervous, and stronger than I'm used to(normally he's really laid back and lazy). I even took my spurs off. But we got through the flat and jumping classes with no fireworks, got 3 2nds, and reserve champion. I was really proud we worked through it but really disappointed at the way he acted up. He hasn't been that scared a show since he was four. I was shocked. Where the heck was my lazy hunter champion who goes in rings of 30 horses and handles it like a pro? I swear he was the anti-Dallas. I think sitting in the trailer didn't help, and the fact we moved in January and he hasn't been away from the barn since then didn't help. And we hadn't done any real showing other than little 4H stuff since 2009. He was perfect every ride leading up to the show. I felt awful he was so nervous. With any luck we've got the first show jitters out of the way, and he'll be back to his old self at the next one. The day after the show when I went to the barn he was acting way more affectionate than he normally does. Like a giant puppy when he is normally the Grinch. That made me feel slightly better.
It could have gone much better, but we pulled through it. I've been having a hard time just letting go of it. Since Sunday I've been over analyzing everything that went wrong and what I should have done to fix it. Hopefully after my lesson on Friday I'll be all set to just get ready for the next show and leave this one behind us. I feel like I failed him. Like I should have been able to ease whatever nerves he had. We've been a team for 7 years, and I can't shake the feeling that I let him down. My trainer is proud of us for moving past our problems and finishing all our classes. It's hard to feel like you've moved backwards when you were on top of your showing game not all that long ago.
Sorry for all that. Just kind of spilling my guts. Sharing it has already helped me feel better. We'll do better next time. From how he started the show to where he ended it, there was already a huge improvement.
Open Pleasure 1: 6th
Open Pleasure 2: 5th
Open Pleasure 3: 5th
Jr Equitation on the Flat: 2nd
Jr Eq over 2'6" Trip 1: 2nd
Jr Eq over 2'6" Trip 2: 2nd
Jr Eq Reserve Champion