The Mane Challenge consists of five events: Showmanship, Versatile Pleasure, Trail, Driving and Speed. My events were Showmanship, Pleasure and Trail. I had already gotten showmanship out of the way. Pleasure was next. Prinny is the western pleasure king; but his rider wasn’t necessarily the queen.
I typically ride with two hands. Riding with one hand was a challenge. And I didn’t realize until I practiced how busy my hands are. There aren’t any good pictures of my pleasure class and I couldn’t hit delete fast enough on the video that surfaced! My hands were so busy you would think I was crocheting! Right at the end, I found myself behind Deb W’s daughter, Heather. Her horse is a western pleasure deluxe model and Prinny fell quietly in behind him. Had we been behind them the entire time, I might have done better. But too little too late. We didn’t place in this event, but I hadn’t planned on it.
On Saturday morning, the first class and my last one for the team was trail. It’s slow and Prinny does it well. We walked the course on foot before the actual event. Cross a bridge. Check. Get mail from a mailbox. Check. Trot over logs. Yes. Back in an “L”. Yes. Lope. Sidepass. Ground tie and I’m done. This is doable. Not only does Prinny know this stuff, so do I! Windy and I get our mail every time I am out!
We cross the bridge spot on. Beautiful! We pick up the trot to the mailbox. Whoaaaaa. Then the fun begins.
I’m told I leaned left, Prinny went right. It is much funnier to hear Annette tell the story, but evidently my legs and seat were giving Prinny cross messages and I didn’t know it. I'd move him in, he'd move out. I'd move left, he'd back. Wiggle-worming toward the mailbox. I do recall making eye contact with someone in the audience right about the time I whispered an “S-bomb” to myself. I am sure they could read lips. Eventually – after what seemed like forever – I retrieved the mail.
From there we crossed the logs beautifully.
And backed in an “L”.
We loped to the log for a lovely sidepass.
And Prinny ground tied like a pro. We placed 5th in this class and I was thrilled. If only (if only, if only, if only) I hadn’t screwed up the mailbox. Prinny was THAT good in this class.
Overall, the Shoofly Pet Sitting team took 9th out of 12 teams. Not bad for our first show. My team mates did very well in their classes and should be proud of their efforts. And best of all, we had fun!