We took the ponies to the RDLA Horse Trials this weekend. One of the ponies was amazing and one of them was an asshole. I’m sure regular readers can guess which was which. My husband entered Eugene in the Intro Combined Test, so they did Intro B and then the 18″ jumping division. Our main goal was for Eugene to have a positive outing at his first show.
The Intro division was first and we wanted to get to the show early so Eugene could have time to see all the scary new things before his test. We ended up getting there an hour early and we were the first ones there. Plenty of time to park in a shady spot, groom, tack up, and even braid before walking around the dressage arena and then over to the indoor warmup. Poor pony was bug-eyed about everything. My husband hand-walked him to the mirrors since he’s never seen them before. He was snorty and concerned, but no outright freak-outs.
They ran through their test a few times while I stood around holding Nilla as she couldn’t be left alone at the trailer because she loves Eugene and will die without him. Ugh.
We went back over to the dressage arena shortly before the test to give Eugene a chance to walk by the judging booth and see the spectators before he went in. And then it was time to start and Eugene decided to do his best giraffe impersonation. Seriously, every time I thought his head could not get any higher, he proved me wrong.
Outside of the giraffing, he was such a good boy. No active spooking at anything, didn’t break gaits, was straight with steady pace, and bending around his turns.
I especially love his final halt. He’s completely square and standing dead still. But his head is basically as high as he can get it. Because there might be dressage dragons.
Their score was 34.1, which was also first place because no one else entered the Intro CT. Eugene was so good he even stood tied at the trailer while I did my warm up with Nilla. Nilla was distracted and braying for her boyfriend, but he never made a peep.
We had a bit of a break before show jumping. Everyone else who was doing jumping was late getting back from the lunch break, so my husband ended up having the warm up arena to himself. It made for an easy warm-up though it does mean he’ll have to learn to deal with a hectic warm-up at another show.
Can we pause here to admire how well this mustang cleans up? He looks like a proper show pony.
Anyway, once they were warmed up, the judge offered to let my husband get his rounds done since no one else was in his division there was no reason to wait around for everyone else. It was a very forgiving course. Almost all cross-rails and easy lines. When I did Intro here a year ago, there were brick walls, picket fences, and other filled jumps. This year’s course was a lot easier. And given we’ve been practicing with fill, he was really rather over-prepared.
They went in, trotted around a bit, and headed into the course. The plan was to trot everything unless he landed in a canter in one of the lines and wanted to keep cantering. Eugene was so good. He actually seemed to finally figure out the whole jumping thing.
As a schooling show, they allow you to do the course twice if you want to. Whichever is your better round counts. For the second one, I told my husband to try more canter jumps since he’d already gone clear. Since we’ve done almost no cantering jumps practice, Eugene was a bit more squirrelly and took some awkward spots. He even knocked the #4 cross-rail jump down. I didn’t see it until I was looking at the pictures, but he had such a bad take-off spot, his hind leg was actually inside the ground pole:
However, he was forward, engaged and, popped over every jump. And most of them looked great.
As the only ones in their division, they came in 1st. My husband didn’t even bother to collect his ribbon even though I told him he should. My husband was so, so happy with Eugene’s performance. This horse was only started in December and prior to that he was a completely unhandled Mustang. In 8 months he’s gone from that to completing his first eventing show.