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March Magic at Williamston, our first show of the season

April 13, 2009

AS I promised, the write up on the March Magic Show.

Our first show of the season is usually March Magic in Williamston NC. This is because, well it’s early in the season. Being as it is in NC and out on the coast, the footing is always good even if it rains, and it is usually warmer than VA in late March.  The show is run by Martie Healy and Sue Smithson, it’s a very friendly relaxed show, a great outing for the start of the year.

The drive is a pretty long one but very straight forward, we got to Williamston around 5 pm, settled the horses into their stalls, unpacked and then tacked up and rode.

Miss P. was doing her first ever licensed show so we toured the show grounds and went into all the buildings we could so she could see all of them. Especially the big scary coliseum. They have a new indoor arena as well so had a tour of that.  X of course has been here before, he is usually unbothered by coliseums etc. However this time he was wired, not scared or spooky but just very up, as if he was excited to be at a show again.

Fortunately Jim Koford usually comes to this show so we were able to get some help from Jim both on the day before and during warm up for our tests.  Jim is a genius and a superb rider who somehow always puts his finger right onto whatever it is you need to do get them rounder, softer and more responsive.

I don’t usually allow other folks to ride X and especially not men because it is my experience that male riders with their superior upper body strength tend to leave the horses too strong for me. But Jim always hands X back softer, lighter and easier to ride.

After Jim’s ministrations I rode X in the coliseum, and he was wonderful, soft and light, he extended without tossing me out of the saddle and I could feel him sit down in the collected canter and really lift his shoulders in the canter pirouettes. We were tackling 4th 2 for the first time, and it is a big jump up from 4th 1. It has 1/2 pirouettes in canter as well a line of 4 tempis (change of lead every 4th stride), which are difficult movements. It’s also a really long test and requires one to think and remember as well as keep riding!

Miss P. was doing Training 3 and 4, aiming to get a qualifying score for the BLM Championships.

On the Friday the weather was windy and wet, with rain forecast and tornado warnings coming up all over the place.  My test was in the coliseum as was Aprils and Miss P.s first test. Her first test at a licensed show in a strange place and it has to be the coliseum! But Miss P. was up for it, she trucked on it and did a great job, the scary corner that was the undoing of several horses caused her to roll her eyes and tense up,  but she didn’t spook. SHe got a commendable 63% for that effort and was placed. Winning a ribbon against some very superior and expensive warmbloods!

X and I did our first attempt at 4:2, I didn’t forget the test, and we did all the movements, but I really need to work on that sitting down in canter to get the collected gaits up to the quality where he can do a proper pirouette. Our extensions were super, and he was good about coming back in time for the corner.

Miss P had her second test in the new indoor, it was a very scary place in the wind. She was tense and tight due to the rattling of the panels in the gusting wind. However they held it together, and got a 65% this time. Not good enough for  ribbon though, but a very commendable effort.

Saturday the weather was less rainy but still windy, Again we were both in the coliseum but much more relaxed on Miss P. part since she had seen all this already.

X and I held our selves together better and got a higher mark though still not over the magical 60%.  But the test is feeling more familiar as we do it.

They had a great competitiors party on the Saturday night and we got to watch all the musical freestyles as we ate and drank!

Sunday was really windy, again they had Tornado warnings all over the place but none materialized. This time we were bot scheduled in the outside arena. They had kindly provided a nice tent for the grooms etc to stand under in case it rained! Well it didn’t rain, but the blue and white striped tent was flapping like a wild thing in the gusting wind!  X as always handled it like a pro. Despite the fact that I was now on my third time in this test, I managed to forget the line of tempi changes (like how can you forget those!) and had an error of course when the judge blew the whistle and sent me back to re do them! Despite that glitch we got a pretty decent score though still in the high 50’s.

Miss P. was not impressed by the scary tent, but she held it together (many didn’t) and did a good test. Poor April had been so impressed with my error of course she went did one of her own, so also got a whistle blown. But they still finished with a 65% and nice 2nd place ribbon.

The show was over, we packed up and set off on the long drive home. Plenty pleased with our two stalwart ponies!


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