Redemption (sort of)

After the catastrophic end of last weekend’s showing my trainer (TS) told me that I would be showing again this weekend. This was not a show that I had planned on doing so it is a little sting to my budget but I agreed with her. This show was a rated show but not with either of the divisions that I am riding in but there was an unrated division called the Suitable Hunter. I honestly have no idea where the name came from but whatever. It was designed for those who are looking to step up from the Beginner division but not quite ready for something too big. In our circuit, the Beginners jump 2’ and no oxers. The Suitable Hunter division does 2’ verticals with 2’3” oxers.  It felt a little silly on my beast to do 2’ but hey after two nasty falls last weekend I will do whatever TS says I need to do to gain confidence back again.

Friday we schooled with a couple of my barn mates who also jump 2’6”. We did the regular warmup single together then TS told me she would finish them then lower the jumps for me. My barn mates finished then TS started to lower the fences. There was a lot going on in the ring and in the clubhouse and my nerves were building. To try to elevate my nerves I was telling myself how stinking small the jumps were but unfortunately TS didn’t understand was I was doing and replied “oh they are not that small. I am only going one hole lower than your norm.” To which my response was, “Damn it TS do you not see that I am trying to calm myself?!?” She laughed then got on board telling me that I could easily just walk over these. Lol.

Schooling went fine. Our first course started with a single on the diagonal then the outside line in 5. We ended up doing a 6. That line heads right at the mounting block where people are sitting and moving in and out of the ring so the first time down it he tends to back off a little. Since we added down that line I tried to add down the next line but Winifred said NOPE and I got caught behind a little. This is better than my tendency lately of tipping forward which gets me tossed so both TS and I were ok with it. Win, on the other hand, wasn’t as happy and played a little off the line which with my nerves meant that I circled before heading to the next line. Thank God TS is so patient with me!

Saturday came and all I had was the warm-up and one OF course. From the moment I got on to warm up, I could tell that Winifred was in a mood. Just great! This got my nerves to maybe an all-time high! Not even joking I was shaking by the time we got into the ring for our warm up. Later Kristen (Stampy and the Brain) told me that she looked at our other barn mate and proclaimed, “she is freaking out!” All in all we survived. Even though the fences were uber small he wanted to run at them but I sat back in an almost unnatural way and we got over everything. Our 2nd round he was up even more but it could not have looked that bad cause we got 1st. There were only 4 of us in the class and I got to see 2 of the other riders. They both did the adds whereas we did the strides. I am guessing that is why we won. There is one from our barn who is on a really nice seasoned horse and the girl is a good rider so if they did the strides I am sure they would have beat us.

Sunday it was like I had a different horse! We had our flat first and it was finally nice enough to warm up outside. I could not believe how calm and hunter-y he was! My friend Casey came out to watch us for the first time and she now thinks that I am lying about him being a psycho-pants. Lol. Casey and I grew up showing together and she has this weird ability to take the hottest hot head and turn them into a deadhead. I think even just being around her calmed him down and now she has to come to every show we ride in! He wasn’t quite as hunter-y in the show ring for our flat but he was a MILLION times better than he was last weekend in the flat. We ended up 2nd which again I was a little surprised with. I thought we would be 3rd or 4th just cause even being a good boy he just doesn’t move like a hunter. TS and I decided to scrap the warm up. He gets worked up the more he does and we tend to use up the good Winifred on the warm-up. He was amazing! I really feel like we earned our blue ribbon in the OF that day. And can we talk about how smart he is to land all of his correct leads?!? Thank you Kristen for the video.

We ended up with the champion ribbon! I am really hoping that I have learned my lesson to sit the hell back! I feel a bit redeemed but for full redemption, I need to complete a show in my divisions without falling off. Lol

As usual, TS was spot on with knowing what I needed to get my confidence back up. It was so heartwarming to have the support of so many of my barn mates.  Not only did I have so many of them there but all three of our trainers were at the ring to watch our rounds. I am so incredibly blessed!

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Such a good pony!

Win or Bruise

Do you want the good news or bad news first?

We had a show this weekend and let me tell you, I was both nervous and excited! My plan this year was to do the intermediate division but for some reason, no one signed up for the intermediate division for Saturday! Rude! Trainers S and D and I decided to do the intermediate classes on Sunday still but to also add in the primary division.

