I saddled Speedy and head on into the warm-up ring. As before, he didn't need much. His trot was quiet, the leg yields were satisfactory, and the right lead canter had actually improved. He did feel a little bit flat, which is usually okay. Flat is better than tense in his case.
We walked up to the ring, but the ring steward told me to wait a bit as there was a snake in the area just outside of the dressage court that needed to be relocated before I could go in. Not a problem, I told her.
At first, I felt a moment of frustration by the snake removal process as Speedy was already on the verge of feeling like he'd been under saddle long enough. But then the excitement of the snake wrangling gave us both a little buzz of energy. When I saw Wendy's husband (my new hero) climb into the cab of the mini-truck with that snack wrapped around his arm. I cracked up laughing.
They drove right by Speedy and me with this HUGE gopher snake visible through the window. Both men were just laughing it up with a GIANT SNAKE in the car! Men are something else.
As soon as the mini-truck left the ring, Speedy and I walked up to the judge to give her our number and confirm which test we would be riding. We both joked about missing out on the opportunity to ride with the snake in attendance. I think she enjoyed the break in the routine as much as Speedy did.
I finally hauled back on that outside rein and jammed my weight into the outside stirrup. It wasn't a pretty transition (we eked out a 5), but I got him rebalanced enough for the nearly immediate right lead canter at F. We earned a seven for the canter, so once again, fixing something helped set Speedy up for a better next movement.
For these last two shows, I've felt this incredible feeling of truly being in the moment. I don't feel as though I'm leaving it up to Speedy to get us through or hoping that it all goes well. I feel as though I am putting him together and creating a picture that I want the judge to see. It's a good feeling to have.
It's a bit confusing, but basically, all of the AA classes that have fewer than four riders get lumped into one gigantic group. They award $50 to the highest score in that group, which turned out to be us!
There were two classes that had four riders. The same rider won in both classes. Her scores were higher than mine, but I guess the show management doesn't let you win the Class High Point prize and the Show High Point prize. I am okay with that - who doesn't want to walk away with $50?