Now that I’ve recovered from a case of the horse show hangover, I think it’s time that I fill y’all in on Dies’s horse show experience this past weekend!
This past weekend Dies and five other horses from the farm trailered into the Conyers International Horse Park for the first show in HJ Fox’s show series. For Dies, this was his first weekend-long show of the year, his second one ever, and his first time at competing at the horse park. With three shows under his belt, Diesel came to this show ready to roll. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my nice camera, so please forgive me for the less than ideal picture quality. I’ve been kicking myself for it!
Our weekend started early Friday afternoon with a pre-show schooling session in the horse park’s covered arena. It was his first time in the covered arena, so naturally, he started off a little tense and on edge. Luckily, my trainer knows just what to do when he gets that way and was able to get his head back in the game with some good ole circles and keeping his feet moving and brain thinking. Once he was able to relax his mind, he really was able to stretch down and give us that floaty movement I love so much. After the flat work was done, she went right in to jumping with him and laid down some really solid courses. He had some great moments and really put in the effort at quite a few of the jumps. I was overall really pleased with how he ended!
DAY 1 | BABY GREEN AND SCHOOLING HUNTER
Since the baby green division was the first division of the day, I was at the barn bright and early in order to have him tacked up and down at the arena to school by 7:00 am. Armed with my handy dandy ringside backpack outfitted with treats, a hard brush, a cooler, and plenty of other goodies, my job as the designated “treat lady” was a-go and I somehow managed to make it to the covered on time. Luckily, we were able to warm up in the covered and stay in the arena when the flat started at 7:45. He flatted decently well, a little on the tense side with a few whinnies, but not bad at all. It definitely wasn’t his best performance to date, but I felt it was solid. He did what she asked of him and managed to hold it together even when he got cut off twice. Despite his good behavior, his ok performance just wasn’t quite good enough to ribbon. However, I was pleased with how well he handled himself, so he got some snuggles and a few treats and was raring to go out and jump.
Unfortunately for us, the show decided to scratch warmups due to class size, so our first course wasn’t what we had hoped. My trainer ended up asking him for the add steps to keep him composed and start his day off right, so of course, he didn’t place in that class as that resulted in a few trot steps and the undesirable step. However, she did end up asking for and nailing the full horse strides for his second course, which ended up looking beautiful. He put in some good effort over the jumps and really handled himself well even with kids running around outside of the ring. He ended up receiving a fourth place ribbon for this course out of 18 horses, so I was over the moon with that!
We ended up also entering him into the schooling hunter to get a few more courses under our belt since we ended up not getting to do the warm-up. His good behavior followed him to this division as well and he ended up putting in some really solid rounds. Unfortunately, due to a large number of entries and varying experience levels, neither of his rounds placed. His courses just aren’t quite polished enough to be competitive with the veteran competitors yet, and that is perfectly ok! We ended up not getting to do flat due to conflicting ring schedules, which was perfectly fine with Dies. He got to finish the day with lots of treats, snuggles, hay, and plenty of hand walking field trips. Overall, it was a great day! He rode wonderfully for my trainer and behaved like a gentleman in-hand. Any day with good behavior is a good day!
DAY 2 | BABY GREEN CHAMPION
Like the day before, the day started with an early start time of 6:15 for me, which meant I was out the door at 5:30 this morning. That was not such an easy feat with the dreary weather. Unfortunately for us, it was going to be a very wet and nasty day. Once at the barn, I brushed out all of the shavings from his mane and tail, tacked him up, and threw his waterproof sheet over him and trekked it down to the covered in the pouring rain to make it there on time at 7:00 am. With the rain pounding on the covered arena’s roof, earplugs were a must since Dies has a tendency to get distracted really easily. The only minor bump in the road was that we could only find one earplug, so Dies ended up only being half “deaf”. 😂
Despite the nasty weather and one earplug, Dies came out ready to roll and dominate the flat. You could instantly see the difference in his movement from the day before as he was so much more relaxed and supple. He still wasn’t as relaxed as he can be, but it was a definite improvement from how he has been at shows so far. Since he was more relaxed, my trainer was really able to show off his heavenly floaty trot and get him back on his hocks for the canter. I believe that it was one of his best flat classes at a show so far, and the judge seemed to agree as he won the flat out of 14 horses. I was such a proud mom! As soon as he saw me at the gate, he came right over for his bounty of treats and pats. He knew he was a good boy!
Like the flat, he came out in it to win it over fences. My trainer ended up asking for full horse strides in both of his courses since he won the flat and it definitely paid off. Both of his courses were really, really good. He put in some great efforts to the jumps and was so calm and collected throughout the course. I believe that his two hunter courses are some of the best courses he has ever done as he looked so relaxed and focused. My trainer even commented that at times he felt so round over the jumps that it felt like she was in a 3′ class haha! We were so, so pleased with how he jumped! Once he was finished with his courses, he gots lots of yummy Stud Muffins, pats, and snuggles. We decided that he would be done for the weekend since he was such a good nugget.
After cooling him out and putting him away, I made the walk down to the arena in the pouring rain to find out his placings for both of his courses. I was absolutely over the moon to find out that he had won second place for both of his hunter rounds making him the baby green champion for the day! I actually teared up when I heard – no lie.
This is such a huge milestone for him as it was his first time ever championing in a division! It really goes to show just how much he has improved over fences these last few months. It makes me so happy to see him succeed with my trainer in the irons as you can just see how much confidence she gives him – she always brings out the best in him. I hope that I will be able to give that to him too one day.
He is going to get some well-deserved time off for the next days in order to recoup after such a stellar weekend. After all, it is absolutely exhausting being a good boy! I am hoping that since it is spring break for me, I will be able to sneak in a few flat rides once he recoups! I’m ready to get down to business!