The Good, The Bad, & The Blue Ribbon Dismount

Well, I did it, I did my first show since falling off on schooling day at finals. There were some highs, lows, and heart racing moments. It was a very small show but luckily my barn mate rode both her lease horse and old lease pony so our division could run without being combined with the juniors. She didn’t do eq so I did have to ride with the juniors for those classes. Unfortunately, I do not have any media.

Let’s start with the good.

Ribbons with bag

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Finnley really likes the hat! Lol

Yep, we won champion for our hunter division! Saturday was interesting scheduling wise so we had a flat then 3 hours later another flat then 2 hours after that we jumped. It really was not planned out well but it got done. Our 2 flats that day were both eq (even though I was not jumping in my higher division I still did my eq OTF) and I was in with the juniors. My first one we ended up 6th out of 6 because Winifred just finds the walk a useless gait. He was actually pretty good but he decided to bust into the canter right were the judge could see. It was not dramatic. He got one stride before I got him back. The sad thing is that the exact moment I got him back the announcer called for the canter. I mean really if she had announced it literally one second earlier we would have been so slick! Lol. He did a trot step from the walk in the other eq OTF but the judge may have missed that and we ended up 2nd. He was not spooking he just sees absolutely no use for the walk. LOL

Our first time on course started out really well but then the damn long approach and we had a refusal. We just did not have a spot and I dropped my hands. I am still working on seeing a spot farther out and riding to it. Love Winifred but if you do not ride perfectly to the spot he is not likely to help you find it. On the good side we came right back around and jumped it beautifully then finished the last line nicely. Unfortunately, since there was a tack change I had to stay in the ring. We normally must take a mental break for Win but had to go right away. This means that he was ready to run! This time the course started with the long approach halleluiah it was gorgeous! I mean seriously guys it was in perfect right off the stride flow! He was hella strong though for the rest of the course but pat myself on my shoulder because I sat my ass back pulled and did not allow him to drop a single stride.

Sunday we only had one hack and it was clear to me that he was JAZZED up! It took everything I had to keep him under control but somehow we must have made it look good cause we got 1st and quite a few people told me how good he looked. Uh ok. We went right into our last hunter round without a warm-up. I am really proud of that course. It started with on a 5 stride on the diagonal (well a 4 but TS and I decided to make him do the adds to help keep him from getting even more jazzed), outside line in a 6, long approach to a single on the diagonal (which this time went super smooth), then to the other outside line in 6. When we first jumped that line even on schooling day he was concerned about the green box. Why though?!?!!? This I the same green box we have jumped a hundred times! Back to our Sunday course, it was our last line and he came around the corner wide-eyed and clearly backing off. This is the line that I am most proud of this weekend. I had to force him over that fence but then had to MAJORLY whoa after. I did it though! I still made him do the add and again it must not have looked as bad as it felt because we got 1st again. We did get a breather round before heading into our eq OF. I was incredibly disappointed in the course. Can we please have an actual eq course?!?!? The show was at our barn but it was hosted by a different barn so the course was not designed by TS or else it would likely have been an actual eq course. The course was just the single vertical on the diagonal but this time headed home, the other diagonal, outside line, then the single diagonal again but headed to the clubhouse like we had been jumping it, then ending on the green box outside line. I am still annoyed. SOOOOOO BORING!!!!

The course started good but then he grabbed the bit and tried to run to the long approach. I sat back and pulled and thought we approached at a good tempo but he slammed the breaks. I stayed on but I was frustrated because I swear to you I did not tip!! TS said that the spot was there and I softened when we got there but I did not then leg up. She said that when you are on a runaway freight train your instinct it to only hit the breaks and it is not natural to then hit the gas. Came back around and tried it again this time with legging him at the fence. TS said I rode that approach perfect but at that point Winifred was nervous and he refused again. This time though I ended up coming off. Luckily, I landed on my feet on top of the straw bale facing the judge so what do you do when that happens? You raise your arms in a gymnast fashion! The judge said that I received a blue ribbon for that dismount. Too bad I don’t have video!

Not the way I wanted it to end and I am still frustrated with myself but I am trying to remind myself that overall it was a positive experience. TD and I talked after and she tried to put it in perspective and be happy with the small things. She reminded me how the girl who had Win before me also had refusals but also very frequently dropped strides so me getting him to do adds is actually making him do 2 more strides in a line. I know that it doesn’t sound like a big win but I will take any win that I can get.

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To show or not to show…..

….that is the question. I just wanted to show you that I am a well rounded cultured person so I decided to get a little Shakespearian on you. Lol. I am really trying to make this decision though. I have had 2 jump lessons since my last riding post and I am really proud of them. Well, I am REALLY proud of the one and just regular proud of the second. Lol.

