Sunday the 4th we went to a “Schooling Horse Trial” at Pine Hill Equestrian Center in Bellville, Texas. Bryn had ridden in this type of event twice before at Pine Hill, but this was her first time to ride our quarter horse Laredo. We’ve had Laredo just over one year, and he’s been in training (”under saddle” as Genna says) for only about eight months. Considering how disastrous his first few weeks of training were, it’s remarkable that Bryn can ride him at all, much less to show him at an event. So Saturday was a big day for everybody.
Gathering for bit check before the dressage test.
It was as cold a day as I can remember suffering through in ages. The problem wasn’t so much the temperature (low 40’s) as it was the wind. That wind just seemed to cut through my shirt and sweatshirt like they weren’t there. Fortunately the sun was strong and warm, and by early afternoon things began to warm up a bit.
Bryn, Summer, and Wendy had driven up on Saturday with Genna, the other DRTA riders, and the horses to help get everything ready. I drove up very early Sunday morning and arrived before 8. I decided it was time to bring Rudy with me, both because she deserved a chance to on a big “adventure” and because I wanted to see how she’d act around all those horses. Rudy handled them pretty well; she acted like they were just really big dogs and ignored them.
The show was not without its misadventures. Poor Bethanie Berger had an especially bad day. She’s one of the more experienced riders, and brought along two horses: Porsche, the big mare I used to ride in my lessons — until Porsche decided she just didn’t like me — and Maverick, a tall rangy gelding. First Porsche refused to go over a jump during the arena jumping test and thus was eliminated. Then during the cross-country event, Bethanie fell when trying to turn Maverick between jumps. They hauled her off in an ambulance, fuming mad at Maverick for zigging when she thought he was going to zag.
Bethanie wasn’t the only one to take a fall. Three other DRTA riders had falls, including Bryn, but none of the other mishaps were as dramatic as Bethanie’s. Bryn rode Laredo beautifully, but he didn’t like something about the last jump of the cross-country course. As Bryn trotted him up to it, he slowed and then stopped; Bryn lost her balance and took a slow fall off the side. The fall meant disqualification, but nevertheless Bryn got right back up on Laredo and took him over the jump.
Bryn was naturally disappointed that, technically speaking, Laredo failed to finish the course, but she knows that he’s just a baby — that’s why he’s in Green as Grass division — and has many very good days ahead of him. And we were happy for the DRTA girls who finished and placed: Madison Longoria and Skyler took first place in their division, and Shelby Salmons riding on Gig ‘Em in her very first show finished fourth.