Sunday was Show Day for Galahad. He travelled to my instructor’s yard on Saturday so she could take us to the show and we could run through our dressage test. The test went fairly well and we had a go round the jumps as well which he loved, even with all the scary fillers which we don’t have at home.
Sunday dawned grey and drizzly and stayed that way all day, with the odd heavy shower thrown in by way of a change. A little water won’t put us off though and we arrived at the show – which was basically in the middle of a cloud – with an hour to spare before my test.
However, as Galahad had jumped so well the day before I managed to get persuaded to jump a higher class than I had intended. Which not only meant that I had to hurry to be ready to jump early in the class but also that instead of starting his showing career in a nice quiet dressage field he was thrown right into the middle of all the hustle and bustle.
He was very vocal as his best friend had not come but was surprisingly calm about all the things I thought would scare him. The tents were not an issue at all and although he was aware of all the people and horses he didn’t really mind them. We hopped over a couple of practise fences and hurried into the ring for the 2’3” class.
I thought I was in trouble when the tannoy crackled and he skittered sideways but it wasn’t a major spook and he had no trouble with the actual voices. He jumped really well. He was backing off some of the jumps with fillers but was happy enough to jump with a little encouragement. The only real issue we had was with a very scary filler hiding in the hedge which made us knock a pole but he didn’t stop or run out at anything. Strangely enough the flappy sponsor’s sign at the side of the ring was not scary at all. He jumped a lovely round and I was so proud of him.
We then dashed along to the next field for our dressage test. Galahad had a good look at the flowers at A but thankfully decided that neither they nor the boards were actually scary. He felt really nice during the test and although he got a little distracted and nearly drifted out of the ring he stayed nice and relaxed which was the main thing – I wanted his first showing experience to be a good one!
We had a pause after that, during which I had a complete costume change for the mountain and moorland class. I sent my sister off in the rain to enter for me and report on the class currently in progress in the ring. In the end I was still mounted far too early as they split the class into in hand and ridden so we spent a long time walking up and down between the rings. He was a bit on edge to start with as it was very busy but he did settle down nicely and it was a very good experience for him.
He behaved very well in the ring itself and did his individual show much better than at home. He wasn’t particularly keen on standing next to the clear round jumping ring as the man in charge was wonderfully encouraging of the riders but he actually let the judge hand me a rosette (a special – we weren’t placed) which was unexpected. He did win the prize for the best Exmoor (he wasn’t quite the only one!) which qualified us for the Moorland Exmoor Pony Breeders Group show at Brendon. We may not be able to go but it wasn’t bad for his first effort!
I decided that was plenty for him to do so tied him back up with his haynet and went in search of our dressage score. That was a very pleasant surprise as we got some nice comments and placed third! We obviously have a lot to work on but I was thrilled.
The rest of the day was a lot of waiting around for him but although he was starting at a lot of things he was generally very well behaved. I had the most fantastic day and I could not be more proud of him.