The lesson that I am REALLY proud of was on Friday. TS was at an away show so TD had to cover my lesson. TS is who most people think of as the “main” trainer at the barn because she is the one who still does the training rides and shows and because of that some people prefer to lesson with just her. I do love lessoning with TS but I also really love when I get to lesson with TD. Just because TD isn’t full time riding now doesn’t mean she hasn’t been there done that. She has a great show record but since they are sisters in this business TD focuses more on the management of the barn and not hardcore training aspect but she still knows her shit! Anyway, I really like riding with her sometimes because she sees different things than TS does. Plus I think that I emotionally connect with her a little more because I know that she has had some riding anxiety issues too. Like I said, she has shown it all but I think that she experiences a little anxiety like I do whereas TS is SUCH a confident rider.

Winifred was a little up because he hadn’t been ridden a lot while I was gone so of course my nerves were perked. We had the same super fun grid set up that we had a couple weeks ago (trot in to a 1 stride then to a 2 stride). Did the hunter course with that as our start and it went really well. Since he was so up we made him do the adds to keep him somewhat contained. He was pretty focused at the jumps but around each corner he was…..as J put it…..’animated’. Lol. I love the words we come up with when we want to describe a naughty horse without calling him naughty. As animated as he was on the corners and during his lead changes he became laser focused when he locked on to a fence.  J went then TD put some of the fences up higher and all the oxers up, looked at me and said, “ok I know that you have had some issues this winter but it is time to get over them now! You will do the same course and you WILL give me that EXACT same ride. The jump changes do not matter.”   And we did! Well… not quite the exact same. I did have a flub in the grid (thank you Winifred for being so damn athletic and saving our asses!). I was actually being too soft coming into the grid so instead of fully jumping the first fence he tripped over it but bless his athletic heart he was able to get us out without a single issue. TD said I could ride it again but I was so happy with the rest of the course and since it wasn’t my normal tipping issue I decided to end on that. I knew what I did wrong and it is an easy fix.

Tuesday we were back with TS. I was feeling good, Winifred was feeling good but then on our last line which was the diagonal home I made a critical mistake. We jumped in great but in my effort to be nice and soft with him I did not pull up fast enough to make the 5. We were clearly on a pace to do a 4 so I pulled up at our third stride and even when I did my thought was, “awe shit that was too late!” We ended up on the half stride, no big surprise there when your rider is a potato, and he slammed the breaks. I knew it was coming though and didn’t tip so I stayed on. TS knew that my thought was to be soft with him but she reminded me that you cannot be soft with him. If you are soft with him he will take advantage of you every time. Now I am not saying that you have to yank the crap out of his mouth every single time but you do need to have good contact and in this case more than just good contact because we were on the line headed straight for the exit. This is something that I know but I was so happy with how he had been I let that side of me falter just a little. I am happy though that I didn’t let it get to me. I gave myself credit for recognizing my problem and for sitting back so I didn’t fall off then I circled right around and jumped the line again this time taking control of him and doing the 5.

Now we return to the original question. We have a home, indoor show March 23-24th. Do I show? I asked TS after the lesson and I didn’t get the most positive answer. I got, “well what do you want to ride in?” She said that she was fine with me doing up to 2’3” but nothing bigger since we are just getting our groove back and haven’t done a ton. I was already questioning if I wanted to show because I do feel like we are just getting our confidence back and I am concerned that if it doesn’t go well I will be back to where I started. He is already a nervous horse, horse shows make it worse, and then indoor shows are even more terrifying to him. Let me change that, outdoor shows don’t really make him nervous he just gets very excited and when he gets excited his response is to RUUUUUNNNNNN! He loves jumping so much he just wants to get there sooner but that makes me nervous and that is when I tip. I just do not want to backslide just as I am making good progress. I talked a little with TD about this yesterday and she put me a little more at ease with first let’s just wait and see what the weather is like and second if we only do a warm-up class then, hey, we only do a warm-up class. What do you guys think? Should I risk the new confidence or wait until the show at the end of April show?

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This was us last year at this show. (Also hoping my pictures this year will be slimmer!)

Banquet 2018

I know that MHJA year-end awards banquet was back in November but I did not post about it. I am having a pretty crappy week and I find myself thinking about happier things so I thought I would remember and share that night with you. Even though we had some rough moments and were not able to ride in finals we ended up with some decent year-end ribbons: 5th Primary Adult Hunter (Winifred is not a hunter so this was a shocker! We missed 4th by only 1 point.), 4th Primary Adult Eq O/F, 6th Primary Adult Eq OTF, 6th Intermediate Adult Eq OTF, 6th Intermediate Adult Medal. Not bad for only 2 shows. (I did a couple more shows but only did the unrated classes.)

