Read My Juicy Summer 2015, Part 1
Author: Lisa Spidell
February 6 2016
I was pumped after the Donald Fancy Memorial Slide in, but the next show was over a month away. I was determined to ride at least 3 days a week. I wanted to get that horse to move a little quicker without having to push her all the time.
The judge at the show suggested I take her for a trail ride, get her out of the riding ring a bit. I was fortunate enough to have a friend at the barn who was also interested in trail riding so Juice experienced her first trail ride. She loved it.
She had a little pep in her step on the trail. She was curious about everything, and afraid of nothing. She went everywhere I asked her, and even jumped on a large flat rock with all four feet at once. When we got back to the barn and the riding ring she loped freely a few times around the ring.
By the time the first of August rolled around I was more than ready to load the trailer with my coach again and head to the Scotia Sliders Summer Slide. The outdoor ring at Encore Farm where the show is held is amazing. It's gigantic and the footing is the best. There is also a huge, bright indoor with excellent footing, an amazing large barn with big stalls and isle ways and a smaller barn. Everyone loves to ride there.
We arrived Friday afternoon and unloaded the trailer, settled the horses and went for a quick bite so we could ride all evening. We had a lot of fun just riding with the other competitors in the huge ring the night before the show. Some of the more experienced riders were really riding fast and their horses loved it. We see a lot of the same people at all the reining shows, but each show has different people too. The reining community are great people!
Juice and I did not do well in the Summer Slide. She was slow in the big ring, uninterested. The more I tried to push her the worse it got. I was coming forward in my seat as I pushed and shes smart enough to know when you're off balance so she just stops responding. We did stay on pattern but it was bad. I think we scored 44.
Juice and I stayed at Encore Farm for a week after the Summer Slide for some extra training in that big ring. I rode a lot that week with some advanced instruction, focusing on keeping my seat and not coming forward to push her. We had a lot of fun in the sun in the beautiful Annopolis Valley of Nova Scotia!
We only had another week to work and prepare for the next show the middle of August, the Sumac Slide just outside of New Glasgow Nova Scotia. A 2 day show at another incredible facility, Sumac Farms. The Sumac Show would be inside, with the outdoor used as a warm up ring. Juice seems to go better inside, probably because the rings are smaller and it's not as much work for her.
This would be the last NRHA show of the summer and there would be a lot of competitors. I was riding first on Friday in the green as grass class, then I had 2 classes on Saturday, green rider and green horse.
We had been to Sumac Farms in the spring for a clinic with Sophie Laverdiere. Juice was an angel to load on the trailer, unload, walk around the grounds, hose in the wash stall, she has the sweetest personality. She barely even acknowledges her stable mate as he comes and goes. Her name suits her perfectly, Sweet Juicy. Having a horse that behaves like her at a horse show is more than half the battle of competing.
When we rode in the ring for our paid warm up sessions, Juice was good. She seemed to understand she needed to perform when we were in the indoor ring. She may have been ridden a lot in indoor rings during her training and maybe that is why she goes better inside, she associates that with work. Some horses look in the stands when they do a run down toward the crowd, but she didn't seem to care about the stands at all during the warm up. There were not a lot of people but there were some, and dogs, which she couldn't care less about.
We had an excellent first run for us, scoring 65. There were a lot of riders so we didn't place but I was extremely happy with that score. She was much more responsive to my neck rein after the week at Encore Farm. She ran nice circles for me and our spins were really good.
I had a lot of confidence going into day 2. It felt like things were finally coming together. I was up early and in the barn, feeding, watering and cleaning stalls. We were blessed with spectacular weather that day, sunny and a little hot, but not unbearable. There were 11 riders in the green rider class, and Juice and I were running somewhere in the middle of the pack.
We didn't warm up much. She's not a horse to push a lot before the class. When we walked in for our run she had a little pep to her step and I was relaxed. Country music was playing and I sang along low. We had a really good run. Her departures from center were good, and although our large circles weren't really fast, they were noticibly faster than our small circles. In our rundowns, she moved fast enough to get a small slide, and our roll back was not fast, but it was correct. Even coming through center on the figure eight wasn't bad. She didn't have great changes but she pushed through it. Our spins were bang on in both directions. I felt good when I nodded to the judge at the end of the run! When they announced the score, 67.5 I was thrilled and did a little fist pump.
Outside of the ring everyone was congratulating me on our ride. It was a good run for us. Of course there were plenty of better, more experienced riders but we had made some nice progress. I was super pleased and wanted to reward Juice. I was anxious to untack her, hose her and walk her around the grounds, let her eat some grass. We walked well away from the horse on deck and in the hole. I was about to dismount when I heard my name called. We had placed fourth out of eleven riders!
I was extatic. I could not believe we placed. We rode in, got our ribbon and I also won a pair of riding socks from Greenhawk who sponsored the class. This was the highlight of our summer!!
We rode in two more shows before winter, a training show and the fall finalle both at Encore Farms. We placed first in green horse western pleasure in the training show and second in command class at the fall finalle. We also rode in a ranch pleasure class at the fall finalle. Although we didn't place we had a decent ride and it was fun. 2015, What a Fantastic Summer!