Back to business. The first day of the show starts tomorrow, with our Intermediaire II class in the afternoon, which meant today was my last chance to school and to do whatever I needed to do to make Midge his best for Thursday.
Fortunately, Midge is ON IT. Whereas yesterday he was tight and a little looky, today we clocked out all the work I needed with a big smile on his Midgey face. Trot half-pass, changes, canter pirouettes (I might have figured those things out! What timing!) and some big ol' piaffe and passage. I didn't want to leave him in the locker room, so we just touched everything, but everything we touched felt good from the start and got better, so huzzah.
I took the chance to walk around with my camera. Lamplight Equestrian Center, if you've never been, is a spectacularly gorgeous facility. Owners Steve Cooper and Kris Allen have poured their heart and soul into this place, from all the things a good horse show should have (ample parking, good footing, safe barns, a plethora of wash stalls and warm-up rings) to the details: covered pavilions for spectators, manicured walkways, lovely mature trees for shade and, even in the worst drought to hit the Midwest since the dustbowl, meticulous and stunning flowerbeds everywhere you look.
The venue is also lucky to be a stone's throw from the bustling town of St. Charles, with oodles of hotels and restaurants. It's a real pity we don't have a venue like this on the East Coast! I apologize for my photos - they were taken as the sun was coming up, which I hoped would make for really pretty light, but instead it just made them dark. Whoops. But find a reason to make the trip to Lamplight at some point in your competition career. You'll see how showing should be done!
We (almost) sailed through the vet jog - Midge started out for two steps of trot fine, then had a look at the flowers at the end and grew 10 feet and made me drag him like a pony. Wonderful. Fortunately he trotted back like the pro that he sometimes is, and everyone seemed to smile at his shenanigans, and best of all we did stop and behave at the end which was, apparently, an unusual occurrence. But we were clear, and all was well, and I didn't fall down and show the world my underwear, which, since I was wearing a dress (a VERY unusual occurrence for me), was a factor.
So it's off to work Thursday at 3:57, fourth in a class of nine. I just want to ride MY test, one where I make all the half-halts and preparations that I know I need to do, ride it MY way. Fingers crossed!