But even better than that was a fun night of getting all fancied up great friends. I always find it funny how hard it is to recognize some of my competitors when they look like “normal” people. Overall our bard did OUTSTANDING this year!!

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Some of my favorite ladies!
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For those of you who follow StampyandtheBrain my barn-mate in this picture will look familiar. Check out her impressive reserve with #notachestnut
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I know that this is weirdly cropped but I didn’t feel like asking everyone for permission to post this but I just HAD to show you how AMAZING our barn did as a whole!
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Weird side story from the night…… I received a text from a wrong number who was trying to win “me” back. He was confused by my response so I had to send a picture to prove I was not who he thought he was texting. LOL

Hello Again

I have not posted in so long because I did not feel like I had anything to post about. In reality, it is because I have been a little a lot disappointed in my riding. At last, I left we were on the struggle bus with me tipping and Winifred stopping.

Well, the stopping theme continued into finals back in September. TS was schooling us the day before the show and we continued to struggle. This time though there was something about the one line that Winifred didn’t like. Him hitting the breaks without me tipping was not something he had ever done before but there was just something about the diagonal line that he didn’t like. He refused the in, circled and got him over it, he then refused the out, circled and got him over it, then came back around and did them but he was nervous. He was fine with the other jumps though and TS assured me that I was not jumping ahead. Ok, she did say at the one I was about 2 seconds early but not enough to warrant a stop.

We then went to practice an eq course and when I rolled back to the out of the diagonal I did totally jump ahead. I landed on the other side and Winifred did not. Ultimately, it was not what I would say was a bad fall but bad luck for me. I blew my right knee out 7 years ago. I tore my ACL, MCL, meniscus on both sides, and dislocated my patella playing football (but, hey, I scored the touchdown!). I ended up having to have two surgeries to repair it. One year and four days after the incident I was playing football again and tore my ACL AGAIN! The surgeon told me that he could fix it, but the recovery would be worse this time and he would tell me to stop playing sports or I could live my life with a torn ACL (as long as my knee remained stable) and quit playing sports. Since it was stable, and the outcome was the same no matter what, I decided not to have surgery and I quit playing football and basketball. In the last 6 years my knee has slipped out maybe a handful of times but always went right back into place. I am generally sore for a couple of days but then it is ok. So back to my bad luck fall….. I landed on my right leg in a twisting motion which caused my knee dislocated. I straightened it and it went back into place, but I was not getting back in the saddle right then. TS asked my friend, J, to hop on Winifred to make him do that line again. Now J is by far one of the best riders in our barn. She has mad skills, especially with tough rides. I was excited to see her on Win and completely surprised when he refused with her too. (Not gonna lie I felt slightly vindicated that he stopped with her too!) Unlike me though she was completely unphased and forced him down the line after that without a single moment of hesitation after the refusal.

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My braider could not figure out how he pulled the end of his braid through like this! Special!

I was pretty sore the next day, but I thought I would at least see how my knee would hold up. I was already having trouble flatting. I could not keep my lower leg steady but still tried a couple of schooling jumps. Both times I landed my knee collapsed. I just was not able to hold myself up over the fence so I had to scratch finals.

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Even though we didn’t show I could not resist taking pictures of him since he was already braided.

I ended up taking two weeks off from jumping because my knee was just not healing up as fast as it had in the past. I guess that is from a combination that it was a pretty good dislocation and that I am getting old! When I started jumping again TS and I decided to go back to the basics to get both my physical and mental game back. I then took a couple more weeks off in October because I went to South Korea. When I came back we were still doing just mini-courses for a few weeks. Knowing that TS was also on board with me going back to basics really took the pressure off of me and brick by brick my confidence has been growing. We are back to doing full courses and just last week after a particularly technical course and TS saying that it was the best she has seen us jump in 3 months I asked her if we can start to raise the fences again. My next lesson is tomorrow so we shall see how that goes.

So, what am I doing to try and fix my riding????? The top thing I am focusing on outside of the saddle is my weight. Over the past 2 years my doctor and I have tried diet plan after diet plan after diet plan and all I have done is gain weight. I do have an auto-immune disease that affects my thyroid so that doesn’t help but my doctor finally threw up her hands, said that she gives up, and sent me to see a diet specialist. I have been on the new eating and supplement plan since 12/26 and I have lost nearly 8lbs! My new doctor thinks that she can have me down 125lbs by the end of October. I think that is a bit of a stretch, so I am focusing on smaller goals like being down 20lbs for Miami in mid-February and then another 30lbs for Thailand in June. Winifred is great and carries me well but there have been times when TS said I tipped when I really did not feel like I was. It hit home when she commented that I am top heavy so any little bit of leaning forward makes a big difference. (Please note that she was in NO way being mean about my weight, but it is the truth.) I have never been the skinny girl, but I did use to have an athletic body. Having Hashimoto’s definitely affects my ability to lose weight but so far, the supplement and food plan combination my new doctor has me on is helping. Fingers crossed it continues to help. Losing weight will improve so many facets of my life including riding!

