I have been attempting a write up of the show this past weekend for 3 days. I can’t seem to recap 3 days of stuff without hashing out every little detail, so this will be broken up into 2 parts.
-we got there around 3:15
-I was a little horrified at how many people were there
-Our warmup didn’t go awesome. Which was a little disheartening seeing as we were riding at 7am on Saturday. I seemed to have forgotten that while Cho isn’t BAD at shows, she is looky and can be very…evasion spooky. I never really felt like I got her full attention.
-Up at 4
-At the show grounds by 5
GOOD MORNING CHOFACE
-feeding, watering, braiding, grooming, tacking up
-On by 6:25 (slightly later than I wanted to)
-Repeat Friday’s warmup.
(That whole “bad ride before the show = good ride in your test is not true)
Here is the problem with shows and me: I basically forget everything I know about riding, warming up my horse, getting my horse through, suppling my horse, etc. No matter how much time I leave for my warmup I feel rushed. I’m too afraid to take time in the walk and at the halt and doing things slowly and quietly because what if I run out of time?! This is especially bad for my first ride of the weekend.
Obviously this isn’t logical, because that is what we do at home to get Cho where she needs to be. I know this is not logical. I do not have a brain during these times, however, so it doesn’t matter.
It’s also hard to do all of that when she too has show brain. It’s not like I can get her to give me a nice, relaxed, stretchy walk to warm up, because she is too damn busy not walking past like 7 things around the arena.
And, we just don’t do this often enough to have a warmup plan in place. I LIKE TO HAVE A PLAN. “Freaking out” is how I operate until I get through at least one ride.
Oddly enough, once I am riding my test I’m fine. I focus on what we are doing/what we need to do. I ride what I have and do what I can. I don’t get stressed out when I screw something up because we need to be thinking about the next movement.
I thought we’d be ok after our warmup, but apparently I didn’t quite get her where she needed to be. She didn’t have that push we need in the canter – we need the canter where SHE is going, not where I am pushing. If I’m pushing, she’s not sitting and collecting, and basically the medium to collected is shot, and getting through the counter canter is also shot.
I also went off-course. First time for everything, and it was bound to happen sooner or later. I forgot the first 10m canter circle, which no one is surprised about. If I forgot anything going through the test in my head, it was that. In the test I thought, “wow the counter canter seems to come up really fast, shouldn’t there be some sort of prep for that?!” Yes, yes there should.
Sadly the counter canter BEFORE forgetting was good. After, we broke into a trot early.
I watched the test when I got home and despite not having that trot with impulsion and her THERE with the canter, it didn’t look bad at all. Not nearly as bad as it felt!
We scored a 54%. Everyone asked me how it went and I’d say, “oh it went ok” or “It went fairly well” but as soon as I added “but I went off-course” their faces would fall like it was the most terrible thing that could have happened. And then I was reassuring them. “It’s fine. It’s our first time out at this level, we just have some things to work out and improve. And I’ve never ridden without a reader…but I won’t be forgetting that 10m circle anymore.” I was probably the least upset person about forgetting that circle.
I decided that we needed to school again in the afternoon. We definitely needed to establish that yes, it is time to work and no, that is not acceptable behavior. It was supposed to be a short and sweet schooling session. Cholula had other plans.
“I DON’T LIKE THAT DUMPSTER
PILE OF STUFF
THE FACT THAT THERE IS A CREEK OVER THERE
THAT SMALL HOLE UNDER THE RAIL
EVERYTHING ON THAT SIDE OF THE ARENA”
Ah, that moment at a show when you need to have a Come to Jesus with your belligerent mare but you’re at a show.
Every time we came around to the far end of the arena, she’d grab the bit, drop her shoulder, and run past it…about 10 feet off of the rail, no closer. And, of course, until I got her focused on me and not spending all of her energy evading everything I threw at her via “spooking,” we weren’t going to accomplish anything.
So with a gritted teeth smile on my face and the assistance of my favorite spurs and whip we worked through all of this until we could actually school our 2nd level work. And then she was great! We did all the things!
As it turns out, this worked really well for the next day (which was my hope). So, note to future showing self: Get all of that worked out before you try to ride a test.
Sunday was a whole new level of special…more on that later.
I SEE YOU ARE IN THE TACK STALL, EATING SOMETHING