Louie and I went to our first Saddlebred breed show today. It was a small one, but I wanted to start out small before we went to the bigger (and more expensive) shows.
The show grounds got about 3 inches of rain last night, so the arena was a giant puddle, but it was okay, Louie rolls in the mud ever day, so he wasn't too worried about it. It also was very hot, and I've always compared horse shows to exercising in a dress suit on a hot sunny day. I definitely got a work out!
Now on to the good stuff- Louie was feeling good today, no soreness from his fall yesterday. His lips were a little tender putting his bridle on, but other than that, it was hardly noticeable. He is still very green, having only been to 3 shows prior total, only once prior doing a walk-trot-canter class. He had an issue with the speakers by the announcer stand in the first class- our first pass by it at the trot, he broke into a sideways canter into the center and nearly ran the judge over. Of course I apologised and off we went to continue along. Louie really scooted past the announcer stand, and barely so by the end of that class, but other than that, he had a really nice ride. He had to trot into his left lead canter in the first class, but he did take both leads, and took the right lead beautifully, so I was happy. He was very consistent in his headset and speed. We managed to take 2nd place out of 3, even nearly trampling the judge, so she must have liked us. My husband said that if we hadn't had that blip, we probably would have won the class. Ah, well, green horses will be that way, and I could have planned better if I wasn't so concerned with noticing my own nervousness.
Our second class the announcer stand wasn't quite as much of an issue. He still scooted past it, but much more controlled. We got to do more gaits/speeds too, including not only walk, trot, and canter, but also country pleasure horses are asked to halt, back, extend the trot, and hand gallop. Just after the canter was called for, and Louie had a beautiful canter depart, my stirrup slid off the bar. Luckily in breed shows, time outs are allowed, so we used ours, Bjorn jumped over the fence into the 4" deep mud and came to help me re-attach my stirrup leather. Then we continued on, and had another great canter depart. Then they called for the hand gallop. That was awesome, I guess I had forgotten that we would be asked to hand gallop in the show ring, but man was it fun! Louie didn't go too terribly fast, but as soon as I got up into two point he picked it up like he knew just what to do. Weeeeeee!!
He was a little antsy going the second way, anticipating the canter, but he waited long enough, they don't ask horses to walk terribly long in the Saddlebred show ring, so it was okay. Overall, we had a pretty good second ride, enough for first place (out of two). What a proud moment for an amateur owner trainer, we had 2 good rides, and got some beautiful photos out of it. To top it off, we won all of our entry fees back with our ribbons (gotta love payback!).
I am in the decision process as to which photo(s) to purchase, but here are some links to the proofs that I like most:
First Class- trot
I look silly, but Louie looks great here
My husband trying to figure out where to put the ribbon- I explained to the presenter that he has never done this before
Victory Lap- probably my favorite
Overall, it was a fun day. I could not be more proud of my boy!