Armed with the knowledge of what went wrong last show and a forecast involving lots of rain trainer and I formulated a plan for the young beast. Trainer rode and jumped him Monday then I did a longer flat Tuesday on my own. Wednesday he had off. Thursday morning trainer schooled him over the show fences then I schooled them in the evening. He got a good report for the morning and was very good for me in the evening as well, much quieter than last show.
Friday morning I got up early and headed out to the barn to get Maestro ready for my trainer to show in the low hunters. He was definitely nervous and strong but between trainer and a stronger bit than last show he got around and had a good learning experience.
Saturday morning I was again up early to get Maestro ready for trainer to show. We had gotten a ton of rain overnight so the rings (and everywhere else) were a mud puddle mess. Maestro marched right around though, acting much more like his normal self. He ended up winning his hunter round on Sunday and being reserve champion in his small division for the weekend.
Throughout the rest of Saturday the rain came and went and I was hoping the timing would work out such that I could avoid getting rained on. We got warmed up for our classes and were standing in line for the ring when the rain started up again. Below is a portion of our warm up course in the rain. We decided to stick with the add stride since he has been strong and I was freaking out a bit about jumping in the mud (falling with your horse really does a number on your fear of footing and mud riding!). The add stride fits in nicely going away from home but takes a bit of work heading towards home, lol.
Maestro was very responsive to my requests and we just struggled a bit with our lead changes in both courses. He was going under powered for the add strides and then I wasn’t pushing him forward so he could get the change. We ended up getting a second on our hunter trip which is really quite good considering our errors and the add strides. I’m guessing we weren’t the only ones struggling in the mud and rain!
Sunday it would just be me showing and while I was tempted to have my trainer do the warm up with him I decided to just go for it. Our warm up trip I planned to just see how he was going and decide on strides as I went. Due to the mud they had created a bending line around a big puddle coming home so the first time I rode that in a 6 instead of the add in 7. If I had been smart I would have stayed in the ring for my next course so he would be awake but I let him come out and got stuck waiting for close to 30 minutes before my next round. Needless to say the pony was not so awake and after being unable to get the strides on the first line away I added all around again. For the last round we decided to just stick with the add stride and clean things up in a few other spots since I wasn’t feeling like I had the push ride in me with the mud. The round was nothing spectacular but Maestro listened and went around quietly.
I think the biggest thing I noticed this show (besides not running away with me, lol) was how much better his gate drift was. He has never had gate drift during regular riding. Last show he was horrendous, even trying to bow out towards the gate in a roll back that was half way across the ring. I do firmly believe that last show some of our issues were soreness involved – whether it be from my saddle or falling with me the weekend before (or both) I’m not sure. Don’t get wrong, he still wants to drift and he still is slow going away and faster coming towards home, but it was more on par of what you could expect from a horse with his level of experience.
I’m kind of hoping to get him to an away show yet this season but we will see if that’s in the cards or not. We certainly have plenty of things to work on together regardless of what we do in the show ring.