Living only 30 min from the iconic Devon Show Grounds, I have been quite a few times every year to watch many of the shows that the venue holds. Of course every May I love watching the Jumping Grand Prix and Arena Eventing and every September I get to catch Dressage at Devon with all the upper level riders and breeders that travel in. This year I got the chance to actually ride in those very rings I had watched for so long. One of our local barns hosts an Amateur Dressage show every year, and it had been in the works for a couple of years now, but they finally got it to run at Devon. The entries for this show literally opened and closed in 8 hours. Very popular, and I was very excited to have signed up for both days of showing.
Devon Showgrounds is about an hour drive from my barn, so since I was showing for both days I ended up stabling Friday and Saturday night. I forgot how much work goes into packing for an away over-night show. I had lists upon lists of things to do before I pulled out of my barn Friday, thank goodness I took the day PTO or it would have never gotten done. The ground opened for stabling and schooling at 12. By the time I got the trailer packed, Montego bathed and loaded on the trailer it was about 2:30pm on one of the hottest days of the summer (Real Feel 99). He trailered beautifully, and I pulled into Devon at 3:30. Quickly unloaded him into his stall (one of the SMALLEST stalls I have ever seen) and checked in with the show registration. Got back to the barn, unloaded my trailer and truck into our grooming stall and set up both spaces for the weekend. We ended up being stalled in one of Devon’s more newly renovated barns which had a cross breeze that came in extremely helpful for the weekend.
After everything was unpacked, I got myself and Montego dressed to go school in the Dixon Oval and Wheeler Ring. Montego took it all in like an absolute champ. He strutted around those rings like he owned the place. He has had some anxiety in the past in crowded arenas with multiple horses, but seemed to have no issues this time around. We spent about 45 min schooling, catching up with some old friends in the warm-up rings, and walking around the show grounds before I got him all untacked hosed off and set-up for the night.
I was staying at a hotel super close to the show-grounds so I could do my own night check on him, but then also ended up paying the stable office to check on him 3 times during the night (10pm, 1am, and 4am). It definitely eased my mind a little bit knowing how small those stalls were that he would have eyes on him all throughout the night.
Saturday morning came bright and early for feeding and getting Montego ready for his rides. We had ride times of 10:30 and 11:00 for Training Level Tests 2 &3. The weather was actually surprisingly cooler after Fridays day from hell, so I was really happy that I was not going to over heat in my show coat. This was the first away shows that I did not have anyone in barn with me or a groom staying with me so most of the work and care of Montego was all me. I got Montego braided and cleaned-up right as my barn friends and parents started arriving to help me get ready for my rides.
I wanted to keep our warm-up short and sweet because Montego usually loses a lot of steam with too much schooling before his tests. Once he was quick off my aids I went in for our Tr2 Test in Dixon Oval and our Tr3 Test in the Wheeler Ring. I was extremely happy with both rides, but especially with our Tr2 test. I felt like he was really listening to what I was asking, and I felt like I rode my best dressage test to date. The judge clearly agreed because we won that class with a 70.12%. Our Tr3 class needed a little more suppling, but we finished 3rd with a 66.76%. Both were extremely big classes of 8, so I was really happy with both of our placings.