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May 14, 2014

Spring Show Season Has Sprung

Emily Wagner and Willie did their first Grand Prix freestyle together. Photo by Megan Tucholski.

I think I can officially say spring is here…and that means show season is here! I typically really dislike showing, but this year I was just so fed up with winter that I was looking forward to anything that related to warmer weather.

We started the show season at the KCDS May show on May 3-5. Usually we do not take any stallions because, it being in the thick of breeding season, it is not an ideal time to try to show. They tend to think with two brains instead of one, if you catch my drift. However, wanting to keep traveling to a minimum, I decided to try to take WakeUp and hoped he could focus.

The week before the show I was regretting my decision. He had to get collected three times (including Friday morning before we trailered to the show grounds) and he was live covering three mares on the property who could just not get enough of him! They must really think he is something because they would scream to him across the property and one would bang at the gate close to the indoor while we were trying to work!

Needless to say, we did not have the most productive training week. I can’t blame WakeUp—not a lot of stallions live cover mares the day before a show. But at least he paid for the entry fees!

I underestimated my Wakey though! When we got to the show, he put his game face on and went straight to work. I actually think he was happy to have time away from the needy women in his life; he was awesome!

We rode our first piaffe, passage and one tempis in the ring. We did the Developing Grand Prix and received a 70 percent! It still needs some cleaning up but my goal was a nice, relaxed, clean test and Wakey did it.

We rode the Intermediare II on Saturday for another 70 percent. I loved the feeling in our Sunday Intermediare II. I made a mistake in the one tempis but WakeUp was really soft and with me. We finished with a 68.9 percent.  I think it is a great start to the show season and introduction to the Grand Prix level. Possibly the best part: my nightmare of the fake tail falling out in the middle of the test did not come to fruition!

We also brought a couple of the young WakeUp babies out. Wen, a 4-year-old gelding, was a complete rock star with high score of the show, 76.6 percent in Training 3. He also received a 70 percent at first 3!

Mama, with her 4-year-old WakeUp filly, was reserve high point with a 74.8 percent at Training 3. Of course Mama and I had some friendly competition going between the youngsters. I was very proud of Wen but never dreamed he would win it because of a 9 on a stretchy circle, usually our most difficult movement! Horses—they just keep surprising me.

Last but not least, Willie earned his two qualifying scores for the Grand Prix. The piaffe is much stronger this year. We also did our first Grand Prix freestyle! I didn’t like the music, but Erin Boltik insisted that it really made people smile, and it matched Willie. I guess she was right because we got a 69 percent with good comments on the music.

It was a fantastic start to the show season and the summer! I hope everyone else is enjoying theirs.

Blogger Emily Wagner, 25, shows and trains dressage horses out of her family's farm in LaCygne, Kan. Her WakeUp is one of the rising stars of U.S. dressage, having won the 6-year-old national championship in 2011 and winning the Developing Prix St. Georges national championship in 2013. Read all of Emily's blogs.

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