Show Reports Part 3: Of tractors, wooden bridges and gas stations

All good things come in three – show number 3 on Sunday was already a highlight of the season. As my boyfriend was on company outing, I had to ask one of my barn mates to accompany me. The travel was round about 170km direction Vienna to Graschnitz, Styria. Weather forecast was bad but the travel there was pretty ok, Hafl was calm in the back and there was not a lot of traffic. Once at the venue, I was following another trailer to the assumed trailer parking lot – it was not as I learned just minutes later – it was one of the muddiest paddocks ever seen after the rain of the days before. Anyway, I tried to park as nice and neatly and thought that it will be no problem to get out of there after the show at all. I realized though that my car already had problems going rear but just ignored it. Right then, the wheels of the trailer were already buried deeply in mud. 

                              

I prepared Hafl, headed for the warm up (indoor) arena when all of a sudden a heavy rainfall started just 20 minutes before my first start. Luckily enough, I stayed dry during my first test (first level). After that, I inspected the trailer parking lot and already started to worry how to get out of it – but no time to concentrate on this – the second test was right ahead. Unfortunately, it started again to rain heavily and it should not stop for the next few hours. So we had to ride in the pouring rain and got soaked to the skin. After the test, I had the plan to unhook the trailer, turn the car and try to pull the trailer away from the fence…good idea but the ground was so slippery that I could hardly drive. So we decided to get at least the car out of the paddock and ask for help. And there was help! After an hour of waiting, a young man pulled the trailer out of the mud with a tractor – thanks so much for that! Of course, I needed to take a picture:

                          

More POWER!!!

After loading Hafl still in the pouring rain and being still totally wet, temperatures started to drop (just as a reminder: I got sunburnt the day before at 24°C!) down to 4°C. We were not aware of that fact until the next problem showed up: we were running out of gas! We were just on a kind of highway with tons of exits. So we chose one and thought that it should not be a big deal to find a gas station. We were driving kilometers through the outback of Styria and THANK GOD there was a gas station but wait – IT WAS CLOSED! Nearly panicking, we tried (and Google tried to help) to find another one in one of the neighboring villages. Google Maps told us to drive straight and after some time to turn right – but there was no normal street, there was JUST a wooden bridge with a huge 5 tons limitation sign and not very promising looking – GEEZ that was narrow! 

UH OH! I hate bridges like that....

Bravely, we drove over it and really, shortly after that (we were just happy that we survived!!!) we found an OPEN gas station. It was by far the most expensive one on the whole length of the trip…but I could not risk to find another one! I tried to take the rightmost gas pump – but there was no diesel! There was hardly enough space for reversing – that’s why I then need to stand across the whole petrol station in the end:

What is that?!

Getting out of the car was like a shock! My pants were still that wet that the 4°C outside felt like a slap in the face…I was never that fast in filling up the car like on that day.
Really?!

The rest of the drive home was awful: strong wind and rain made it very difficult to drive and we were happy when we reached home.

Oh, you might be wondering what the tests were like. Well, let’s say I was pretty proud of myself. Only one week after our miserable results we were able to catch up: 6.4 in the first level (compared to the same test one week ago with 5.3) and 5.8 in the second level (compared to MISERABLE 4.5 not in the same test though last week). We are still not where we want (or where we even could be) but I was just so happy that we could do better after the disappointment last week.

Very good meme of the last two shows' weather

What did the judges say in particular? In the first level, their final remark was: Rider and horse fit well together! Overall, trot and canter was a bit hurried as they said (I was trying to ride forward- they said I should not confuse impulsion with hurry). So for the next time, I will try to push less and give us more time – trying not to fall asleep which would be as bad as going too fast, too. I am still a bit pissed that I am not able to show better walk these days – I am keeping him too tight, afraid of him trotting on – which costs us a lot of points! His walk is good and I really need to work on that! I need to look for a supple walk and not let him lose his nerves and start trotting on the lightest leg aid. They also said that the lengthening of the steps was very exerted but speedy. In the warm up ring I swear he showed the perfect extensions in trot – so get yourself going man and show that in the ring :D



The second level brought no surprises. Still, the extended trot was in a hurry, the collection in the canter was insufficient. The canter walk transitions were once bad and once at least better – I really need to work on my inner picture of this movement. And school hundred thousands of times more in the next few weeks. There are times at home where we do pretty good already. For the half pirouettes in walk the remark said: Bending! I know that these were not perfect at least the strides were correct and the rhythm was kept. But then there was the most surprising thing ever! There was a diagonal in canter and I though it was medium canter. When I listened to the reader, I could not hear her say: Change rein, medium canter. So what I did is (at least that is what is felt) a MEDIUM thing between canter and what I would call a medium canter. AND then the judges said: achieved! Though I was not planning this movement, I somehow managed to do this movement! And it was satisfactory! Wow! So what did I learn from that? Do less forward pushing, do more expressive strides – cause holding the energy a bit more in deeper strides is better than the flat running kind of medium canter we normally show! WOW! What a learning! For now, we try to do our extensions exactly like the one that we DID NOT but DID in fact ;) Best comment in the second level was though: Cute Haflinger! Work on collection and movements of second level. AYE AYE Jugdes, now we have an idea how to do it ;)

Oh yes, he is damn cute <3

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