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UMaine Spring Fling - April 25, 2010

The full story is here now! :)

We did quite well for our first show of the year! Here are the results...

1st Adult 3-Gait Equitation
(only STB in the class!)
1st Adult 3-Gait Pleasure
(only STB in the class!)
1st Showmanship
1st 2' Hunter Equitation
(only STB in the class!)
2nd Standardbred In-Hand
4th 18" Hunter Equitation
4th 3-Gait Command Class
( only STB in the class! And I fell off....more on THAT later....LOL!)

My adult riding classes had about 10 riders and I was so happy Dreamy did so well! :) The in-hand and showmanship classes were HUGE! There were 20+ horses in there! And my jumping classes had around 7 riders. So I am very happy with my girl!

More pics to come, as I am waiting for a UMaine student to send some to me.

So, the rest of the story...

My friend ST and I decided at the last minute to attend this show. We talked about it, but decided to wait to see what the weather would be like. Orono is 3 hours away, and it did not seem like a fun idea to go all the way up there in the pouring rain! LOL!

I ended up having to wake up at 3AM on Sunday. THAT was fun.......yeah right! I am NOT a morning person and the only reason I would drag my sorry butt out of bed that early is for a horse. LOL! I immediately fed the horses, who wear totally confused. Sparky and Dreamy got over it pretty quickly. Reva was cute though. She was lying down in her stall and really acted like she rather sleep than get up. She gave me a very surprised HUH? and lumbered to her feet. The entire time I was out there, she kept looking at me, and it was like I could hear her thoughts. "Hi Mom, do you know it is reallllly early? I am not really awake Mom." (her eyes stayed "squinty" for a while) "Hmmm...but this hay is really good....nom nom nom. But is is early Mom!" So funny. I went inside and took a shower, not that I needed one, but I was so groggy I needed it to wake me up. I was all dressed and ready to go earlier than I thought, so I went out to clean out my stalls. It was 3:40 in the morning and I was cleaning my stalls!!!! LOL! That is the middle of the damn night!

My plan was to leave by 4:10 and I was rolling down the driveway at 4:15. It takes about 50 minutes to get to ST's farm, but I also knew there would be NO traffic that early on a Sunday (and I was right, as I saw only seven cars). It took no time to load my stuff into ST's trailer, load Dreamy, and we were off. The funniest part was when Dreamy realized she was about to get onto the trailer with ST's gelding McKeever! They are completely in love and have not seen each other since last October. She was sort of grumpy at me, especially since she had eaten her breakfast so early and loaded on a trailer before she normally even gets up! LOL! She started nickering and walked herself right onto ST's trailer. :)

The ride up to the University of Maine campus at Orono was uneventful and we arrived, registered, and scurried around to be ready for Class #1 Standardbred In-Hand which would start at 9AM.

We got an announcement that the show would start at 9:10AM. OK.......we walked the horses around and waited. It never started until 9:45AM! ACK! I guess the Maine Animal Club kids running the show were not prepared for the number of entries (and really lacked organization all day long....) so they were overwhelmed. OK.....Dreamy would either be asleep in the classes or completely PO'ed and naughty.

We placed second in STB In-Hand, which was cool. It had a lot of entries, most of them from the UMare herd. Next was Open In-Hand, which was even larger. My friend ST and her Standardbred gelding placed, but we did not. It seemed weird to not place in what was essentially the same class as before, but oh well. :) They split the Open In-Hand class into juniors and seniors, which was nice. But the weird thing was they only placed to fourth place....??? I did not really care so much, but it seemed sad in the smaller junior in-hand classes when there were five kids....one had to leave with nothing. Not that I think everyone deserves to win, but the little kids should get a least a little something. :( Then in Showmanship, the class was still pretty big. I was super surprised then to place first in Showmanship! I hate in-hand classes! LOL! But Dreamy was very well behaved, actually rather bored.

Here we are in our STB In-Hand Class...walking up to the judge (just out of the pic) to stand up and then trot down the long side.

And here we are posing with our in-hand and showmanship ribbons! Dreamy was SO bored having to wait and wait and wait in the halter classes. LOL! She looks thoroughly unimpressed here!

