So as mentioned in the previous post, I was last minutely competing in a schooling show on a horse that I hadn't ridden in two weeks, with a dressage test that I hadn't worked on for much longer than an hour, and a husband and son that would have rather been left at home. But I like the security of my husband being there in case I die. Who else will drive my trailer home?
Katy was loaded fairly early in the morning but not before dawn. This was a new thing for me as I've never shown GAG and hadn't shown below BN in like... forever. 2-3am and the accompanying nausea was what I vividly remember from showing in my younger days. Speaking of those, I'd like to mention this was my first show since 1997.
So the goal for this was to basically survive. I know its not a seriously awesome goal, but I'm working on baby steps here and my brain insists on reminding me of the millions of ways I can die on a horse and doubting any skills I have despite contrary evidence. I have issues, I know. I've never been to Meadowcreek and what I recalled of it from my youth was that it was "harder" than Pine Hill. Well, thanks. So naturally my brain was thinking GAG = Prelim jumps. WHAT IF THERE WAS A DITCH UNDER A LOG. Oh wait, we've already jumped that and THIS IS GAG.
I seriously hate my brain.
Since I've never been to Meadowcreek, I punch in the address in my phone and we set out. It takes us about 10 miles the wrong way. I figure this out and re enter the address. It wants me to continue the wrong way. I look up the show site's website and it agrees with me and not the gps. Awesomesauce. We turn the rig and head back the other way. I recalled seeing something with horses so we go back there. Yup, that's it.
I pull in and pick a spot way away from other people so my husband and kid can throw the football or whatever. With the trailer parked, the horse tied to it, and grumpy hubby sitting in the truck, I head to check in. Upon arriving there, they have no idea who I am. Robbie is called in and they scramble to give me a number and are very apologetic. Again, I'm just happy to be there so I'm super agreeable like normal. I'm running last in the last group of the last division. So basically, the day ends with me. I've never experienced this with a horse show but whatever. Its all good.
I wait for my dressage time and head down with my horse fairly amped. Since there's a horse eating bridge to cross, I walk her on foot the first time to make sure we don't fall into the abyss and die before even doing dressage. She's blowing hard but we make it across without trolls or anything stopping us. I mount and start warming up on cross country for the dressage. Katy starts eyeing up the cross country jumps. The bit checker comes over and I have a moment of panic as she starts to ask me about my bit and I recall Katy's pesky habit of trying to freak out when people grab her cheek piece and/or anything that looks like wormer. Again, might die before dressage due to bit check. Luckily the person just asks me what it is and we go on about our way. I mentally make a list of things I need to work on before next time - that being at the top of the list.
DEATH BY BIT CHECK. No thanks.
We warm up, warm up, wait. Warm up warm up, wait. The numbers are getting close to mine and just when I think there's one in front of me... they swap the order for reasons I don't know. Huh? Oh well, I only came her to not die. Whatever. So after an hour and a half, its our turn. I've decided to just go for relaxed and ride Katy like a hunter. Just do the moves and move on. Relaxed and rhythm, doesn't sound too bad for GAG. We go down the center line and I notice Katy is freakishly straight heading towards the judge's booth. I salute and we keep on going. Again... perfectly straight. As we start to turn, I realize what's going on... ITS TIME TO JUMP THE DRESSAGE RAILS AND POSSIBLY INTO THE JUDGE'S BOOTH. Uh... what? I get her turned (it looks slightly mangled) and then she's locked onto the SIDE dressage rails. Awesome. We go back and forth with me trying to recall the test before she gives up on the idea. Finally. The rest of the test was rather unremarkable and our walks were awesome, the canter was pleasant, and by the end, Katy was recalling that she should be forward and on the bit. Nice touch old mare.
I get off and we go back to the trailer. Later (to my shock), I find that our dressage score was really not that bad and I think wow, that might be the highest I've scored at a show before. That was kinda sad but also yay :) Show jumping comes up and I manage to arrive WAY too early yet again despite trying to keep a better eye on things. Katy naps under the trees with my family near us in chairs while other horses wheel around out of control. I like having chill(er) horses sometimes. My butt goes numb and I try any variation of sitting in the saddle I can to keep feeling to my lower body. Finally it looks like my class is going and there are only a few before me. I don't' trust this, but now's as good a time as any to find out how Katy feels about flapping flag lines that line the jumping warm up area. Luckily she's only slightly looky at them, but much more focused on the proposed jumps in the area. Now? Now I get to play? I trot around quietly and we pop over the jumps in a systematic way with me watching the people showing. It looks like things are out of order again or something. I stop warming up since its uneventful and she's behaving, but now she's ready to go and won't stand still (not that I blame her). We walk a million quiet circles to keep her busy and happy until its our turn. The LAST people of the day.
