Last year, I went to this show and it was ok, HOT and humid and had 2 blowouts within 5 miles of each other on the DC Beltway. This year, the weather was lovely. My bad tire Karma continues.
The tire story first. Friday night, after I’d delayed my departure to make sure all my truck and trailer tires were in good working order, I got to the show, and parked/unhooked the trailer, did the stuff below and headed over to my friend’s house…and about a mile from the show grounds, I hear this loud clank/bang and a funky feel, look in my rearview and see cars swerving all over to avoid a large obstacle in the road. There was no large obstacle when I just passed…holy shit, that large obstacle was my spare tire!!! The cable that holds the spare under the truck snapped. Thankfully this did not happen on the beltway or I-66 and it did not happen when my trailer was attached and nobody in those cars was injured, nor did any accidents occur due to the tire. I stopped, waited for a break in traffic, and backed up in the shoulder to my tire. Then I pondered lifting the full size truck tire into the bed of the truck. The disgusting, black, covered in 9 years of diesel soot, 80 lb full size truck tire. I pondered it for about a minute, wistfully hoping for a kind, big, well muscled good samaritan, but sadly, it was on me to lift that damn thing into the bed. A fair amount of diesel soot was transferred to my skin and clothes.
Back to the show part, I got there Friday night and was scheduled for all 3 of my second level tests in ring 5. Ring 5 was absolutely unacceptable for a licensed show. It was the side of the track that had not been used in years, the footing was dead, hard, and there was grass growing on one side. My first thought was “I’m glad I’ve got Bali here, she’s tough and won’t care so much”, then I realized this was a licensed show, you pay a premium for a licensed show for a reason…you are allowed to have expectations! The ring was set as a 20mx40m for Intro tests, but they were going to make it 20mx60m for later tests. Rings 1-4 were all fine, normal rings. I saw the Technical Delegate and complained about that ring. Everyone complained. If that is the “best” you can do, stick to 4 rings and reject entries.
But, my friend who does a lot with PVDA (and is a dressage show veteran) walked by on Saturday morning and I whined to her and she took me up to find out if there were any scratches in other rings…ah-ha! There was, I was able to get into Ring 2 for 2-3 on Saturday. Then, that evening I went to look again and found a Second Level Test 2 scratch in Ring 4 for Sunday and I did a scratch/add from 2-3 to 2-2. That means I only had to ride in the crappy ring for one test (we did get 2nd place in that class). So, my good cheer was much better at only having a bad ring for 1/3 of my rides.
I was a bit rushed for my new ring on Saturday for 2-3. I think we could have broken 60 with a few more minutes of warm up and without the error. I had a bonus 10m canter circle, which did not give bonus points, but took off the standard -2 for an error. which is .5%. An extra bit of warm up could have gotten me another couple of points I think. We had a 58.333%.
I did not have long between tests, so I headed over to awful, Ring 5, and got ready for 2-1. No errors, the bad footing did not help, the hill made one 10m canter circle a bit large, but a 60.285 from a judge who Lauren says is quite tough.
That was it for Saturday, my scratch/add moved me up to a 8:28 ride time in ring 4, for 2-2, but I had to cram for 2-2. I wanted to get Bali out of the stall again Saturday night, so I put on a trial Trilogy Saddle and went over to walk the pattern. I neglected to put on stirrups, spurs, or carry a whip, so it was truly pattern riding. The saddle was pretty nice, but I did not suddenly ride like Debbie McDonald, even if I was in a saddle with her name! It was comfy and it can stay on the short list for when I do splurge on a saddle for Bali.
Sunday, I got up early to get Bali fed and braided and have time for a warm up. Our best score yet! A 61.579! Yay Bali. We got a 5th place ribbon for that. There will be videos of 2-3 and 2-2. Nobody was manning the camera for my 2-1 test…in the terrible ring.
All in all, a good weekend. It was fun to see friends and cheer them on, help out, read tests and watch really nice horses and riders. And, I won a shawl in the silent auction. Gorgeous, knit shawl.