Horse Age: 8 years
Rider: Serge Vallant
Rider Age: 25 years
Show: SlightlyMad's Third Annual All-Showjumping Show
Slightly different style of shading to cope with the horrid sketchbook paper. I think it turned out rather nicely overall, although my poor tail braid has basically no detail... Along with my cypress trees. Ah well. I do love the behind angle jumping shots. They are much more interesting to draw and excute.
Shaking off the winter flab was a difficult task for Serge after the cold, snowy winter the Annapolis Valley had gone through the past year. The cold, fluctuating temperatures had made it difficult to maintain any sort of regular work over the past few months. As a result, Serge had gotten a bit lazy, his days off filled with snacking out of boredom and binge watching his favourite shows. While he was still driven by competing and winning his competitions, the actual task of getting back to work was a chore for him.
As the weather turned enough to train on a regular basis, Serge began so reluctantly, back under the tutelage of Tanya. Not a fan of flat work, or dressage, especially of the walk trot, with lateral work, variety, he found it especially hard to focus. Add in a mount which had the attention span of a goldfish and it was a difficult first month back under the strict eye of Tanya and her demands for absolute correctness of aids. He came up with some choice phrases and names during this time; both for his instructor and his mount. He was careful not to let Tanya hear him however. He shuddered at the thought of her even knowing what he had come up with to have his painful lessons easier.
But once Rivo and himself had themselves back into shape, the training became better and his hatred towards his training periods lessened. He and Tanya worked hard on extending Rivo’s focus. This was the most necessary part of the training to ensure that he could compete with the stallion at higher levels. He had learned from experience that nothing was worse than coming up on a four-footer and the stallion slamming on the brakes at the last minute because he wasn’t paying attention to the task at hand.
With this in mind, he and Tanya had decided to take it slow at the beginning of show season, with just a few Grand Prix level shows. The goal was to settle the stallion into showing once more and being shuttled into areas with many levels of distraction. Tanya had chosen a well-known show with multiple classes. SlightlyMad’s Third Annual All Show Jumping Competition had a good reputation, and she was confident that Serge and Rivo would benefit greatly in the experience of entering.
And so, the two were shipped off to Italy to start off their (hopefully) successful show season for that year. Meeting up with them in Italy was Victoria, Katrina, with Fantasie and Colada. They had gone earlier to the Netherlands to compete in a dressage show and had agreed to meet with Serge for support and to give him a hand in his preparations. Well, moreso Katrina than Victoria. Victoria had preferred to be as far away from Serge as possible since an incident near the beginning of his hiring period at Eagle Crest. Some signals had been crossed and unwanted advances were decidedly turned down in a way that still made Serge blush.
“Are you ready? You’re due in the arena in an hour. You should be warming up.” Katrina poked her head into the makeshift tackroom that had been assigned to both them and another stable. She peered at Serge, where he sat perched on a brush box, yanking his boots on. “Yeah, I just gotta pull on my helmet and find my number. Is Rivo ready to go?” Leaning over, he snagged his helmet from where it was perched on the tack box and stood to follow her.
“Of course. I just have to put his bridle on.” She handed him his number and kissed the stallion’s nose as she approached the crossties. “Just a few minutes and you’ll be ready to roll, won’t you.” Katrina crooned as she coaxed the bit into his mouth, before leading him out to the mounting block.
“He seems pretty alert and focused today.” She continued as Serge prepared to mount.
“That’s a good way to start the day.” Serge hummed with a grin. “I was a bit worried that he would be wildly distracted with all the comings and goings. We’ll see if that continues throughout the class. That will be the challenge.“ He chuckled, feeling a bit nervous, but confident in his riding and the work that they had put into the past few months, his cockiness was coming back full force. “We got this, don’t you worry. After last season’s decent finish, there’s only one way to start this season. On top.”
Giving Katrina a cocky salute and gathering Rivo’s reins, he nudged the stallion towards the warmup arena. Time to warm up and make sure he had Rivo’s focus completely before their number was called. They had a Grand Prix to conquer. It was time to shine.
Show Jumping 048