One of the large in-hand classes...not sure which one. We are second in from the right.

We did not have much of a break between the three in-hand classes and the riding classes. I went straight to the trailer to tack Dreamy up. I warmed her up briefly for the class and was happy to get a decent canter from her in both directions. I knew that there would be no chance for us to place in the top four in our equitation and pleasure classes.....they were walk/trot/canter and Dreamy would have a "abnormal" looking canter compared to the nice horses I saw who were in our class. Most of them were UMaine students on their own horses.....lots of TBs, QHs, and warmbloods.

Sadly, the warm up area was really rocky and rutted. I was not really impressed. And the ring was INCREDIBLY rocky! You cannot really tell from the pics, but the ring had large 2-4 inch rocks throughout it! I was a little worried.....but she seemed to be fine.....until our last class. (More on that later). My opinion is that UMaine needs to fix up some things...I won't write a laundry list here (but I did send a nice email to the Maine Animal Club president about a few of the things, and he was very pleased to have the feedback). I am not bashing the school (though I might be a UNH Wildcat....LOL) and it is not sour grapes as I did very well at the show. And I am sure most of it is because of budget constraints...hey I work in public education and I understand. But some of the things are true safety hazards!!!!! But I digress...

More photos here!

Our first riding class was Adult 3-Gait Equitation. Dreamy was very relaxed and got her leads with no issue. She got a little flat in the right lead canter, but did not rush and we really did not lap everyone in the ring! LOL! I was SO surprised to be announced as the first place winner! Yay!

Next came Adult 3-Gait Pleasure. Despite doing well in Eq, I knew our canter was not as nice as some of the other horses. I had no expectations for pinning, just wanted to have a nice ride. But again, Dreamy was well behaved and steady. And I have to say, putting a nice genuine smile on my face in pleasure classes has GOT TO HELP! Judges are looking for a horse who looks like a nice ride, and heck, if I am truly happy looking, I must be having fun, right? ;-) I usually think about how much I love my horse and how lucky I am to be showing, and the smile comes easy. I try not to be cheesy.....LOL!

And again, I was surprised to be first! Yay mare! Maybe I really do have a hunter on my hands....LOL!

We had a break, but not for long. The judge did a good job keeping things running smoothly. We had a 20 minutes lunch break, then a costume class, then we jumped. So ST and I ate a quick lunch there at the food booth and gave our horses a well deserved rest, hay, and water. The sun had been trying to come out all day, but it was mostly overcast and a little windy. It was not really cold, but not really warm either. The horses never broke a sweat, which was nice.

Back down to the ring to jump! First we did the 18" hunter equitation. The weird thing was they did tiny verticals instead of crossrails? No big deal, but most 18" courses are really tiny. And there were 6 fences in the 18" but only five in the 2" division? Ummmm, OK. (Again, students who have no real clue planned this show....oh well). The funniest part was when my friend ST jumped the 18" course...they had a knockdown and no one went out to pick it up. She was supposed to come around and jump that same fence again in the other direction. I finally yelled across the ring, "Someone needs to pick up that fence because she needs to jump it again!" No one moved!!!!! And everyone near me gave me dirty looks! Good lord! Finally the student announcer got out there in the nick of time.......oh my. :(

We had an OK round in the 18" jumps...the only thing was I thought the combination was set at about a two stride distance, which was a guess since I did not walk it, but as I watched people go before me, I realized it was actually more like 2.5 strides!!!!!!! OMG serious safety problem! I am confident in adjusting my horse's stride, and with the fences so low, I was not too worried. But for the young riders who cantered in? That is just completely haphazard and asking for a lawsuit! It dawned on me that when the set it up, no one measured it! I figured someone must have just walked it out, but they couldn't have! (Or if they did, they had no idea what they were doing.......grrrr).

So we had a small chip into the second fence of the combination. DUH! We ended up fourth, which was pleased with. I know my equitation is not great, and with so many UMaine riders who supposedly take jumping lessons and compete on the intercollegiate team, I was not expecting much!

