First off, thanks everyone for their encouraging comments yesterday. I didn’t get a chance to reply individually to all of them (crazy trying to get ready for vacation and work and life!), but I really appreciate all the support. I am feeling much better about all this! Now, back to day two of the show.
Sunday morning rolled in, and I wasn’t exactly feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed. My throat hurt, my head hurt, I was nauseous from worry and I didn’t sleep much the night before. I briefly thought about scratching everything left, but I couldn’t end the show on me falling off and giving my horse a bad ride. I had to push all of that aside, and ride him as well as I could.
We made it to the show, fed the horses, and settled in to watch some of the 1st class – our local circuit’s 3′ Medal Finals. The medal finals goes in the jumper rings with all the jumper jumps up, and the course was the same as my one and only jumper course of the day. Watching was not particularly soothing though, because almost everyone I watched had multiple stops. It was the first medal finals I’ve witnessed that literally said, “Anyone who didn’t have a refusal stand by to test.” Did not help the nerves at all.
When it did come time for me to get on to warm up, Simon walked halfway into the warmup ring and spooked sideways so big that I almost came off. It was not an excellent start.
He did settle, but my nerves were killing me again. I knew I had to sit up and ride forward, but my body was not working with me. My legs were sore from yesterday’s riding, and my brain was telling me “Slow is safe! Slow!” with every fiber of my being. The class was speed, so at least there was no jump off course to memorize. I went in with the plan to ride deep into my corners, and go FORWARD!
I wish I could tell you details of this course, and about how we made this amazing recovery… but I don’t remember them. I remember being terrified. I remember Simon feeling a bit concerned about everything, for the first time ever. I remember a lot of close distances, and pulling a rail. In the two stride combination, I “played it safe” and let him add. It wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t a disaster either. We rode deep into the corners, and made it over the brown oxer we crashed the previous day without poles flying in every direction.
There was a bending line to the one stride, so I would have to sit up and drive to the one stride in order to not add before it, and then drive through the one stride in order to make it out. We did well at the jump that started the bending line, but then I didn’t sit up and drive. I saw the one stride and went, “OMG WHAT WILL HAPPEN I HATE THIS” and just froze. So our pace died out, and we chipped to the one in a very massive way (with me leaning) taking a rail. Then my horse seemed to say, “What do I do now?” and I kinda went “Please jump?” and that sweet creature trotted out with basically no momentum and cleared the 2’9″ oxer out.
I swear, I spent half the course patting him and going “Gooooooood boooooooy” loud enough for everyone to hear me. He saved my ass time and again, and I wanted to know he was being super good despite his mom being so scared.
After the in and out, we had one jump left – a very normal vertical headed home. We went quite forward, and hit it with a good pace. At least the course finished on a nice jump. While there were no stops and I stayed on the whole time, it was not a good round. We looked like your stereotypical scary local low level jumpers, but I gotta put that behind me. The important thing is that we made it over everything, and I hopefully got back a tiny bit of my confidence. Mostly, I want Simon to know that he’s good and he did the right things.
Sunday I had an eq and a hunter course planned as well, but I scratched them. He saved my butt so much, that I wanted to end on that last good jump and stuff him with cookies. Also, my nerves were just shot.
One fun thing was that Kristen from If the Saddle Fits stopped by the show just after I finished Sunday. We got to chat, get to know each other better and hang out while we watched my barn riders go in the jumpers and then hunters. Always love meeting fellow bloggers!
Anyway, it was not the year end show I had hoped for. Shows like this are part of horse showing – it all can’t be winning or personal victories. At this point, I’ve stopped being down and pouting about it and instead am re-evaluating some of my goals/plans for next year. I probably need to scale it back a bit, and have fun fun fun in heights I’m comfortable with at less expensive shows.
Horses are humbling. Horse showing even more so.