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Monday, July 27, 2009

The long awaited RAAC post

ST, Final & Pat Adams of Yarra Yarra
Sorry, sorry! I know I've been delinquent in my post but we've been sooooo busy.

The RAAC was a total blast! It was held down in Menlo Park so we thought, "ahhh Bay Area, the weather will be wonderful and cool." NOT! It was sweltering! Although it was only 90 (we're used to 100) it was humid and muggy. Ewe! I'll take 100 and dry over 90 and muggy any day. RAAC stands for "Regional Adult Amateur Championships." It's like a primer for the CDS & USDF Regionals, a championship show on a smaller scale. Last year was the first year it was held so we figured, "why not check it out?"
Happy hour in the Quidditch Cup field
We arrived on Friday afternoon and set up camp in the big open field that was the horse stabling and trailer parking. Scott thought it looked like the Quidditch Cup scene from Harry Potter. I have to agree, it did! Just picture 4 rows of horse stalls in a big open field surrounded by horse trailers back in a little valley. Very cool! So we unloaded Final, got his stall all set up and decided it was still too hot to ride. We found a market down the road that had a wide cheese selection, lots of beer and English shortbread biscuits to boot! So we picked up some snacks and headed back to the "field" where we sat in the shade of our trailer and had happy hour. It was delightful. And yes this is the reason I can't loose that last 15 lbs - I love cheese and beer. I would be very unhappy without those two things.

Once it cooled off and I was "happy" after mmmmm beer, Mr. Final and I went for our warm up to check out the arenas. In true Final fashion, he didn't care much about being in a foreign arena, although the woods surrounding the Quidditch Cup field were super scary. Lions and tigers and bears oh my. We don't have a lot of trees where we live, so forests are FREAKY! But he got over it and went on his merry way. He felt super so I was very excited about the prospects of the weekend. Just hoping it would be cool for our rides on Sat morning and then Sunday afternoon.
A "happy" warm up.
Saturday morning was a little hectic. I didn't ride until 11 and I took a little too much time getting ready. Final doesn't need much warm up (20 min tops) but I forgot his show number, then I forgot we had to walk all the way around everything to get to the warm up, then the water trucks came in to water, etc, etc. So I got a little uppity and so did he. He's a very sensitive horse so you have to keep your feelings hidden from him. So I had to lie to myself that everything was okay so he too would believe the lie.

Luckily the warm up went well but I didn't even have enough time to trot, so I warmed him up at the trot as I was circling the outside of the court before they rang the bell. When I got into the ring he felt great through all the trot work. Then came the canter. He totally took over like a possessed beast. At least that is what he felt like. I felt like he was careening out of control and I was just hanging on for the ride. His pirouettes felt like rodeo spins, I was sure he didn't get one single clean change because it didn't even feel like he had feet. Luckily Scott said it didn't look bad. After a quick video review, I determined Scott was right once again. He's very astute at this horse show stuff. And he was right about the score as well - 64% and 1st place. That is awesome for Final who just until last year didn't have a clean change in him let alone 3 tempi's and 4 tempi's. Eva and I joke that if we ever want to go pro, we'll open up a facility that specializes in flying changes. We now know every trick in the book!

Sunday presented a whole different concern - we rode at 4 pm in the heat and humidity. I wanted to work on a few things before the class but I had to be careful not to wear out my partner. Because of my angst, Final was once again a bit uppity. And I was having a very difficult time lying to him. The warm up went ok, but he was definitely tired. And there were two horses in my class that I knew would be hard to beat so I was going to have to go for it. All was well until the extended trot when I went for it and he cantered. Eva said he was really going too. Bummer, I got greedy and it didn't pay off. And then came the canter tour. Again, the beast from within came running out of him. Only this beast was tired and hot so this time the pir's really were rodeo spins and the changes really weren't clean. The winning ride was a 70+%, reserve was a 66%, but we earned a respectable 62.9% which placed us third overall. Not bad for our first RAAC, rodeo spins and all! More lessons learned, more dirst under the boots and another notch on the belt - maybe someday I'll get this down to an exact science... not likly!

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