My goal was to trot EVERY jump on the stadium course. I figured it would give her plenty of time to assess and me time to react. Katy had other ideas. The GAG jumps were boring to her. She wasn't to canter, not trot. I managed to trot #1, #2 but between #2 and #3 I tried to pull her back to trot and she was like ehhhhhh I got this, lemme go. She gave into me right in front of the jump and I botched her takeoff, causing a rail. At that point I was like OH FORGET THIS, and rode her like a real horse. We finished the rest of the course easily and headed over to cross country right after.
I let her walk easily to the course and noticed a fair amount of ATV type of activity but whatever, score sheets getting picked up, dunno. I was happy we were doing things decently and not dying. As I sauntered my mare around the water jump (barely keeping her out of it), someone comes over to me in an ATV and is like, you schooling? I was like uh... no? show? And she was like oh no....
They'd pulled all the jump judges thinking they were done for the day.
I shrug and agree to let them follow me in the ATV and score my jumps instead. No big deal. I was hoping for a run down on how the "new" start box rules were but instead it was vague and I just laughed. They gave me a 30 second countdown rather than the "now" I'd requested so that was naturally more circles to keep Katy happy. We started the course and Katy did great. The ATV trailed us and I let the mare do her thing while I tried to push any of my concerns about "this fence and green horse here, this fence and green horses there" out of my head. It worked and about mid course I found my legs and heart rate were horrible feeling. When did this get so hard?
I ended up letting Katy pick the pace and riding one handed with posting canter for most of the course, gathering up the reins for the jumps and letting her back out after. She didn't even look at a single thing, which was a bit alarming as there was brush, fake ditches, and things she COULD look at but nope. Nothing. Over and done without any issues, despite me riding like a sack of potatoes.
We crossed the finish and I remembered how fun it was yet again. Katy had done a great job and we hadn't died. I was sore and out of shape though which was the most concerning part. Luckily my horse was in much better shape and she came back down to resting quickly. We waited for the scores as we packed things up. I ended up in 5th place I believe but would've been 3rd if I hadn't knocked that rail.
Suddenly not dying didn't sound like the best goal at these things. Until next time!
So things have changed around here, again. Erica has moved on to other things suddenly and it all happened the week before heading out to the show. I'd been riding Piper 5 days a week to make sure she was ready but Erica was dropping off noticeably. Its fine, but the last minuteness meant I was left scrambling a bit.
I'd already paid for the show. I wasn't sure I could jump the bouncing pony over Beginner Novice things considering I'd never really jumped her. Ever. Figuring it out the week of the event seemed like poor planning. Robbie at Meadowcreek was exceedingly nice and swapped Katy for Piper and BN for GAG so I knew I could survive the show and possibly even enjoy myself. So with 2 days to prep and a horse that hadn't been ridden in 2 weeks, I hopped on her and tried out the dressage test. We did okish and my brain seemed to grasp the new test decently well. I gave Katy the Friday off and we loaded everything up Saturday morning to head out.
So yeah, I'm riderless which is fine. I hadn't realized how little I was riding and therefore how much my brain was freaking out about riding all the horses once again. Its so nice to have someone else ride and you can tell them what to do a la puppeteer to figure things out. I've never had that before, so it was a bit addicting as its easy to doubt what you're feeling when you ride alone.
I will admit this is making me re prioritize things (granted that I should have pushed myself to do sooner), but that's not a bad thing I've decided. So while I enjoyed having another horse person around, I once again have been reminded its really my path, my journey and I need to shape my focus around that and keep at it.
Baby Piper Horse Update!
We went back in for (another) body violating ultrasound - this is according to Piper's reaction each time. Found a heartbeat and I tried to take a sneaky ninja video even though I didn't have to be that fast.
AWKWARD PERSONALITY MOMENT.
So yeah, *cough* I got some video and if you watch the blip, you can see the flashing part. That's the heartbeat. :)