Great Plains Dressage Show

On Saturday, I accompanied Richal, her sister H., and Audrey to a recognized dressage show hosted by the Great Plains Chapter of the Oklahoma Dressage Society. Richal and her sister were competed; Audrey and I were acting as grooms.

It was a fun time, especially since they had late ride times- that meant we got to leave the barn at 10 AM. That’s way better than the crack of dawn! The drive to the show grounds in Stillwater took about two hours; it was an uneventful trip except for H.’s horse Woody inexplicably falling down in the trailer. (How he did this, we don’t know, as he was tied up in a slant load.)

We unloaded at the show grounds and set up our area and got to work. Audrey’s an amazing braider and quickly started on Woody, who was throwing his head around like a total doofus.

Woody getting his hair did.
MOAR COOKIEZ PLZ

After braiding, it was off to warm up. It had rained most of the previous night and morning; the warm up was in a big outdoor arena that was absolutely flooded. Richal and H. warmed up in schooling pads and schooling breeches (in H.’s case, sweatpants over her white breeches). 

Woody and H. in the slop.
Richal and Diamante working that trot. 
Audrey and I spent half an hour scrubbing the horses’ legs, girths, and bridles clean while Richal and H. changed in to show gear. Then it was off for their First Level tests.

Woody knows how to halt at X. Good job, Woody!

Both horses (and riders) put in lovely tests with quiet transitions, soft acceptance of contact, and good lateral work. H. scored a very respectable 67% for a first place in the amateur division. I can’t recall Richal’s score, but it was good enough to merit a second place in the open division. 

We had a bit of a break until their Training Level tests, so we sat around and ate snacks and gossiped about who’s riding what and how that’s going. The show was running a little ahead of schedule (thank god for small mercies), so both Richal and H. were off their horses by 6 PM. 
Good trotting, Diamonte! 

On the Training Level test, Woody didn’t have much gas left in the tank (I guess it was falling down in the trailer, spazzing out while being braiding, and doing First Level) and didn’t score particularly well, but Diamante was excellent, scoring a 66% and winning the open division. 

We loaded up the horses, grabbed some Taco Bueno, and got back to the barn around 10 PM. I was exhausted (even though I didn’t feel like I’d done anything) and slept like the dead once I got home.
 Richal, H., and Audrey aren’t bad for a bunch of dressage queens, but I gotta say that dressage shows are way less exciting than the dressage phase of an event. I mean, I didn’t even see a horse jump out of the warm up ring once! Disappointing.

A week of firsts for Carson

First, thank you to everyone who’s chimed in with advice and opinions on the wedding posts! It’s helpful to have so many perspectives!

Onto the fun stuff:

Tuesday, I was itching for something to do, so I headed out to Richal’s barn and immediately set up $900 Facebook Pony‘s zigzag jumping exercise. I set the two end jumps as small crossrails, the middle two jumps as ~2’3 verticals, and had some barrels as standalone jumps off to the sides of the zigzag.

I tacked up Carson, who was much more motivated to move forward in the outdoor arena. He’s a big, heavy boned, warmblood-type Thoroughbred and is a much different ride from nimble, speedy Moe or dainty Gina. Carson feels powerful. His turning radius is approximately equivalent to that of a Mack truck, so the rollbacks were difficult for us. However, he was very eager and willing to go- that’s never a bad quality!

I convinced his owner to get on him and pop him over some fences- she is a dressage rider for sure, but she’s a good sport (and good rider) and put Carson through the exercise with very little trouble. After she’d gotten him through a few times, I raised one of the verticals to a solid 3′. I told her if she kept her leg on and kept him straight, he’d sail over it without a problem. On the first approach, Carson ducked out to the left, but his owner admitted she hadn’t been very committed to going over. On her next approach, she was much more confident in where she was going, and he stepped over it like an old pro!

Just jumping like a good event horse should.

I was absolutely tickled that he had zero qualms about going over, as he’d never been asked to jump anything bigger than about 2′ until a month ago.

Yesterday, Richal invited me to go on a trail ride at a nearby lake with her, Carson’s owner, and a couple of her eventing friends. We arrived at the lake just after noon, ate a quick lunch, and headed out on the trail around 1 PM.

I was on Carson, who’d never been on a trail in his life. He was curious without being spooky and fearlessly led the way for the first half mile or so. I was relaxed and had him on a loose rein while I turned around and chatted with one of the eventers about foxhunting. All of a sudden, he gave a mighty snort, leaped straight up, and somehow teleported sideways. I fell off in total surprise while Carson trotted down the trail. He was eventually chased down (apparently, he just kept trotting along as if he had some destination in mind), but not before he destroyed his reins. One of the eventers offered her curb rein, so I was back in action before long. 
The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful- Carson got belly-deep in the lake (on his first time encountering water!), he didn’t mind when the other horses crowded around him, he was content to trot along the trail when everyone else was trotting, and he plodded over rocks, fallen trees, and plowed through branches, sticks, and vines.
Bringing up the rear on the road.

Riding along the lakeshore.

Playing in the water with his pals Diamante and Andy.
Left to right: new friends Linda & Rio, me & Carson, Richal & Diamante,
Audrey (Carson’s owner) & Andy
Map of the ride from the GPS tracker app.

It was definitely a fun time and I was happy to meet some more eventers! (I was beginning to think they didn’t exist here.) I’m proud of Carson- from jumping big jumps to handling the trail, he was a superstar this week. Onto cross country next week (hopefully)!

Viva Carlos Blog Hop: Stalker

L. Williams and Thad the Unicorn at Viva Carlos asks: What equestrian blogger out there do you really want to meet?

L. implores us to only choose 5, but I can’t. How could I? I read so many interesting and funny blogs that I’d love to meet each and every one of you! I’d invite you all to my annual Derby party! We could all go on a trail ride at one of Green Country’s lakes or state parks! We could drink margaritas and eat chips and salsa at my favorite Mexican restaurant! 
The blogs I regularly read are listed under the “Friends” heading at the top of my blog; if you’re on that list, consider this an invitation to visit me in Tulsa any time! I think of you all as friends already- the equestrian blogging community is supportive, hilarious, knowledgeable, and full of diverse personalities. You’re exactly the kind of people I like to hang out with.
If you can’t make it to Tulsa, we can always be internet friends via the social medias. I’m on:
You can also email me at stejpeck(at)gmail.com! 

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