Franco on our way home down the road.

Life of a dressage horse will include going to a few shows.  So, baby Finn and baby Franco are getting ready for their first shows of their dressage careers.  So who, what, when, where, how do you do that?

First is who.  Finn is sitting this one out because his mom will be having a lovely time in Paris.  Of course, she HAS to be there, so his debut will be a little later in the year, late May or maybe June.  But what’s the hurry, they will be getting so many shows over their lifetime.  So that leaves Franco.  He came to me with the purpose of getting him used to the busy life of living in the city (Southlands is interesting and busy) and to get him in his first show.  And in the few months he has been here, he has seen ALOT of new things and is now entered in his first show, which is next weekend.

What and Where? What show to enter and where, hmm, this is usually a hard question for most people because you have to trailer your horse somewhere to show.  But here in Southlands, it is kind of an easy question because there are the Bronze level Dogwood Dressage shows (one day shows each month April-July), the Spring Dressage Show at the beginning of May and the BC Championships at the beginning of September.  So for Franco we chose the April Dogwood Dressage Show.

When, next weekend.  This is not really a surprise, we have been working towards it since Franco arrived a few months ago.   And he is about as ready as he can be.  We have ridden outside, we can do pretty much everything in the tests (training level) which is walk, trot, canter on the bit and even do a bit of a stretchy circle.  As you can imagine, the turns onto and off centre line are the hardest parts of the test.  And maybe the halt at X.

How will we do?  Well, not sure yet.  Since he has never been in a dressage show before I have no idea how it will go.  We are about as ready as you can expect.  We have ridden outside, not just in the indoor.  We have practised the test patterns.  We are able to ride with other horses in a busy warm up ring, because Southlands Riding Club gets busy sometimes Franco is now used to that.  I have been timing my warm-ups to see how long I need to plan for the show.  And we have seen a judges’ booth – but they all look different at a show.

What we don’t know is how to go from the warm-up ring to an official dressage ring and, after going around only a few times, trot up centre line.  That is really hard to recreate at home – a show is always different and every day of the same show can be different.  Different lighting, different sounds, different distractions around the outside, so many variables.  You can not plan for everything, but I expect with all the work we have done so far, Franco will cruise around a wee bit bright-eyed I am sure.  But I fully expect him to take it in stride.  If not, well, then we will just deal with what happens.

The goal for the day is to get Franco thru the warm-up, into the ring and around the test with a good experience.  Nothing has to be perfect, it just has to be a good start.

Will let you know how it goes.