Today, Piper and I enjoyed a day at MRF Dressage in Nottingham, NH, at a schooling show. The facilities were perfect for the event. The environment was low key. The organisers and fellow competitors were all friendly and upbeat despite the warmth and humidity.
But, once again, Piper wanted nothing to do with the judge's booth! It took following Mary, another dressage rider, walking in front of Piper past the cute little gazebo in which the judge and scribe sat for him to find his bravery. Even then, it was with quiet snorts.
But, in the end, he entered the ring, did the test whilst avoiding getting too close to C (nearest the judge). But he did the test.
The second and third rides, he went past the judge without a lead, but with hesitation and snorts. Progress. And best of all, during the third test, he snuggled right up against C towards the end of the test without resistance or extreme coaxing.
Score wise, once again Piper demonstrated the dilemma. Scores were 67, 70, and 73. Granted, it was a schooling show, but the judge is "L" rated, so they should be fairly accurate within 5%. It is difficult for a trained rated judge to modify their scoring. Anyway, the dilemma. He doesn't always enter the arena. But when he does, and when he is good, he gets lots of 7's and 8's. 3's and 4's for spooking, 7's and 8's for when he is paying attention. He is one of those horses who, when he gets it all together, will get big scores.
To top of the day, Piper "self-loaded" into the trailer for lunch while I stayed to the left side of the ramp. Later, after our final ride, he self-loaded again, but then unloaded, reloaded, unloaded, reloaded, quite a few times.... I think he sees life as a series of games... But we didn't mind. It was the first time he had self-loaded at a show. More good progress.
Thanks go to Michelle and family and team for a lovely schooling competition. It was a pleasurable day out, and at just over an hour away, a venue we will visit again in the future.