I rode the 2' course much more conservatively and got three tiny canter strides between the combination that was set up so unsafely. :( The course rode OK and with only five fences, it was easier than the 18'!!! I heard them announce 4th, 3rd, 2nd....and I was like "Crap! I had a nice round...." I was still surprised to get first! LOL! But that was cool!

Our last class of the day was Adult 3-Gait Command. The class started off well, and we ended up being part of the last five still riding. I was thinking, "Just stay in while one more rider has to go to the center and you will get a ribbon!" No sooner did I think that, going along in a nice canter, and my lovely mare tripped. I am 100% convinced she tripped on one of the big honking ROCKS in the ring, and she just went down in a heap. As we were cantering, and suddenly stopped short, I was bounced off over her right shoulder. I landed on my left shoulder first (OUCH!) and I remember yelling the word, "SH!T". Yeah, great. I am so classy at horse shows! :P

I tried to get up and saw Dreamy halfheartedly trotting away, the reins around her right front leg. I knew immediately that I was not able to walk on my left ankle and my left shoulder was in searing pain. The darkness started to close in and I knew I would faint. I got to the rail but there was no way to get out of the four rail fence unless I climbed it. YEAH RIGHT. So someone told me to roll under the lowest board. I remember saying, "Seriously??" But I also knew I had to get out of the ring and get someone to help me not pass out. All I could do was ask about my horse. I started getting weepy because I just wanted to check my horse and I could feel my body starting to shut down. I hate passing out. And this was no dust-yourself-off-and-get-back-on kind of fall. I had hurt myself!

The EMTs had not arrived yet (they were parked up by the barn) and someones dad came right over and had me lie back and he raised my legs. Suddenly, I was no longer about to pass out. I was so thankful! There were many people around me and suddenly there was ST too. I cannot really remember the order of things, but the EMTs had me move everything and they examined me. Within a few minutes I felt much better, though my shoulder pain was horrible. They put my arm in a sling and my ankle in a splint. The judge handed me a fourth place ribbon....seriously? How did I place if I fell off???? Shouldn't I have been disqualified? Whatever......at that point I was not questioning the poor organization of the show. I just wanted to check my horse and get home.

Because there did not seem to be any broken bones (though the EMTs recommended I get x-rayed) and we were three hours from home, ST and I decided to head home. We figured it would be better to just get as close to home as we could, as it was about 5PM when we rolled out of there. I felt good, just very very sore. By the time we got to ST's farm, my arm felt 95% better and my ankle was killing me. Dreamy seemed fine, thankfully. We had many many helpful friends who not only assisted me, but also helped ST get the horses loaded and ready to go home. I am so thankful to everyone who helped and has continued to check in with me. I think it looked a lot worse than it really actually is! LOL!

I had x-rays on Monday morning and nothing is broken. My ankle is just sprained, so I am wearing an air cast. There is some swelling and a tiny bit of bruising. I really thought the entire thing would be purple! Today is Wednesday and I am already feeling 95% better. I still have a little stiffness in my shoulder, but I can put my weight on my ankle again and walk almost normal. It is still a bit swollen, but that will go away.

What an exciting show! The worst part was telling my parents. LOL! They worry about me too much. And seeing as I have not fallen off since 1996, when I was 17 years old, this was a pretty big deal! LOL! And I have never been injured in a fall, just had a bit of soreness or stiffness.

I guess I just ain't as young as I used to be.....ROFL! :D

All in all, it was fun! Not sure if I would show there again, not because I did not enjoy it, but with the rocky riding areas and dangerous jump courses, it may not have been the safest show I have ever done.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Good deal - you guys did great!
Great job on your showing! Pictures of your lovely girl please! :)
LiveToFly said…
Wow!! Great Job!! Sounds like you and Dreamy had a great time :))
AareneX said…
congratulations! Your hard work with Dreamy is really paying off--she looks so elegant these days.
Laura said…
You guys did great for your first show! Any pictures?
STB Eventer said…
Thanks guys! Pics are coming! :)

@Laura - It was not our first show, just the first of 2010. :)