The family (Mom, Dad, Daniel, Sharron and Grandma) spent this weekend up at the Whidbey Equestrian Center for the WEC’s April Fools Dressage Show. Sharron (and, of course Oliver the wonder pony) was riding the USDF Training Level 1 and 2 tests (twice – once each on Saturday and once each on Sunday). Accompanying us was Sharron’s instructor, Pam Pentz with her horses Whidbey and her stallion Rodioso.
Since this was Sharron’s first ever “big” competition (i.e. a real competition where she’d be judged according to strict national standards, not a training show (where the standards are somewhat looser)), we were all a smidge nervous. It was also Sharron and Oliver’s first two day show, which added a bunch to the stress – instead of just having to be on for one day, they’d have to be able to hold it together for two.
Valorie barely slept on Friday night – a storm moved into Whidbey that evening and she knew that Oliver was going batty in his stall (Oliver really doesn’t like rain on the stall roof).
Saturday started off in typical northwest fashion – it was still pouring rain. And Valorie was right – Oliver had tried to dig a hole out of the bottom of his stall (fortunately he failed). And as in all things, the rain didn’t stop the competition, Sharron’s first ride was at 8:50AM, in the downpour – we were all pretty wet, and Oliver and Sharron were utterly drenched (they didn’t have the benefit of rain gear). But she looked pretty darned good in the ring, and her scores were totally respectable – she got a 59% on her first test (good enough for a blue ribbon).
The next rider to go was Pam on Rodioso, performing the level 4-1 test, she got 64%, which was top score in her class. Rodioso is an utterly amazing horse, personally, I think he might even be Olympic quality.
Sharron’s second test was even better than her first test (it had stopped raining and that helped), she got a 61% on that test (which was good for a 3rd place ribbon) . She and Oliver looked absolutely amazing together. She was 1 point away from the 2nd place ribbon on that test.
Pam next rode on Whidbey, the FEI 6-year old test, a grueling test that’s only given to 6 year olds, and as usual, Whidbey shone. She later rode Whidbey in the USDF 3-3 test, and again he was great (two blue ribbons).
On Sunday, the weather was far better, the rain had blown away and the sun was shining (it was still bitterly cold but better).
Sharron rode at 8:09 AM (moved up from 7:30 originally), and she and Oliver were awesome, they got a 59% even though another horse caused Oliver to spook when he was entering the canter (the judge called it an “abrupt entry” :)). If he hadn’t spooked, she’d have gotten another 60%+. That performance got her a 2nd place ribbon.
At 10:10 or so, Sharron rode again, this time she had a somewhat sloppier performance (she and Oliver were really tired at this point) and she “only” got a 55%, but that was good enough for another blue ribbon. We bummed around in the afternoon waiting for Pam’s last ride, and we packed up the horses (ok, Pam packed up the horses – we just helped) and went home.
We all celebrated at the end of the day at Claim Jumper, after dinner we staggered home and collapsed after a really long weekend.
The total haul from the weekend: Two Blue ribbons, a yellow ribbon and a red ribbon. All in all, a wonderful experience for all concerned. Sharron really did rock – she and Oliver worked their tails off and it shows.
The pictures are still on my computer at home, I’ll try to get some up in the near future.