We did it!!! Not only did we live through our first show, but we had a blast doing it! It was even more fun than I had hoped, and Addy was absolute perfection with everything we threw at her.
Manfriend and I got up at 5:20 so I could triple check all my gear before heading to the barn. I was very keyed up and energetic, manfriend less so. Poor guy was up before 6am on a weekend to go stand in the rain, I don’t blame him.
But we got to the barn around 6:30, and proceeded to wait for the teens to show up- apparently telling some 16 year olds to be somewhere at 6:30 means they’ll probs show up around 7am. But we got Addy brushed and gave her breakfast and put her saddle on to save us some time at the show. All my gear was already in the car, so we loaded the horses up and headed out.
[Side note: I’ve never seen a trailer like this; I had to walk Addy on and then back her into the very narrow slot. Poor girl was very confused and convinced she wouldn’t be able to fit, but was so sweet about trying to figure it out. After the first time, she was an old pro and backed herself in like a Tonka truck. Perfect trailering manners.]
We got there in the pouring rain just as the warmup was starting, so the assistant trainer hopped on to take Addy around a couple times for me. This was just simple caution on my part; it was Addy’s first time off property and I wanted to make sure she had a super confident rider on her in case she needed some reassuring. After taking her around and over a couple jumps, Addy was pronounced lazy and safe, so I hopped on.
I had forgotten how chaotic warmup rings can be! Ten riders all trying to jump, calling things out and passing each other. We actually did get into a minor collision (entirely my fault and I feel so awful about it, the other rider absolutely had right-of-way and I wasn’t paying enough attention), and while the other horse kicked out and got fussy, Addy just kept plowing and said I DON’T EVEN CARE GET AT ME. At least that’s what I imagine she was saying.
This was a brand new indoor, big bulky jumps, lots of horses, lots of noise, pounding rain on the roof, and all sorts of new sights and smells. And Addy certainly was looking around at all this with her ears pricked, but not once did she act up. She was perfect.
After going around a couple times we put her back on the trailer so she could munch on some hay, and we waited for our first division of the day- the 2’6″ Unrestricted Hunters. Manfriend, my lesson buddy, and myself enjoyed some wine while we waited, which may just be my favorite part of showing as an adult. We did end up missing our flat class since they moved it without announcing (oh well), but got warmed up outside over a couple crossrails before heading in for our trips.
[Another side note: this was Addy’s first time being ridden outside since about October. The ring was full of puddles, it was raining on her, the jump standards were big and spooky, and she. did. not. care. Like I said, perfect.]
I was really pleased with our trips! The lines were set a little short for us, but that’s nothing new. We did end up chipping out a couple times, and I got a couple flyers, but she covered my butt and kept trekking around the course. We did get a bit snowplow-ish and I didn’t sit back enough to correct that, but that was entirely on me. Our first round got 5th out of 12, and the second got 4th!!
Then it was time for her to go back on the trailer while we waited for our next division- the 2’9″ Charity Hunters. Originally we planned on doing another 2’6″ division but we decided to scratch since she was being so good. I felt fine going straight to the 2’9″ with her.
After a little more wine, we took her back out and got her warmed up again. Our trainer had me pop over a vertical a couple times, and then raised it up a bit. I asked if it was 2’9″ since it looked awful big, and she reassured me that it was- so we popped over it a couple times and figured out our pace. As we headed to the ring, Trainer admitted that it was actually closer to 3’3″, and gleefully announced that the 2’9″ would feel like baby stuff! The little liar! She was right though, 2’9″ felt like nothing after warming up over the bigger jump.
Our 2’9″ rounds went great! She was more tired by this point in the day, so our pace was a little more controlled down the lines. I still didn’t sit back and woah enough around the corners, but overall I was quite happy with my rounds- both earned me second place out of three or four (or maybe five? I wasn’t sure how many were actually in the class).
Honestly, she seemed pretty bored with the height, even at 2’9″.
Manfriend was awesome enough to video all of my rounds, so here they are all smushed together. The first two are my 2’6″ Unrestricted Hunter rounds, and the second two are my 2’9″ Charity Hunter rounds!
She even gave me perfectly clean lead changes without being asked! I almost never get those from her at home.
Then it was time for our flat class! There were only three of us in there for that, including a junior rider from my barn on her gorgeous junior hunter. It went about as expected- we do not have the nice long loopy rein that they’re looking for in the hunters. She behaved wonderfully, responded well, and even our downwards transitions were fairly smooth, but compared to the other horses in the ring we didn’t have the “look.” Also, we were lapping everyone at the canter, so that may have made us look less hunter-y. We took third out of three for that, but who cares! It was her first ever under saddle class and I was so proud of her for being such a good girl.
Then it was time to cool her down, make sure she had plenty of hay and water, settle the bill, and watch the juniors go in their 3′ divisions! We headed home, got everything cleaned up and put away, then gave Addy lots and lots of love.
A couple really cool things: this was our assistant trainer’s first time running a show solo as the main trainer (our main trainer was on her way to Florida for a judge’s clinic) and she did an incredible job. She made sure everyone was ready and warmed up when they needed to be, and was there at the ring for every single round to give encouragement, give tips as we passed by, and cheer for us at the end of our rounds. Everything went super smoothly and I got the attention I wanted, and it was entirely thanks to her organization and talent!
Also, a quick note on ground manners: I have a whole post on this waiting in my drafts folder. I just want to say that I have never had a horse that was easier to trailer than Addy was- she walked right on, stood happily, and walked right off without hesitation. She also stood for me to hop on, let herself be led by cars and trucks and strange horses, and generally was an absolute lady.
There were so many things going on this weekend that could’ve really thrown Addy off: pouring rain, first time in an outdoor for months, lots of splashy puddles, a new ring, new jumps, tons of strange horses running up her butt, a loud megaphone, and any number of other things. But she kept a level head the entire time. She’s the best!!
I couldn’t be prouder of my girl- this could’ve been her 200th time out instead of her 1st and I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. We had so much fun together doing what we love and hanging out with other horsey folk! A couple little girls came up and told me how pretty my girl is and how she looks like so much fun, and it put such a big smile on my face that other people could see it too.
I’m now so sore I can barely move, and I’m still exhausted from such a long day. But now I can’t wait for the next one! We’re ready for the 3′ and we’re ready for anything they throw at us. Because we felt like total rockstars this weekend.