It was a 50/50 shot as to whether we were going to go to St. Georges, with thunderstorms/heavy rain forecast for pretty much all weekend. I wasn't in the mood to even risk hauling in a thunderstorm, much less riding in one. But, when I stumbled out of bed on Saturday morning, the forecast was cloudy, but rain-free for the morning, so off we went. The Google Maps app on my phone has finally figured out I like to take the backroads, since we moseyed our way down to the show on quiet country road. Except for the gigantic lake in the middle of the only road in or out of the stable, it was a peaceful ride.
We unloaded and I walked Royal around, letting him take in the scenery. They had the super fancy indoor arena set up as a backup show ring, so we ended up warming up in the little outdoor arena, which was still quite nice. There was a random chicken hanging around, checking out the new horses, but he didn't make a fuss. Royal was a bit fussy at first, but settled in with a half-serpentine exercise that evolved into a half-serpentine and circle exercise.
Earlier in the year, I had hoped to enter us in Training 1 & 2, but with all the rain and the pastures flooded, we hadn't had many chances to practice. So we did Intro A & B as a confidence and consistency builder. We first did Intro A, which I thought went well, albeit with a bit of spooking at the judge's gazebo. Still, I was very pleased with Royal. He seems to like the eggbutt Myler much more than the french link, so there was a lot less fussing with his mouth.
Then we had a hour and a half break until Intro B, so I let Royal graze for a while before getting back on for another warm-up. This time, we were the only ones in the warm-up, so Royal was a bit pent up. I let him canter himself out, repeating our half-serpentine to circle exercise, which proved more challenging at the canter.
Intro B also went really well, with Royal being a bit resistant when I asked him to bend right, but overall really well. Then it was a long wait to see about the placings, and continuing with the pattern from Carriage House, we placed in both our classes, and got the highest scores we've ever gotten. 71.875 (!!!) in Intro A and 69.688 (!!!!!!) in Intro B. 1st and 3rd, respectively. The judge said I was a tactful rider and that Royal has a tendency to get short in the neck. But considering they were our highest scores ever, I was very happy. And I was very happy about the consistency between the tests. Often, one test will go well and the other one with have us cartwheeling around the arena. But to have very similar scores in two different tests is a good sign. I was extremely pleased, if very tired.
Royal seemed no worse the wear on Sunday. I did some bodywork and while we was still tight in the neck and scapula (as usual), his back and hindquarters seemed fine. I'll have to work in his ribs a bit to open up the right side. But still full of energy. And apparently still had the piss and vinegar to tag-team with Bandit to take on a stallion that had broken into the pasture. They gave him a good what-for before he could be caught and moved into the paddock. He went home before too long, minus some chunks of hair. And Royal and Bandit earned their wrestling names: El Maestro Loco and Nacho Libre. We should make them some wrestling masks.