I know that I have said it before and I will say it again, I am a terrible blogger! It has been since May that I last posted and wow a lot of things have happened since then. I get so busy with life that I forget to sit and write but then I read blogs like HelloMyOlivia and I get inspired. (If you don’t follow her you should! Some might call me a stalker but in my mind she and I are great friends. Lol)
Quick and dirty before I get into details of the real fun stuff of our last show. At last I left you I had a small redemption from my shit-show. Since then we have been progressing in our lessons. I only fell off once (knock on wood!!!!) and it really was not dramatic. It has rained like crazy and our arena was pretty muddy. Winifred is a bit more cautious in the mud, we were doing great on our course came to the last line and he got super soft so I gave a little with my hands and BAM he slammed on the breaks! My history of falling on him has been because I tipped but this time all I did was soften my hands. I came SO close to saving it but in the end I came down, landed on my feet but then my calves cramped and I fell to my knees……..in the mud! Lol.
I then spent 2 weeks in Shanghai and had to miss a couple shows because of it. 😦 He didn’t get ridden much while I was gone so when I came back it took us a minute in our first lesson to get it together but it was mostly me.
Jump forward to last month and we had our first outdoor show. This show didn’t have my divisions but it did have 2’6″ and 2’3″ classes that we planned on going in. The 2’6″ division I was signed up for was open to professionals but I was not in it to win. I just wanted to see how Winifred would be in an outdoor show.
Thursday my TS and I planned on schooling over fences at 7:30pm so I got on to flat around 6:45. We passed the horses coming off the trailer, people unloading tack trunks, and giant white and yellow striped tents fine but OMFG the jumps in the field for Saturday’s derby were legit going to KILL him!! He was so bad that eventually, a friend suggested that I leave because he was getting dangerous. I walked out of the ring and waited for TS to arrive. When she did arrive I got the “wth are you doing on the ground look” until I mentioned the field jumps her face instantly dropped in that “oh yeah” look.
For the first time in my life, I asked my trainer to get on my horse. She agreed but I had to promise to get on him after. He was not happy to have her even get on him and she had to jump from the mounting block. He then would not move down the driveway but she finally got him in the ring and immediately went to a jump. She got him around the course. Her only words of wisdom was that he was nervous but once he is focused on him job he was fine. Our turn to go around and the jumps looked huge (turns out she put them a little bigger than 2’6″). We got around but we did have one moment over an oxer that I fought in my head over my spot. Winifred took over (thank God) and we survived but it was not pretty. I collected myself and we finished. TS was not happy with me that I was being indecisive about my spot so we decided to scratch my morning 2’6″ classes and just do the 2’3″ classes.
Friday we had 2 classes and I will admit that I was nervous. Our first course started on the quarter line headed right towards the field. I honestly was scared that we were going to crash through the fence because his sole focus was on the field jumps. We actually did jump it but then he instantly dived to the left. I circled, came down the outside 4 stride line towards home and he was great, then we did the diagonal headed to the field but the corner without jumps and that went well until we turned to the right and he saw the field jumps again. His entire body tensed. It was insane how different his body felt on the field end of the ring from the entrance end. We finished up but it was not pretty. Second course started on the diagonal towards the field jumps. He was focused on the jump so that was good but again as soon as we landed he dived left to get away from them causing me to have to circle again. We came down the 4 stride again and he was fantastic. He softened and relaxed and then my next move really pissed off TS. I stopped. I knew we were headed right towards the field again on the next line and having him at the entrance end so relaxed I wanted to end it on a good note. TS was NOT happy with me and I got a lecture about getting out of my head.
Saturday we scratched the 2’6″ again and just did the 2’3″ division. This division only had 1 class so I added a warm-up to get in the ring more. TS had offered to take him in a warm-up for me at the end of the day Friday but I told her that I was good. I changed my mind when I realized that on top of the jumps in the field the judge’s truck was now parked out there too because, oh yeah, it was raining! TS did her warm-up and when it was done I looked across to my friends under the tent and all I saw was their eyes wide and one even mouthed “I would not ride him!” To say that he was scary was quite an understatement! This did not calm my nerves. TS left me in the hands of our assistant trainer (AT), I am hoping because we had someone else in another ring but who knows it could have been cause she was that annoyed with me. Lol. I adore both TS and AT so I was not upset at all to be left in AT’s hands and to be honest it may have been the best thing for me. I love TS but sometimes I think I get worked up because I do not want to disappoint her, not that I want to disappoint AT but it is just a different sense. Our first course was to trot along the outside line toward the field then turn and jump the quarter line toward home. He was clearly still very nervous but we turned in a little early to the quarter line. Winifred kind of ran at the fence but I actually let it happen because I saw my spot about 4 strides out at that speed. The rest of our course went really well! I could still feel his muscles tense on the field end but I did my best to stop thinking and feel my horse. I received a lot of laughs from spectators with my multiple very boisterous “GOOD BOY!” as we went around the course. Lol. Even though I was the last one to go I had to come out after my warm-up so I could get a towel to dry my reins and gloves. Our actual class went well. We didn’t place great cause 1. there were two horses in our class that holy-shit-balls even on Winifred’s best day he was not going to beat them in a hunter class and 2. we did the strides down each line except one that he added on. I was doing my best to stay out of my head and I only wanted to have a smooth ride and hit my spots. The only thing I did not want was to drop a stride. Coming down our last line on the diagonal home he got so relaxed that his stride got huge! I realized about 4 strides in we weren’t going to make it to 6 if I didn’t do something and wow did he adjust and we made it! I don’t think my smile could have been bigger as we left the ring!
We got some great pictures from the show. I was close to buying a terrible one that I was close to buying just to document the struggle. Lol. The look on my face is teeth completely gritted, my back is arched, and you can see that I am pulling as hard as I can to turn him, his eyes are wide, neck is cocked, and his mouth is completely open. I do owe a HUGE thank you to TS (sorry I was “me”), AT for taking over and getting me through it, and a very special thank you to my barnmate (and friend) D. Honestly, I am not sure I would have gotten in the ring without her there to keep me as calm as I could be!