Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2024

Williamston, Day 2

I'm not sure what I did in a previous life to deserve the horses I've got, but it must have been awfully good.

My day started with Ella, who was a bit of a nutter yesterday. Today, she said, “Oh, right, be a rockstar dressage horse. Sorry. OK!” And said YES! to every question I asked of her—half-pass left, nice corners right, ones, canter pirouettes, and passage-piaffe-passage.

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I’m not sure what I did in a previous life to deserve the horses I’ve got, but it must have been awfully good.

My day started with Ella, who was a bit of a nutter yesterday. Today, she said, “Oh, right, be a rockstar dressage horse. Sorry. OK!” And said YES! to every question I asked of her—half-pass left, nice corners right, ones, canter pirouettes, and passage-piaffe-passage.

We only worked about 20 minutes—I want to save my best horse for tomorrow—but what a 20 minutes! Please, please, please, let me have at least half of what I got today during my test tomorrow. She was tight, of course, but the productive tight—as good as she can be at this point in her physical and mental development. Hoorah!

Next up was my student Mel, who rides an opinionated little warmblood mare. Mel had one little brainfart mid-test, but she recovered well and really belted it out in her canter to score a 63 percent and qualify for the BLM Championships.

Fender was next, and he felt like a bit of a squirrel warming up, but he stayed relatively obedient and focused. We went around the ring, and I was just starting to think, “Whew, maybe we’ll get through this,” when the judge honked her car horn for us to start the test… when we were only about 15 feet away.

KaBLOWIE! Off we went. Fortunately Fender’s explosions are pretty civilized, and I galloped his little brown ass down the long side without dramatics, but the rest of the test suffered. He did, however, stay in the arena and execute every movement in the order in which it came, and he even started to settle by the end—our canter-trot transitions still require a little divine intervention, but he tried hard to answer the second one. He ended up second with a 66.9 percent and very encouraging judge’s comments.

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I didn’t get to see Mel’s second test, because she and I rode on top of each other, and with a nasty weather front moving in and Midge being in rare Red Dutch Horse Form, he required all of my attention. But she knocked it out of the park for a 65.9 percent, a new record for her. Huzzah!

And then Midge. Oh, Midge. I left Midge extra warm-up time with the bad weather, and given his enthusiasm for the task at hand yesterday. And even after 45 minutes, most of which spent in motion, he still really thought the application of my right leg was animal cruelty. And so, with his neck about two inches long, we went around for the test.

And he got shorter.

And shorter.

And wilder.

And just when I thought things were looking pretty dire, a group of people got up in the stands and started moving around, directly on my line of travel.

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And I rode my ass off. I worked every corner, presented every short side. I bought, cheated and stole every point I could scrounge. And thank the lord for Nicole, my wonderful working student, because at least Midge’s braids and tail looked spectacular. In the end, I cracked up. What do you do? That’s my Midge. We did have a few nice moments, but they were dramatically overwhelmed by the general psychosis.

So when Scott stopped me on my way to pick up my test and told me he’d heard my score announced as a 70-something, I thought he was pulling my leg. Yeah, right.

70.9 percent. First place.

SWEET.

So now it’s off to dinner, where we will drink to the optimism of dressage judges, and the seductive powers of a certain chestnut Dutch horse. If tomorrow goes half as well, I’ll be tickled pink.

LaurenSprieser.com
Sprieser Sporthorse

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