Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bastian's Rakish Regional Review

It is with both sadness and a huge sense of relaxation that we finish our 2012 Competiton year. I love to show, it focuses me and drives me to ride and we won't be doing any more showing until 2013. At the same time, I have close to three months to relax and get our Second Level act together before we start test driving it again at the Winter Schooling Show series.

USDF Regional Championships for Region 2 was pretty amazing. This was the highest caliber of competition that Bastian and I have faced so far and I have to say that for the majority of it, we held our own. The only place where we didn't was totally my fault, Bastian on the other hand stepped it up and was a joy to ride.


On Wednesday I bundled up the amazing dragon and we were off to Kentucky. He's such a great traveler, I really lucked out on that. The weather was dismal, it was about 48 degrees, rainy and windy, yuck. We pulled into the horse park around 3:30 and moved into our temporary home, Rolex Tent Stabling 2. Bastian was nestled between my tack stall and Shannon's horse Leo, his new best friend. Or maybe he just liked him because he had some delicious hay in haybag and Bastian spent all weekend working his little nose off trying to get first between the bars of his stall and then between the tiny holes of Leo's slow-fee haynet. I lunged him for a good half hour before I got on because it was so cold and he had a bit of a hairy eyeball walking out of his stall. Which was good thing because it was a LONG and SCARY walk from our stabling to the Dressage Complex. We got to walk on the galloping track for the cross country course, which was pretty cool and then we had to make it through the Land of the Paso Finos, which kinda freaked him out too, but he handled it well.

He ended up warming up like a dream and was sooooo fantastic, he was light and fluffy and very responsive to my seat, I couldn't have been happier and I was just hoping I would be able to get the same result tomorrow when we got to show First 3 in the Rolex Arena. I decided to not school in the Rolex arena on Wednesday night because it was CRAZY in there! Horses galloping everywhere and I wanted no part of that craziness.


Thursday was our big debut in the Rolex Arena riding First Level 3. The footing was amazing, I can't say enough about it and Bastian seemed to really like it as well as he was moving quite nicely. We warmed up and headed in.
Here we are going into the arena for the first time, Bastian was completely non-plussed by the whole thing, but that didn't stop Kristin from giving him some last minute warnings about taking care of his
We went in to put in a fantastic test. We were doing great and then on my second canter lengthen I lost my left stirrup :( There was no stopping though and I managed to pull of a pretty decent canter loopy followed by a so-so trot lengthening and got my halt and salute in. We scored 65% and I managed to place 5 out of 18 entries. I was quite pleased with my handsome boy, we scored a 65% in Kentucky against a lot of my soon to be Championship Competition.


Friday was another warm up day, we rode Training Level Test 2 and scored a lovely 70% which was good enough to get us a second place ribbon. Kristin has finally gotten me to understand how important getting him to bend is and I employed that knowledge on Friday. It worked! First place went to Bastian's new BFF, Leo. I think that this means there is something to be said for our Trainer/Instructor Kristin, I mean how much better can it get when both of your students take the top to places in a class. Not to mention that I scored a 70% in Kentucky, so again, very pleased with my handsome, handsome boy.
Shannon and I with our ribbons!


Saturday was unfortunately, our bad day. I wasn't riding well, I was getting jerky and over-compensatey (is that a word?) instead of soft and subtle and while we earned a respectable 66% in our Training Level AA Championship, it was far from our best performance and was not good enough for anything near a good placing...we finished 18th out of 51. I was extremely disappointed with myself, I had no excuse to ride so poorly.

But all was not lost, Shannon and Leo did lovely and were named Reserve Champ and Shari and Isaac finished just out of the ribbons by a 5th of a percent were in the top ten. Again, I think that this speaks volumes about Kristin's training and Instruction. Three students who all did well out of 51 tough competitors.


Sunday was a new day, I had to shake off the bad mojo from Saturday, this was our last chance to shine and Bastian deserved a better ride. It was warm outside but very very windy, like 20 mph winds with 40+ mph gusts. Crazy! He wasn't bothered by the wind though, he's such a good, reliable guy. We made our way into the Rolex Arena one more time and put in our best ever First level test yet. Our combined average score was 67%. We did some awesome canter loopies in both directions and our leg yields were spectacular. I was so pleased with him.

We were sitting in 8th place and it was a nerve-wracking hour and a half while we waited for the rest of the competitors to go and have their scores posted. Finally they were up and we had managed to hold onto 8th place. 8th out of 45 entries, not to shabby for the bargain basement TB from Maryland.
We got to lead the division into the arena for the awards ceremony to Darth Vader's intro music in Star Wars...AWESOME! Then for our victory trot lap (of which we were at the tail end :) )we got to strut our stuff to Lady Gaga's "Pokerface." I'm glad they picked good music, lol
Thank you Donna for all the fabulous pictures! Thank you Gwen for all your help and support over the weekend. Thank you Shari for the support, awesome advice and delicious snacks and beverages. Thank you Shannon for your support, words of wisdom, golf cart and willingness to live on the wild side and off road it! Thank you Kristin for your relentless instruction that has helped to get Bastian and I to where we are today, Bastian and I could not do it with out you. Thank you Char, Leslie, Rachel, Cindy, Gwen, Shannon, Caitlin, Anna, Thomas, Hastilow Saddlery, and my mom and dad for placing ads in the show book and helping me to earn a free stall. Bastian and I are truly appreciative of your support and belief in our abilities.