|Dang, I Wish My Heels Were Down...|
The morning started out typically, meaning that I got very little sleep the night before. Didn't take anything to help myself sleep as it makes me really dopey, and I don't need that when piloting a 1200 pound exuberantly opinionated mare around a 3' course. So I made my morning latte a double and headed off to the show.
Best surprise of the morning? I had some good luck wishes from some of my blog friends! Thanks, ladies, you made my day! I showed your well wishes (via my blackberry) to everyone in my barn, and your kind words were a nice breath of calming energy.
We warmed up well; Sug felt really loose and supple, very much on the aids. She was very relaxed, which was somewhat surprising, as we don't do a lot of shows. She doesn't get silly, she just appreciates the situation and 'blows up' a bit, adding a bit of strut to her step and preening for the crowd.
My trainer and I walked the course (I always feel like I'm doing a bit from Monty Python's skit "The Ministry of Silly Walks") and I took notes on the striding and pace in my notebook. Regarding the notebook: I'm new to the jumper thing and of a certain age. Drawing a diagram of the course helps the dementia riddled cope with course memorization.
Our schooling jumps went great, and when it was my turn off we went. The approach to the first jump went well. The jump itself didn't. In fact, it just didn't happen. For some reason nerves overtook me and I went completely fetal, asked the mare to take off from an impossible distance, she wisely chose life and demurred, and I choked up so much she didn't have the option to jump from the deeper distance. Bad Mom! We came around to try again and sailed over it, and headed over to fence two. Fence two was essentially a repeat of fence one. Now I was really irked with myself. I turned her around, and with a few choice words for myself, galloped back at the fence.
Over we went, and then continued our merry way around the course. Apparently there's a rule that if a competitor has two refusals they are eliminated. I don't remember if I thought the rule was three refusals equaled elimination, or if I was just hell bent and determined to get my entrance fee's worth out of that particular class, but Sug and I went around the course until I finally got close enough to my trainer and realized she was yelling at me to stop and that the buzzing noise I heard was not due to increased blood pressure but the starter fiercely buzzing me out so the next competitor could begin.
So, not an auspicious beginning. Had a little convo with my trainer, who suggested it might be a good idea for her to hop on Sug, school her, and then take her around the next class. I waffled a bit, thinking on one hand that I'd be a huge wuss if I let her, and then conversely that it would be an immense help and likely to result in a better experience when I got on for my third class. I decided to let Annabel ride her, and the little "Come to Jesus" session worked tremendously well. I got over my nerves, Sug got over her issues, and we were ready for Round Three.
Somewhere in the middle of all this I misplaced my little notebook with my course diagram. Uh-oh, what to do? Panic? Or suck it up, realize I was fully capable of memorizing the bloody course without it, and just get over myself? I chose Option B. This was not curing cancer, for cripes sake, this was a bleeping horse show and I had made the choice to put myself through this.
We had a very nice round. We jumped every jump, had no GPS issues, and for the most part, nailed the distances. We finished the round to the sound of applause and the 'whoo-hoos' of barn mates, cooled out and headed back to the barn for some well deserved treats (a couple peppermints for Sug, a lovely Cabernet for me!)
The best parts of the day? The feeling of success at the end of the third class, the support of my barn mates and my blog friends, and most of all, being able to spend the whole day with my Big Girl. Here's a video of our third round, taken by a friend. Feel free to point and laugh!