Easter Weekend Show – Saturday

Easter Weekend Show – Saturday

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!

36 thoughts on “Easter Weekend Show – Saturday

  1. Your first round was SO PRETTY!!!! And then I giggled at the speed-demon second round. A lot. Simon was all “WHEEEEEE THIS IS SO MUCH FUN MOM LET’S DO JUMPERS!!!!!” and I think it was hysterical that you almost got a 4 in the last line! Silly Simon! Very excited for Day 2 post!

  2. “It’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to look silly trying to move up because after a few times you’ll be on your feet and doing great” – Reed Kessler

  3. I think it is fine to be upset – it shows that you actually care. Your attitude about it was great though – as long as you can let go of your disappointment, you’ll go very far! Also grilled cheese + bacon? I guess I know what I’m making tonight!

  4. Nothing worse than going to a show thinking you are going to kick major ass only to be disappointed – I know, I’ve been there myself regularly. It never gets easier for me – I just try and take the good out of what happened that day. Had a similar time at our schooling show this weekend but with crappy judging. Hunter is difficult – it demands perfection and for us competitive folks, we thrive on that but it is also hard to achieve so there is a lot of let down. Looking forward to reading what happened the rest of the show.

  5. Haha, ok, totally been there. I think I showed for a year or two before I ever even got to sniff a ribbon.

    And the last line in your last video? It’s like the pony express and I kind of love it.

    I mean yeah, it’s all wrong for hunters. But it’s you and Simon stepping it up together. You aren’t afraid to gallop him and he’s giving you what he’s got. 🙂 You’re moving up and making changes and hey, you’re solid in the tack. Refinement (and satin) will come eventually.

  6. Oh I know the disappointment- but that warm-up round video is AMAZING. You are calm and riding SO WELL and so much better than you did a year ago. It looks like you just got a little *too* nervous/determined whatever in the second two and it kind of came back and bit you. You almost have to think less sometimes in riding… My philosophy is, by the time I get to the show, I can’t change anything- I just have to focus on my lines and that’s about it. Like steer the horse and let whatever buttons you have programmed do their job. If you try to ride “perfect” you end up messing yourself up. So I may go into a class going “Ok I still have a lot of work to do on my position but I’m not going to worry about it- just get straight and ride the course” and usually I do so much better if I think like that then if I go in thinking “I HAVE TO GET THE PERFECT DISTANCE AND LOOK PERFECT AND RIDE PERFECT AND BE PERFECT AND FIX EVERYTHING NOW!!!”

    Anyway, super nice leads in the first video too- he’s totally got them in him! Once you learn to balance and ask for the lead before the turn I think you’ll get them all the time. I always forget to do that too and then I’m stuck trying to force them when we’re already turning and that is never pretty ;P Point being- I think there are a lot of GREAT things going on here- don’t get discouraged! All you all need is more mileage 🙂 I still remember kind of scared Lauren who didn’t want to jump 2′ and look at you just attacking 2’6″ like it’s nothing! I am so proud of you!

    1. I think the quest for perfection is a huge part of what went wrong with my riding. Something not ideal would happen and instead of taking a deep breath and fixing it, I was like OMG THE WORLD IS ENDING I AM SO BAD. That is not a recipe for success!

      Thanks for your support. I too remember the days of being terrified of 2’0″ 😀

  7. At least you learned a lot! And moving up is sometimes (well, oftentimes) ugly. That was how my first 3′ show went. One super awesome pretty round… the rest were completely embarrassing. I had to giggle at the steeplechase round. Your first round looked lovely though!

  8. Thank you for being so honest in this post. Those feelings are feelings we have all felt, but a lot of times won’t admit it. And riders who have never felt this way? Then I dunno, maybe they are spoiled with packers from the start and have never brought a green horse along.

    1. One of my favorite poets said he always did his best writing when he was depressed, because it made him realize just how happy the happy times were 🙂 That’s a bit extreme here, but I do try to include the “bad” because the “good” seems so much better!

