I’m dashing off this show recap as quickly as possible, so I’m gonna stick with the key points (the madness is almost over! Only one more week of this infernal training).
- Showing with a friend is actually the best thing ever. When I slept through my alarm and panicked, she made sure my horse was fed and free lunged her for a bit so we wouldn’t be late. We were able to compare notes on how best to ride the course, which we learned together. We clapped and cheered for each other, laughed about our goofs (mostly my goofs, she was an absolute flippin’ rockstar), and were able to be crazy horse girls in peace. Once we were done, we got comfy with some cider and chatted while watching some other divisions run. So much fun!
- The outdoor ring was super huge, but all the jumps were set up kinda in the middle, so there would be a four stride outside line and then A HALF MILE AROUND THE END to a single diagonal and then THREE AND ONE QUARTER LEAGUES to the end of the ring before coming back up a different line. It was kinda ridiculous.
- You know the song “Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks? Pretty sure that was Addy’s theme song as she trucked around that ring. Or maybe “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen. There was more than one occasion where I considered using any means necessary to pull up and exit the ring, because I had zero control of our speed. I ended up steering towards the jumps to use them as speedbumps so we finished all of our courses, but it was a bit insane. I didn’t feel unsafe at all, just mildly curious if she would actually jump out of the ring and never stop. Like, ever.
- When I voiced my concerns to Assistant Trainer, she gave me the best pep talk ever. It was along the lines of, “Olivia, you’re not weak. You have muscles, I’ve seen them. Stop forgetting you have muscles and use them. Stop forgetting that you know how to ride and actually ride.” Somehow that was exactly what I needed to hear, and the rest of our rounds went much more smoothly.
- We knocked down ALL OF THE RAILS. I was super confused since Addy almost never touches the rails, especially at shows, but we weren’t the only ones. The only clear rounds came from the ex-jumper who has a deathly allergy to knocking rails. The rest of us were bonking things out of the standards left and right.
- Our flat class was a big ol’ LOL. It was actually going quite well until we picked up the wrong lead not once, not twice, but three times and Addy was like “WOMAN LET ME DO THIS GET OUT MY FACE” and I was like “GURL YOU GIVE ME THE RIGHT LEAD AND THEN WE CAN TALK” and she was like “FINE” and about three strides later the announcer said “Trot please, all trot” and Addy was like “NOPE LET ME SHOW YOU MY CANTER” and then we got last place. Gotta giggle at that. I only did the flat class for our 3′ division to try and get points towards a tricolor, didn’t even bother with the 2’9″ division.
- While I was definitely not happy with my riding, I was very happy with how we ended the day. I kicked my own butt into gear and actually muscled her around instead of perching on top like a pretty little eq princess. We certainly didn’t look like hunters at that point, but I felt much more effective and confident with how she was listening to me. Seriously, we need to be in the jumpers where we can be effective without worrying about being pretty.
- Manfriend and his brother came to watch my rounds, so enjoy their commentary in the video here. I think it’s absolutely adorable how manfriend so matter-of-factly explains things to his bro. Heads up- he is my filthy-mouthed Marine, so there are a few minor swears in there.
If you want to skip to certain spots, here’s the breakdown:
0:00 1st round 2’9″ Benefit Hunters. We had a glorious refusal right off the bat, and if you look closely around 1:01 you can see where our brake lines are cut and I lose any semblance of control. Somehow we managed 4th out of 5 entries for that class (I’m guessing the person in 5th must have refused All Of The Jumps).
1:35 2nd round 2’9″ Benefit Hunters. I was much happier with this one. Still pounding the ground like an elephant, but I felt like I had much more control here. This got us 2nd out of 5.
3:27 Working Hunters Under Saddle. Highlights at 3:56 when a dog leaped out at us and Addy could not make herself care, and at 4:45 when we went full-sassdragon. 3rd out of 3 duhhh.
6:01 1st round 3′ Working Hunters. Waiting for everyone to be out of the ring is for rated shows, this is the local circuit SON. Rail down at 6:25. Really cute chip and fence-destruction at 6:57. Brakes stop working again around 7:02. This got us 2nd out of 3.
7:20 2nd round 3′ Working Hunters. LADY GET OUT OF MY RING. A delicate knocking of a rail at 7:53. A dainty mess at 8:06. Then we did that 8-stride in a very comfortable 7-stride-GALLOP. Also 2nd out of 3. This clinched our Reserve Champion in the division, we love tricolors!
A parting thought- I realized after I got home that none of my nerves were related to the height. It didn’t even register as a concern. Apparently I’m even more comfortable at 3′ than I thought! Also, show friends are best friends.
In exponentially more important news, I have a niece!!!! She was born this morning and everyone is healthy and happy and overjoyed to share the world with this precious little girl. She’s so perfect, there are no words. I know that my brother and his wife (who is my sister in every sense and my best friend) are going to be incredible parents and I can’t wait to spoil her rotten! I’ll be waiting on permission from the new Mom and Dad before sharing pics, but I will tell you straight up that she is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen.