Sunday morning was blazing. Both Dads came down by 8.15 and prepared us to go out. Dad could hardly move his left arm following an allergic reaction to Friday's horse fly bite; it was a very interesting colour. Neither Dibby or I had stable stains which made it much quicker to get ready. We were groomed and kitted out in our travelling boots and tail-guards and travelled in our lightweight cooler rugs.
We arrived at Solihull by 9.20 in plenty of time for my first test at 10.40. We were parked so that Dibbs and I could be tied up in the shade of the lorry. I'm glad we were parked in the field since a large carriage driving competition was going on on the cross country course, which I found rather alarming.
I wore my double bridle at first. We warmed up well and I went in for my CRC Walk and Trot test for beginners. It went quite well and we ended up in sixth place with some constructive remarks on my sheet and 64.02%.
Then Dibby did Prelim 1. I think he did it very well. We went back to the lorry and my double bridle was exchanged for my snaffle. For what I thought was an excellent test, Dibby was was awarded 58%. Some judges don't appreciate the way of going of some cobs, it seems.
When I was warming up for the Prelim test I had trouble sustaining my canter on the hard ground. We considered withdrawing then, but decided to give it a try. The test began well, particularly my canter on the left rein, but the canter on the right rein started on the wrong leg and when Dad took me back to trot to correct it and pick up canter again, I slipped and broke, so he completed the last few steps in trot. The rest of the test went Ok with what we thought was a respectable walk on a free rein and finish. The judge didn't seem to agree and also gave a spectacular 2 for the second canter. Dad gathers that a mark as low as that is not often awarded at Preliminary level. It certainly wasn't particularly encouraging in our very first Prelim test in competition. Our overall score was 50%. At least we earned one rosette from the outing (albeit a sixth) and Dad was very pleased with my attitude and behaviour. Other Dad was also pleased with Dibby and that he seemed to be sound.
After seeing how hard the ground was Other Dad decided to withdraw Dibby from Prelim 12. He has an appointment to see the vet tomorrow and Both Dads were concerned not to make him feel worse.
We went back to the lorry and our tack was removed. We were put in our cooler rugs and given some treats and our haynets whilst both Dads had a cup of tea and collected our sheets.
We went home by about 12.30 and were hosed down to cool before being put out to graze. Dad put up our beds whilst Other Dad sorted the lorry and made up the haylage. They then went home to cool off and rest for an hour or so.
Dad came back first. By this time I was having trouble with the horse flies and cantered over to the gate to ask to be brought in. Dad brought me in to stand by my stable in the cool whilst he put down the beds. He also hosed me down again, since being black, I had absorbed a lot of heat that afternoon. When Other Dad came down he brought Dibby in and we were put in our stables and given tea. It had been quite a long day. Dibby and I do enjoy going out to parties. It's very disappointing when judges award low marks, but it's necessary to dust oneself down and carry on and try to improve. As Scarlet O'Hara said in Gone with the Wind : "Tomorrow is another day"; resiliance is also very much a cob thing.