Saturday I had primary Eq OTF, primary U/S, primary warm-up (which was judged), primary hunter, and primary eq) OF. My classes went first thing in the morning with my over fences classes running first. He was SOOOOOOO good!!! Trainer S told me to feel free to add in the warm-up if I wanted but that we have been doing just fine with the strides. The course started on a long approach to a single on the diagonal then a 5 down the outside line headed home. I planned on doing the strides but for the first time ever I didn’t pull on him but got to stride #4 and went shit the 5 is going to be way too long so I had to package him up for the add. The problem with that is that he was ready for the steps on the next 2 lines but for consistency, I had to force him to do the adds. It must not have looked too bad though because we got 1st. The hunter course was a regular hunter course but starting on the other diagonal. Did the strides this time and O-M-G he was SOOOOOO good!! We took 1st again. Last over fences class was our Eq and this judge put together a super fun course! We got 1st in that class too! Wooo-hoooo!!

 

Super fun Eq course!
Super fun eq course!

Got into the flat classes and I lost my good boy. He just is not a fan of flat classes. Without having fences to concentrate on he tends to notice all of the scary things in life. We took 4th in both the U/S and the Eq class. I don’t think that the judge noticed his freak out in the eq class since it happened right below her judge’s observation box area. She did tell me after the show as over that I was one of the top riders until she noticed that we broke into the canter at one point. I am pretty sure if she saw the freak out she would have marked us down even more.

We finished early and would have loved to put him outside but it was pouring. The weather this weekend was awful with massive wind, rain, and freezing temperatures. Booooooo!!!! This meant no turnout and no lunging and all of that equals a psycho Winifred on Sunday!

Sunday I had both intermediate and primary with intermediate going first but not until the end of the day. God, I wish I could have lunged him! We had flat first this time. No one else signed up for intermediate U/S so we just did the eq. Since it was so nasty out we had no riding time before the class started. Winifred turned an bolted away from the clubhouse. The only thing I could think was that there was a guy standing at the window, but really?!?! He made quite a scene but I got him to go a little forward and just cut the ring short each time around. We ended up with a red and I was thankful that it was not an U/S class. His actions though made it clear that jumping was going to be a battle. 😦

He was very very strong and while I was able to handle him for our warmup and intermediate hunter and got 1st in both of those classes. The classes that I was looking forward to the most were intermediate eq OF and intermediate medal. Those are the classes that I was really looking to maybe get year-end awards in. The eq course started with the in of the diagonal, roll back to the out of the outside line, long approach to the diagonal, then to the other outside line. My course started great. My man loves himself some rollbacks! But he was getting stronger and stronger. The first 3 jumps went well although I was starting to fall into old habits and tipped slightly ahead at the long approach diagonal but when I did it again at the 4th jump Winifred said NOPE! I came down on my head and shoulder. But most bruised was my pride. Trainer S let me get back on to do the single diagonal jump but DAMNIT I did it again!! This time I must have really flown cause I flipped and landed flat on my back, which was actually more preferable to the first fall cause it was distributed evenly in my body. But now my confidence was SHOT!!! I admit, I cried. Not from the pain but from questioning whether I am a shitty rider who should not even be doing any of this! Trainer S was great and convinced me that I needed to get back on and complete a jump even if it was just a trot fence. I decided to scratch the rest of my day. Now, I wish I had at least finished the primary division but I needed a little time to come to that and by then the show as over.

I owe a big thank you to both my trainers and my friends for helping to pick me up after this but one of the best conversations that I had was with the judge after the show was over. I think it was the best because she doesn’t know me, she didn’t have to say anything to me but she saught me out in the clubhouse to tell me not only to get back on but that I had a good seat. That is when she told me about seeing him break into the canter and having to mark me down. She also said that she could see that he was not an easy ride but I seemed to handle him well.

Trainer S thinks that we just need to focus on sitting back but also getting a better pre-show routine. The girl who leased him before me used to give him Perfect Prep pellets for a week before the show then a tube of it each show day and lunged him a ton each day. This weekend I just used a tube of Smart Calm Ultra each day. Trainer thinks that Perfect Prep may be a better supplement for him. She also thinks that not having any turnout or lunging played a big negative role in his hyper-ness.

Sitting at the end of the day sharing a beer with my trainers and some other barn family, looking at all my blue ribbons and taking a mortin I realized that I either got 1st or I fell off. We all shared a good laugh when trainer S proclaimed that I don’t Win or Loose, I Win or Bruise!