  9. It’s all part of the process, and while you were down during the show about your results, I actually kind of giggled through this whole post. Not that I find struggling funny, but I thought you did a really great job being honest about it without sounding pouty. I also really liked the Simon tongue out picture, even though I probably shouldn’t.

    I hope that doesn’t sound completely awful. Yay, Simon and Lauren for showing at all!

  10. You have a whole season to perfect it 🙂 You guys are doing great things (strides!! some changes!! higher jumps!!) and now its putting all those pieces together- you got this!

  11. Your first round is simply GORGEOUS. Absolutely love it! Sure, your last one wasn’t very hunter-like but you got the strides and he did what you asked. Finding a happy medium isn’t easy, and it’s so hard to blame yourself about every little mistake. But you know what you DIDN’T say? The height of the fences didn’t bother you. Now you’re concerned about getting strides and lead changes (and I saw a few clean ones!!!). You guys have come SO FAR in just a year, wow!

    Also please pass the grilled cheese and bacon sammich.

  12. Oh my god your trainer is a riot. “Oh. That’s a lot of canter.” We all have those days and I am the queen of unrealistic expectations (what do you mean my fat cow horse didn’t place as well as the fancy prancy warmblood??) but don’t be too hard on yourself 🙂

  13. This is at the expo center!!!! Will you be at the May 9-11 one? My horse and I will be 🙂 Simon is adorable and you guys make an amazing pair!!

    1. It is! I will not be showing that weekend, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I came to take photos and cheer on my barn. You’ll have to let me know where to find you 🙂

  14. Managing expectations can be the hardest thing to do! I try to set some tiered goals- one of them being something that’s easily attained. Disappointment is certainly there when I don’t win a blue ribbon in every. single. class but I can look a back on the day and still feel accomplished!

  15. I struggle with perfectionism, too. It’s such a demon, but it’s also a big driving force in wanting to improve. I think you went out there and really did what you needed to do for each class, you just overshot your marks a few times. 😉 Sometimes you have to visit all the extremes, so when you relax what is correct feels normal.

  16. The pendulum swings one way, then the other, then back again. So hard to find that happy medium especially at shows when nerves and pressure and hectic-ness get in the way. You and Simon both look very nicely turned out, looks like great weather, and I think its nice that you are honest with yourself about your disappointment and yet still were able to learn from the outing. =)

  17. I love galloping Simon.

    You both look lovely, and that first round is stellar! Good job on not being 14 year old Lauren for the whole weekend, too. 🙂

  18. As disappointing as you felt at the time it sounds like you learned a lot and the fact that you were able to “attack” those bigger jumps says a lot about the confidence you’ve gained in yourself, your riding and Simon. This is just another rung on the ladder. It sounds like you are still heading in the right direction. 🙂

  19. OMG – you made that look like so much fun!!!!!! I love that photo of you smiling … gorgeous! And I know you don’t want to hear this, I never do after I feel like I’ve shown poorly, but it looked like you and Simon did a great job! So you didn’t win, big deal. Look at what you DID do. Rock stars, both of you. :0)

  20. We’ve totally all been there. But at least it sounds like you were able to step back and learn something.

    I totally feel for you on trying to find the right pace to get the strides. Prince has a short stride so we always struggled to make it without adding. Usually we ended up galloping and then I tried to rein him in and we just got all discombobulated. So hard to find that perfect happy medium sometimes!

  21. Simon looked great in warm-up! Which means that the possibility for good rounds is there — you both just need to learn the happy medium pace that’s needed. And you’ll definitely get there… it just takes time 🙂

  22. Just look for a golden palomino with 3 white socks (that may or may not be going crazy lol). We’ll be showing in 2′ maybe 2’3 🙂

  23. I have felt down after every show I’ve ever done even when I’ve done relatively good. It’s a horrible way to be, but I think that we all strive to be such perfectionists. But you guys looked lovely in the videos! I loved your trainer’s comments. She was practically giggling with excitement in the first video that he did the lead change! haha

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