Woodside Horse Show Recap – Part 2

I signed up for the two walk/trot divisions offered: Walk / Trot Division (flat) and Walk / Trot Cross-Rails division. Each division had two classes: Hunter followed by Equitation. I already discussed my indecision regarding doing these classes since I’d be facing off against kids, but I figured I might as well do them. They’re good exposure for Nilla on behaving at a horse show.

The flat classes were originally scheduled for 1:30 and the jumping classes for 2:30, but, in typical horse show fashion, everything was running behind. Since we were untacked from dressage by 10:30, it was a long wait. We all hung out watching the jumper and hunter rings until a little after 1:00 when they called for the walk flat division to start soon. It was nice to hang out and talk to Fig who used to show and has even shown at Woodside before. I used her as my hunter coach and asked her about what lines I should take, etc.

Since I had so many people with me, it was like having crew. I got to change while they got Nilla all tacked up for me. Then they helped me get into my boots again. When I took Nilla to try to get on her, she freaked out, pulled back and broke her bridle. Thankfully there were some grooms hanging out in the shade down the aisle and one of them got up to stop her. I was borrowing my husband’s spare bridle, which I think we purchased for $20 at a used tack sale years ago just to have an extra. It was in pretty crappy condition, which I noted when I cleaned it Saturday night, but I wasn’t expecting it to break. I couldn’t use my regular bridle since it has colored padding, but the check pieces are plain brown, so I just stole the cheek piece off the unbroken bridle. In hind sight, I should have swapped both out.

We went up to the ring and despite the announcer having said before we went to tack up that they would be starting the walk division soon, they were just starting it then. I took Nilla into the warm up ring, popped her once over the cross rail and considered us done warming up. It was freaking hot and it was walk/trot so we really didn’t need warm up anyway. We returned to watch the walk division, which was made up of a small kid on a pony and an adult riding a horse with a wrap on it’s hind leg (so I’m guessing it wasn’t allowed to do more than walk, but I’m not sure why they came to a show). The little kid won.

We did have a rather hilarious moment with another horse while waiting for the class the start. He was really obsessed with Nilla. And she could not have cared less.

Him: Let me impresse you with my awesome leg movements
Nilla: Let me chew on my bit and ignore you, fool

They finally started the walk/trot division and it was… interesting. There were two small ponies in the class and then two other horses. I kept running up on the ponies because they are tiny and one of them kept slamming on the brakes and even going sideways at one point because there was a cone. We did our best to circle and take the widest path. There was also a speaker blaring 90s pop music right at the edge that we had to ride by, which Nilla did not appreciate. Quite honestly, I don’t think Nilla liked any part of this. And I don’t blame her. She also had her tongue out for the entire class.

This is certainly my definition of a pleasure to ride

Even though she is fully capable of sticking her tongue out with the flash on, it’s a lot easier without one and boy did she take advantage. She also puts her tongue over the bit. One bystander saw her doing it while we were waiting before the class and told me in a very concerned fashion that her tongue was over the bit. Which was a nice thought, if this was a normal horse that maybe might get it stuck and freak out. But Nilla considers this a hobby.

Nilla in the lineup

Despite the tongue action, we got 3rd place (out of 5) for Hunter. We came out briefly to drop off ribbon and then went back in for Equitation. Fig was nice enough to remind me to cut across the arena, not just do small circles to avoid running over the ponies. I haven’t done hunters since college and I couldn’t remember if I was allowed to do that.

When we went back in and were still walking around waiting for everyone to arrive, the judge asked me about Nilla. He seemed curious and was very nice. Since mules aren’t allowed in rated hunter shows, he probably never sees them.

talking to the judge

Unfortunately, once again, most of the pictures were blurry, but here’s one that proves our form wasn’t completely terrible.

Can you spot the error here?

When the announced called our number for 1st place I was honestly shocked. I have never won an equitation class in my life. I wasn’t actually watching the kids so I have no idea how they looked, but I kinda doubt I actually deserved 1st. Still, I was happy.

For the record, my legs are like this because the boots were digging into the back of my knees. I couldn’t raise my stirrups even though I knew I needed to.

The 1st and 3rd places earned us division Champion. The girls from my barn informed me that one of the kids in the class threw a little bit of tantrum at this announcement. And while I feel bad for beating out kids, I do not feel bad for kids who have tantrums in public because they didn’t get their way. Fig told me I had earned the ribbon and the girls from my barn reminded me that I had trained Nilla myself as opposed to the kids riding made horses. It still feels weird to compete against kids though so I think I will stick to only shows that offer adult divisions going forward.

Champion mule is unimpressed

The championship got me a baggie filled with prizes. There was a hoodie that was clearly meant for a child, which I gave to my friend as she’s pretty small. She kept asking me what I was going to pay her for being my groom and I had originally told her $6 as that’s how much cash I had on hand. I gave her the hoodie and told her that was her new payment. I also won a jar of awesome Nay Nation horse treats. They’re the fancy kind that I never buy because I’m a cheapskate. Nilla loved them. After the flat classes, we went and sat in the shade with Nilla and a guy saw me feeding them to her and said he makes them. So cool. That was an awesome prize.

At this point it was about 3pm and the cross-rails class that was supposed to go at 2:30 was still not set up. According to the printed schedule there were 2 people entered into the trot poles division and then 5 entered into the trot cross-rails division. When the dragged the arena, I went to hop on as I figured two entries in ground poles wouldn’t take that long. I figured wrong.

