My goal for this show was to have a calmer Simon (and a calmer me!) throughout the entire experience, and I am thrilled to say that we blew past that goal and ended up reserve champion in the 2’3″ Equitation! Wut wut!
That’s the high level overview. If you want to skip the rest of the words of this post and just look at pretty pictures, that’s totally fine by me 🙂
We’ll start with schooling on Friday. I headed over to the barn where the show was being held Friday afternoon to meet my trainer with the horses. There was one other barn schooling, but otherwise the showgrounds were fabulously quiet which was great for nervous nelly Lauren & Simon. I walked around a bit, and headed to the grass ring where we would be showing. It was all the way down the hill of the facility, which is nice because the only distractions around it were a few horses/golf carts lingering outside. The course was already set for the next day, and we kept schooling short and sweet. Some trot jumps. Some trot in canter lines. About three courses and then I told Simon he was a fabulous creature, hosed him, and tucked him in for the night.
One luxury of getting stalls at the show is not having to get up at the ass crack of dawn to go school in the show ring with a million kids and ponies that alternate between manically giggling and sobbing to their parents. With that in mind, I slept in till 8:00am and headed to the show grounds at 9:00am to lunge my creature.
If you remember from my last show, one of my take-aways was to not let Simon fool me on the lunge line. He likes to be all “oh I’m sooooooo tired I could neeeeeeever be bad” and then I get on and he’s all WHAT UP HORSE SHOW I’M SO ENTHUSED TO BE HERE YO!
I didn’t let that happen this time.
We spent some quality time trotting on the lunge line before I got him back to the barn and made him look pretty.
After some “sit down and force myself to chill the f out” time, it was time to get on and head down to the ring. I was a nervous wreck, but Simon felt pretty okay. My trainer had us do a quick warm-up with some trot jumps, cantering a line and then halting, etc.
After a few jumps she wanted us to practice a lead change down the middle. I tried, but I felt 0 change potential from Simon. He just counter cantered around like “lookie I am sooooooo calm” and I kind of made the decision to just do simple changes that day. The footing we were showing on was grass and extremely dry/cracked in some places. Simon isn’t amazing at home on the grass (trips more) and I don’t know if he felt secure enough to try and change? Either way, I okayed with trainer that I would do simples and focus on calm and listening. If he offered a change great, but I didn’t want to make a big deal about it.
My brain though, wanted to make a big deal about everything. My trainer knew I was nervous, so she reminded me to breathe. I was in “the zone” and said, “Okay I will breathe in every corner” without realizing how silly of a comment that was. A barn mate laughed and was like, “Well that’s a good start but you should probably breathe more than that…” I laughed too, and that helped me relax even more.
With that in mind, we went in the ring for our warm-up. For literally the first time in my life, I cantered up to the first fence and thought “Okay, heels down and keep left leg on” instead of “OMG THESE FENCES ARE SO BIG I AM GOING TO DIIIIIIIIIE”.
I am not exaggerating when I say that.
And you know what? When you are not worried about
death the size of the jumps, you tend to ride better. Who knew?
Warm-up went well, so we waited for my barn mate to do his round and then went in for Hunter I.
We survived that too. I did my best asking for the lead over the fences, and he got it most of the time… which is pretty good considering this isn’t something we have worked on a lot. This was our “worst” round, because someone was lunging a horse at the far end of the ring behind the trees. So he was a bit distracted when I asked for the simple change there, and it took a while to get it before our last line coming home.
Hunter II was my favorite course I think. He landed on most every lead, and just really felt like he was calmly loping around the ring. In each trip we had, I did my best to remember to breathe and actually enjoyed myself when I rode! Usually I am not “that was fun” until after I’m off the horse and my nerves are over 🙂
I had to take a bit more of a breather than normal before Equitation, and probably held the show up for a minute or two… sorry! The heat was pretty extreme and I didn’t so much want to pass out on course. I didn’t, and we had another nice round.
This is getting long winded, and I’m going to do another post entirely devoted to our two under saddle classes… for now all you need to know about the under saddle is that they were silly as hell. My horse is a goof. We have some stuff to work on.
Thankfully, my trainer made me do them both (even though I pouted, ha) and that’s good… because I got two 6th places (out of 7, and that was generous believe me).
Why be excited about 6th place? Well, when they called out the ribbons I got a first in the 2’3″ Equitation over fences as well as a 5th in one of my hunter rounds (I believe Hunter II). The 1st in Eq OF combined with the 6th in Eq US was enough to get reserve champion in the 2’3″ Equitation division!
There’s my long winded wrap-up. My only regret from the show is that I didn’t get a picture of Simon with his ribbons. I got the reserve later in the day, and we didn’t think about it until we were loading and at that point I was hot and exhausted and my pony wanted to go home.
So basically it was the most fantastic day ever. It made me (and my wonderful photographer/horse show husband) all warm and mushy. I can’t wait to feed Simon the rest of his bag of carrots (he got 1/2 at the horse show) when I go to the barn on Tuesday. Love that nerd horse.