Sunday, November 04, 2007

What a horse show it was! First I would like to thank all of you that sent e-mails to cheer us on, it was greatly appreciated. The horse show was located in Paderborn, only about 30 minutes away, so that meant that we trailered the horses back and forth each day. It was a good size show, with participants from 9 countries and 48 horses entered in my first class. We trailered over on Thursday to school and imagine my surprise to be stabled next to 2 other Americans that were showing there, Sue Blinks and Jan Ebeling. It was really nice to have other American riders there and I must say everyone was very good about supporting each other.
The competition was indoors with the arena beautifully decorated with plants, flowers and many banners. My class had 3 judges sitting at H, C and M. Dolly was my first ride and she put in a good solid test with no mistakes and handled the 20 x 40 warm up area with no problem. We just put our elbows out and went for it. Donneur was also quite comfortable in the warm up, we even had our best pirouettes since we have been in Germany, according to Hubertus. I had a head set on which made the warm up alot easier. Donneur also put in a good solid test, no major mistakes. Over all, I was well pleased with the horses. Hubertus was also complimentary and said that the tests were well ridden technically and that the horses did a good job. Klaus Balkenhol was also there and watched both horses perform and spoke to me afterwards about the rides. Here comes the reality check. Dolly scored a 60% and Donneur 61% which placed them in the middle of the pack. Hubertus and Klaus thought that the judges were too tough on us and that each horse should have been 4 or 5 % higher. But here is the thing: 1) I am an auslander (foreign rider) that they do not know and 2) the Germans have an incredibly high standard for what they want to see. It is assumed that you will do a clean test and then the marks go up from there. They are judging on all of the fine points, is the neck too short, the walk active enough, was the horse crooked. In America, if the horse does the flying change we give a 7, here it would be a 5 for doing it and it would have to be big, expressive and straight to get a 7. But after all, that is why we are here! I want to be measured by the strictest standard and I am willing to knock on the door until they know who I am!
Since I was one of the top 20 riders in the S3 test( equivilent to PSG), I qualified for the Prix St. George Special the next day and had to choose which horse to ride. I rode Donneur and again, he had a good test, very consistent, no major mistakes, and placed 10th, tying with Jan Ebeling. So, we did get to participate in the prize giving and the victory gallop and will bring back a ribbon from Germany!
I was really impressed that my horses could trailer back and forth each day in a van that was a slant load and the spot where Donneur had to ride was about the size of the back seat of a VW. We didn't get back to our stable until 10:00 Friday night and had to leave early the next morning to go back over for our other class. They did tests that they have never ridden before( I only got a copy 4 days before the show) and they had to warm up in a small area. The horse shows here are so different, you don't know until 6:30 the night before you ride what time your test will be the following day. No one checks your tack or the length of your whip, etc. It was kind of like going to a horse show for the first time because you don't know the protocol and it is hard to find out when you aren't fluent in German! I almost missed the prize giving because the class before they placed to 8th but for some reason that I still don't know, the Prix St. George Special placed to 10th. Thank you Sue Blinks for tacking Donneur up while I quickly changed back into my show clothes. We made it with not a moment to spare! The good news is we won a little cash to help cover the entries and now I know that if you can survive a show in Germany, you can do anything! Other results from Americans, Sue Blinks 63% in GP, Jan Ebeling 57 and 59% in S3, Todd Flettrich 60% at GP. It was a great experience and I look forward to uping my game to be able to score the way I know my horses are capable of in the future.


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