I know my instagram was suspiciously quiet over the weekend and I’m sure lots of folks are looking for a show update. I’ll write one post for each day, but if you are looking for the overall synopsis here goes:
I came into this show with a lot of hope (read: unrealistic expectations) and I’m a very passionate person (read: extremely competitive). My horse and I stepped up a division and went from doing the adds to doing the strides, and there was some struggling. With 15-20 horses in each of my classes (19+ was double pinned), this show became a learning curve instead of a ‘yay ribbons’ show and it took me a day to mentally adjust to that. But let’s start with Saturday.
The previous day schooling, my trainer and I made a game plan to go for broke and do the horse strides with no adding for the first time ever in a show. When I hesitated and asked her if it would be better to add since I knew I could do it (red flag number one of my unrealistic expectations ribbon wise, ha) she said I would have a better chance of placing if I did the strides. Plus it’d be better for Simon and our progress showing. We knew that some of the strides would require a good gallop to get them, and in schooling my trainer said “I want to have to tell you to go slower!” because I just didn’t have enough pace time and again. Remember this piece of instruction for later… 🙂
Saturday morning started off with probably the high point of the weekend. We walked in to the 2’3″ warm-up with the plan of adding to start, but being okay with a very close add/chip. That way I could feel how much more I needed for my next course. The first line we chipped, but after that I heard my trainer say “just do the stride!” and it was awesome. I came out of the ring with a HUGE grin on my face and said, “Simon turned on his inner show horse!”
He really did too – changes, good jumps. I had this huge burst of excitement for the rest of the show. The video is a bit far away, but you can see some of the awesomeness after the chip in our 1st line.
After that, things got a little special. I went into my next round feeling super confident, and determined to not chip in any adds. The result?
We may or may not have galloped.
I told my trainer coming out that she diiiiiiiiid say she wanted to have to ask us to slow down! Mission accomplished. If you watch the video, her comments are kind of hilarious (and true).
After the galloping steeplechase course, we had an hour plus to wait until our 2’6″ class. Usually waiting is really good for Simon, and when I got back on I had a super relaxed horse… which is great! We are always trying to find a happy, relaxed mental state for him at shows. He’s not a dangerous, crazy Thoroughbred… but he does get very anxious and it makes him harder to ride. When I trotted into the ring for my 2’6″ hunter, there was nothing but calm, lovely horse.
Actually, a little too calm. See from the mornings “this pace is perfect” and then “this pace is too fast” I was really determined to find the perfect pace for my 2’6″ hunter and re-create that golden feeling from my warm-up round. But since this was both me and my horse’s first show at 2’6″ and first show doing the strides that didn’t go so well.
I don’t have video, but imagine me going to slow and chipping into every single and adding a bad chip in every line. Throw in some cross cantering amazingness too, and it was just oh so fugly.
And I came out of the ring oh so disappointed.
Disappointed in myself for not riding better, and honestly disappointed in Simon for not being “there” yet. The critique of my horse was not fair at all. I didn’t take it out on him, but usually I shower him with love after every ride and honestly at that moment I just felt a bit jealous of all the 2’6″ packers in my division with years of show experience and fancy breeding. I’m not proud to say that, but it’s true and it’s exactly how I was feeling.
I spent the rest of the afternoon giving myself a hard time and feeling discouraged. Looking back, I was so overly hard on myself and my horse. I understand that now, but on Saturday afternoon I wasn’t mature adult Lauren but instead 14 y/o child Lauren who just spent a lot of time and money for an exciting weekend only to feel quite let down.
Won’t dwell on my gloom and doom any longer, because I’m putting it past me now… but in the interest of honesty and chronicling our journey it’s written here. I spent the rest of my Saturday afternoon eating my feelings (grilled cheese with bacon, yes please) and photographing our jumper riders who did awesome.
Spoiler alert for Sunday – there are no amazing ribbons or redemption awards, but I did have a much better attitude and continued to learn a lot. More pictures and video tomorrow!