Showing at a new facility is always a bit more difficult than showing somewhere you are familiar. Luckily, this weekend I had some familiarity with Galway from schooling there and going when my friends were competing. However, I think I asked “where is ring #” to random people at least a dozen times. It did not help that there was a Dressage show going on at the same time as the horse trial, so there was “ring #2” for the dressage show and a different “ring #2” for the horse trial.
It also did not help that our barn was not on the official map in the show program. Are show programs a thing out west? I don’t think I have ever seen one at another horse trial… Luckily (or unluckily) I got to head over to the facility on Thursday night to set up May’s stall, so I was able to at least find where I was going before the facility was in full show pandemonium.
The horses (all 15 from our barn) were brought over on Friday morning, but I had to work, so I didn’t get there until Friday afternoon. Luckily, I had enough time to take May on a hack and give her some stretchy ride time before our course walk.
Now, May has seen the KY horse park in the weeks leading up to the 5*, so she wasn’t really phased by the BUSTLING atmosphere. There were lots of vendor booths, a bit of construction going on, golf carts, bikes, multiple arenas, lots of tents, food trucks, etc etc all throughout the area surrounding the SJ and Dressage arenas. I think I was more wide eyed than May, but she still seemed to appreciate the chance to look around and check everything out.
Luckily, most people were done showing by this time of day, so we were able to head into one of the warm up arenas. (THE FOOTING IS AMAZING OMG). We had a good walk around, and I gave her the chance to stretch and move out a bit, before we hacked back.
Our Dressage ride time wasn’t until like 11:45 on Saturday, but I was still there before 8AM to check on May, get her set up for the day, and help my trainer and other riders with the first few rides of the day. However, I have a deep, ingrained fear of being late… so I was on my horse by like… 11… for an 11:45 ride. Ugh oh well.
My trainer had a XC ride at the same time, so I figured I was on my own for warmup. Honestly, I had zero issue with that. I know my horse. I know my test. No big deal. To my surprise, my trainer had arranged for the trainer I rode with a few weeks ago to come and warm me up. Very cool.
Even nicer surprise? I was the first rider after a lunch break, so I basically had the whole warm up arena to myself. May warmed up well, but I was still having issues with losing her shoulder in the down transitions. We worked through it a bit, and then into the ring we went!
Stuff not in scores… May whinnying during the warm work… why? since when? But sure… This wouldn’t be the last whinny she would give me all weekend, so I think she might be in heat. Fun!
It was one of the better tests we have had. We lost the connection in a few places, but recovered pretty well. I was especially happy with the 7.0 we got in one of the canter to trot transitions AND the 7.0 I got on my rider score. Overall, we got a 33.6 to stick us tied for 3rd going into XC.