Show Report Part 5: A FAIR(Y) tale...

Show number five was EXTRAORDINARY! Why? Because it was not just a show, it was a show embedded into one of Austria's biggest equestrian fairs! That made it so special! There were plenty of arenas, show rings, stands... so many people watching, a complete new show venue type (indoors) - but it was great!

We headed there the day before our first entry, a travel of approximately four hours heading North to Wels, Upper Austria. Even the arrival was kinda cool as we had special parking licenses allowing us to go directly to the show grounds. We got these VIP like wristbands and welcome kits with my name on it! It felt like a huge international show! Hafl had a very nice stall just in front of the door of the huge arena where they put mobile stalls in for that event. He immediately felt comfy - nothing new: as long as there is food, Hafl is happy!

The whole atmosphere was overwhelming and we had lots of fun - and we walked KILOMETERS! How I know that? Well, currently I am taking part in the Global Company Challenge ( and I am wearing a step counter - and I had my personal best of more than 36,000 steps on almost every day there!

Apart from that, it was lots of fun - and lots of weird moments. When I had a good feeling after a test, it was a disaster - when I was feeling bad, it went very well.

But her the judges' comments in detail:

Thursday, May 30, I was riding a first level and a second level test. In the first level, judges said that my hand was too predominant, that my leg aids were too little which led to a loss in connection. Halts and transitions were bad, canter depart was very good as well as the walk. We got a 6.6, were placed third (ribbon yay) - first got a 7.40 and a 3.50 was the weakest mark. Nine riders started in this test, so apart from (in my opinion) many many many mistakes we really did great - so it seems that the things that were good, were REALLY good.

In the second test, we faced our long term problems: canter contact was too open, halts were hasty, willingness to collect was almost not there. Still, we got a 5.6 in a very difficult test we had never ridden before. We were still placed 4th, with winner having 7.50 and last one having 3.80. Overall, seven participants.

On Friday, the two tests counted for the Haflinger Challenge, a trophy for Haflinger horses in Austria. We rode again a first and a second level test. In the first level, I had such a good feeling and was sure that we had a pretty nice contact, light hands etc. In the end, we were punished with a 5.70 due to hard hands - wow, I was surprised. There were too many negative comments in the protocol: against hand, no real contact... So I changed strategy after this test for the second level. First got a 7.20, last a 5.30, 11 participants.

Tired Hafl
We needed to do something differently for the second test after these comments so I decided to not keep my hands still as I thought was a good idea but have a nice and soft rubber band contact. And at least, that worked out. Here, trot extensions were good with good transition back to working trot, walk was regular but a bit short. Counter canter was not good, overall, horse needed to be a bit more closed, contact needed to be improved. We got a 5.70 (could improve from the day before), first got 7.50, last 3.80. No ribbon of course but I was happy that the change in strategy helped.

The whole show was a good experience, though not too successful. But having the chance to ride in these surroundings was worth it.

Going back home

I will work on the video next week - so I can show the first follow me around ;)

And off we go!

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