When I was getting on, Nilla threw a fit and broke the other cheek piece. Fig was nice enough to run back to the stables and grab my other bridle so I could replace the cheek piece. But she didn’t really need to run because we didn’t enter the ring for another hour. Apparently there were a bunch of last minute entries into the poles and crossrails division. When they finally finished the poles division, I figured we might actually get to go sometime soon. Once again, I figured wrong.

Fig went up and asked for me and they said we were 9th. And then we stood there and watched about 15 people go. Some people even went twice. Fig went back and forth a million times to ask what was going on. I cannot thank her enough because I was getting ready to quit and go home as it was. If I’d had to get off and walk over to the booth constantly, I would have given up. I kept telling her she could go because I felt bad keeping her from doing something fun with her day or at least getting out of the sun, but she said she wanted to stay and see me go. She was awesome. I really hope I get to ride with her soon.

As an aside, Nilla was also awesome. While we waited… in the baking sun… for nearly an hour… she was very good. She fidgeted a bit and tried to eat Fig’s phone and barge through people, but for the most part, she just stood there. A few times, there were small ponies being schooled in the waiting area. Even though it’s not really a schooling area, they were trotting and cantering around. One of the ponies was circling so close to Nilla’s butt, that she could have kicked it without moving, but she didn’t. She just stood and flicked her tail at flies and ignored all the chaos. This is why my preview post was sandwiched with Nilla is awesome bullets. Because she is. I could not have asked for more. I mean, maybe not breaking the bridle twice, but everything else was great.

From what I could piece together, it seems like people signed up for order of go with a teenager who was put in charge of this. She was playing favorites and letting people do both their hunter and eq rounds before even getting around to me doing one round. I don’t normally show hunters (and don’t think I will be ever again) so I don’t know if this is normal, but it seemed like a pretty terrible way to run things. I ended up not even doing my first round until 4:30, nearly 2 hours late.

Nilla really likes her ears scratched

The main camera was out of memory, so my friend had to switch to using my iPhone. The already pretty crappy quality of the pictures went downhill fast with this change, so I have nothing useful to show from that round. So here’s a picture of her tongue.


When I came out, I hopped off, and went to ask how long before my next round. I figured if it was far in advance I was scratching and going home. I was partially just tired of being there, tired of the heat, tired of watching this obnoxious twat of a child who had two ponies and two saddles that each cost more than any horse I’ve ever owned who kept telling her poor hired groom what to do. I wanted to smack her. I was also getting really concerned about my dog, who just had surgery and I had left at home hours and hours ago thinking I was not going to be gone this long.

We were scheduled to go back in after only two people so I figured I’d just finish it out. I went back, put all my hot gear back on, got on the poor mule, and memorized the next course.

How to Eq (plus tongue)

Nilla was good for both rounds, She basically just trotted around and, as predicted, trotted over the jumps. She occasionally lifted herself into a little jump, but mostly just trotted everything.

I came out of the ring, jumped off, and loosened her girth. I felt bad for the poor mule and she was being very good. We ended up getting 3rd and 4th. I think the 3rd was in Hunter and the 4th in Eq, but honestly I don’t remember. I was just trying to get my ribbons so I could go.

The girls from my barn and Fig took Nilla back to the stall while my friend and I went to get the truck. We brought it over to the stall, loaded everything into it – in the manner of “just throw everything in there, I’ll deal with it later” and then went to get the truck hooked up to the trailer. Fig, graciously offered to walk Nilla over to the trailer so that my friend could come with me instead of walking her and we could hook up faster.

I seriously could not have made it through this day without my crew. I’m really very lucky to have such nice friends.

At this point, Nilla does not really care about showing. She looked around at some stuff, but was mostly unconcerned about the entire thing. Unfortunately, we can’t do rated shows (except for dressage) because mules aren’t allowed. I’m going to focus on improving enough to move up the levels in unrated eventing shows and hopefully do a rated dressage show next year. I may consider doing future schooling shows with A/A classes offered or with jumper classes once we’re capable of cantering jumps, but I really don’t care much for hunter style showing.

17 thoughts on “Woodside Horse Show Recap – Part 2

  1. SheMovedtoTexas

    Congrats on the great placings! For hunters, that is typical. You do your rounds in rotations very close to one another. It can be frustrating at first, but just takes some practice and a little bothering of the gate person sometimes 😉

  2. emma

    congrats on the tricolor!!! sounds like you guys had a really awesome day besides the heat and waiting around (definitely not my favorite either!). also i love your gifs haha. all the waiting and jockeying for position in the order of go can be annoying, but these hunter shows are great for getting mileage, that's for sure!

  3. Figure

    That's more of what I was expecting – this one the riders had to sign up for an order of go (is that typical in most shows?) rather than just coming to the gate and unofficially lining up. The confusion is that they knew we were waiting quite near the gate, kept telling me she was in the order and they were doing it right, but then kept sending folks in for Eq when she'd not done a Hunter round yet (despite telling me that they were doing all the Hunter rounds first). Very baffling.

  4. Olivia

    I could have deal with it, as annoying as it was, if the order had at least stayed the same, but it kept changing and getting longer. The 15 yr old in charge was bragging about changing the order of go the day before because someone annoyed her, so she clearly felt like that was an acceptable practice.

  5. Paola

    s on the great placings, on Nilla being the amazing mule she is, and on being patient enough to stay through the frustration of how disorganized everything was.

  6. TeresaA

    wow, I would have lost my mind with the waiting and disorganization. seriously- dressage is more fun….
    Good for you and Nilla- you both rock. And so do your grooms. Congratulations.

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