I wanted to do a schooling show to see how well Nilla and Shasta would handle showing. We chose the Garrod Farms show because it’s really close to our barn. We can actually ride to Garrod although it’s a long ride and we did not do that for this show. The farm offers a Buckle Series. If you attend 3 out of 4 shows and have the most points, you get a buckle. Unfortunately, I know in advance that we cannot attend all of the shows because of vacation plans, but I still figured we could get to this one as a nice introduction to showing.
The english part of the show didn’t start until noon, so we actually got to sleep in a little bit in the morning. We did get up and get over to the barn around 9 to start braiding and cleaning them up. We’re not allowed to bathe because of the drought, but I did hand wash Shasta’s white sock and cleaned up Nilla’s back legs.
Nilla’s tail was a bit difficult to braid since she has rubbed out the top half of her tail while on the trailer, but it ended up looking okay. Not great, but better than I was expecting honestly.
We got to the show early so that we’d have time to check in and let the ponies chill out and calm down a bit. We ended up having a bit too much time, but I’m glad we got there early. Especially as my husband forgot his boots and chaps and had to go back to our barn for them.
We finally got on and warmed up in the small arena near the trailer parking before going up to the main show arena. I was entered in the three Walk/Trot classes. The first one was Walk/Trot Equitation over poles and the course/pattern was intensely easy.
I was also the only person entered in the class. So I got a blue ribbon, but that doesn’t really mean much. The judge did come up to me and talk to me a bit before awarding the ribbon. She said Nilla looked great and asked if we normally jumped because Nilla looked bored with the poles. I said yes, but we don’t canter so we weren’t able to do the classes with actual jumps. The judge also pointed out that I forgot to change my diagonal. I completely forgot to even think of diagonals. So I thanked her. I would have kept messing that up all day. I know how to do them; I just don’t care and never bother.
After my class they had Hunter Hack Novice 12″, which 3 people entered. The first one did the pattern wrong and the other two copied her. The judge actually brought them all over, explained this to them, and told them she wasn’t going to pin the class.
My husband was in the Hunter Hack Open 18″-2′ class and when the judge called him over to tell him the pattern, she asked if he had watched the previous class and he said yes and she told him to pretend he hadn’t. Then she gave him his pattern. He was the only one in that class as well so he also “won.” The judge did talk to him as well and said he had done a great job.
Then I had English Pleasure. I was trying to act English Pleasury, so I sort of let her poke her nose out and just trot around. I did ask for bend, but didn’t ask for on the bit or proper dressage form. There was actually another person in this class. A girl riding saddleseat on a standardbred with big padded shoes and a high step. He was a cute horse, but he was freaking out because the winery chose that moment to start playing live music over the speaker system.
|the tongue makes an appearance
We won English Pleasure as well, which was nice since we won by actually beating someone, not just showing up as the only entry. Although Nilla didn’t care about the music, I did commiserate with the girl afterwards about why they could’t wait another hour to start playing loud music.
My husband’s English Pleasure A/A class had 4 people in it and he got 2nd. He was a little disappointed, but I was excited for him. He wasn’t last and really, Shasta is a jumper, not a hunter and definitely not a pleasure horse. One of the spectators commented that she looked like a “firecracker.” Second is awesome!
My last class was English Equitation, which I went into with really low expectations since my eq sucks. But I did mind my diagonals and tried to keep my hands lower. The other girl’s horse freaked out so badly at one point that he skidded sideways out of the ring knocking over a cone. And yet, she still got first. And I have to admit, I was kind of pissed about that. I was telling myself to grow up and get over it as we were leaving the ring when two different spectators came over to exclaim how I was cheated and it wasn’t fair. While I appreciated this as it made me feel like it wasn’t just me being bitter about not winning, I just smiled and said it was okay. I felt bad since the girl was right behind me. And I think she was either a teenager or young college kid, so she didn’t need to hear all of that.
My husband’s last class was also English Equitation. I lectured him a bit about keeping his hands down, diagonals matter, sit up straight, etc, before he went in and he won. I was really surprised, but I was really excited for him.
The open class went after my husband’s class and then there was a 15 minute break before the Bareback Marathon. It was ride a buck style with $5. Shasta was really good and he kept his bill until almost the end. It was down to just him and the dressage trainer and then he lost his leaping into the canter. The other woman lost hers about 5 seconds later, but he had lost his first so she won and got all the $.
The high point champion awards were announced while we were waiting for the bareback class to start so I went over to get our prizes after the bareback class while my husband held the ponies. We both got pretty tricolor ribbons and laser-etched paperweights. We paused for obligatory pictures with all of the ribbons before heading back to the trailer.
Everyone at the show just loved Nilla. A lot of people kept coming over to meet and pet her. A few people asked if she was for sale (no) and a few said they wanted to get a mule. I love that Nilla is such a great ambassador for mules, but I did warn people that mules are not easy. Most of them aren’t that friendly/fond of strangers either. Nilla is really a rare mule.
We went back to the trailer and my friend visited with a girl she was babysitting. They had planned to come see us in the show, but the whole show went really fast and they were running behind. The afternoon English classes were all done by about 2:00. The little girl got to pet the ponies and wandered around the property looking at the other horses after we left. I got a text later that night saying the girl wants to ask her parents for riding lessons now. I laughed and told my friend the parents will be “so happy” with her.
I had fun at the show. I haven’t been in a show since college and my husband has never been in a show. It was nice to be able to show without needing to buy an entire show outfit. Now that I know how Nilla and Shasta will behave – which is pretty well with a bit of nerves – we can expand out to bigger shows. I already have my eye on a schooling combined test in July.