Riding outside in Michigan in January AND a calm Winifred!?!? You will have to excuse my sniffles though but what do you expect in January? Lol

Rachel finally got her head out of her ass

Yes, this title is an exact quote from one of my friends regarding the show this weekend. This show definitely had some low points but O-M-G it has some high points!

I signed up to do both the Primary and Intermediate divisions. Just like the last show, the weather was supposed to monsoon on us so I was super excited about that!

I got drenched while flatting but it cleared up right as I started jumping, YAY! I can’t believe the luck I had with the ring all to myself! Our jumping was good but not spectacular. We had one scary moment on our last line. It was headed home and 2 strides out from the in Winifred grabbed the bit and even though I had a Thor-like grip my reins slipped out of my hands. TS even heard me exclaim….”SHIT!” It was a 5 but Winifred really saw the 4. By the grace of God, he must have felt me flailing up there to get my grip cause at the last second, he added a short stride to make the 5. Whew! Because of this I had a friend ringside the whole weekend with rubber reins in case I needed to switch out. God smiled down though and just gave us overcast weather! Yay!

Saturday my day started with Primary hunters. Our first round was really good. Win was nice and responsive which earned us a second. We only had 3 in our class, so it doesn’t sound impressive, but it was a great hunter round for Win. Our second course was not so great. Winifred decided that he wanted to run through everything. It was going alright until I whoa’ed a little too hard and we got stuck on a half stride. I asked him to take the long spot and he said, “nope.” Luckily, I stayed on and we finished the course, but, crap it was ugly. Intermediates went ok. After my flub on the outside line from Primary, I got a little heavy with my leg asking him to jump the out that I ended up lighting Winifred up a bit. Lol. Looking at the video it doesn’t look as bad as I thought it did. Our 2nd hunter course went eh. I have said it a million times and I will say it a million more, Winifred is NOT a hunter so I am happy with eh.

Sunday, again started with Primary. I had one hunter course and one eq. Our hunter course was ugly with a refusal and honestly, I still don’t understand what happened. I thought we were good then all of the sudden we weren’t. TS said that it looked like he was jumping up, but when he hesitated, I sat back so I would not go over his neck but then he started to jump again. This back and forth ended with us on the other side of the demolished fence. I took a deep breath and finished.

I was super excited about our eq O/F class since there as only 1 straight line. Rollbacks are Winifred’s jam! Too bad he locked on the out and our first rollback was ugly. The rest of the course was alright. Our eq OTF went well and we got 2nd.

For Intermediates, we had a hunter course, eq O/F, and our medal. TS and I decided to scratch the hunter class because we didn’t want him to get back on straight line courses again. Our eq O/F course was the same as our Primary course and all I have to say is “Why, Why, WHY DID NO ONE GET A VIDEO OF THIS COURSE?!?!!?!?!?!?!” Not even slightly joking it was the BEST course Winifred and I have ever done together!!! It was B-U-T-T-E-R!!!! Even TS was excited and said that we would be high in the placings. Much to our surprise, we didn’t even place! TD ended up telling me I got marked down for talking to him on course. For real?!?! I won’t even get year-end points for what was my best round! I thought we would do well in our eq OTF because he was so relaxed. We ended up 5th.

The medal course was even more fun than the eq course. There was not a single straight line!! It was tailormade for Winifred! It went great! Since he was in eq mode he listened to me for direction instead of locking on where he thought we should go. We got a score of 74 which put us 3 points behind 1st. Our test was weird. We lined up in the center of the ring, post trotted out of line to the judge who was standing in a pavilion, she asked us which bit we were using, then sit trot back to the line. I am surprised we didn’t move down in our placing since he did not want to trot to the scary lady! At one point his so straight up in the air that it completely blocked my view of the judge. Lol.

So that was my weekend. We had some not so great moments but the silver lining is that I didn’t let it get to me. I took a deep breath and finished my courses without letting my nerves take over and then transfer down to Winifred. With each course I got more and more confident which translated to 2 of my best courses. Hopefully, I can keep my head out of my ass! LOL

Gawking instead of grazing. Lol

June HR B Show

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!

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Love the slobber flying from his mouth. Lol
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The rain is not fun to ride in but it makes for pretty pictures. I kind of feel like he is posing for this one. 

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!