Did y'all have a good holiday season? Looking forward to ringing in the New Year? I have to admit, I've never been a fan of New Year's. Midnight is waaaaaaayyyy to late for me to stay up, and you know, I just don't get the whole big run-up to one second and then... pffffffffffttttttt! The air is immediately out of that balloon. We are actually going out for the first time in forever. Normally if we do go out, it's to a neighbor's place. This time we're going to the home of some barn friends. Their daughter is Sophie's age and the two are inseparable. I hear rumors there will be a hefty amount of champagne. Yippeeeeeee!
So here's what's been going on since we last chatted. We've been doing some horse showing. Yeah, I know, what dope starts seriously horse showing in the middle of a Northeast winter?! This dope, that's who! My trainer has had me doing 2'6" hunter and eq classes because she knows how stressed I get doing the 3' jumpers. She wants me to get more show miles and feels that the lower level hunter and eq classes offer courses that are easier to memorize, taking that little stressor off my plate. She feels that often trainers put students in classes they really are not ready for, and wants me to get to a place where I am relaxed and confident and bored silly before we move up. The funny thing is that Sug is not a hunter type horse, and while it pains me to admit it, I am definitely not an equitation rider.
To add an element of excitement to things, I've signed up for the Marshall & Sterling league. The plan is for me to try to qualify for the year end finals at HITS-on-the-Hudson in New York. I'm thinking of it as a smaller, lower version of the Big Eq, It's got tests and everything, like the Big Eq classes have. It's a challenge for us, because Sug is a jumper, and feels that trotting a fence or coming to a halt is an egregious waste of time.
Our first show around Halloween was less than successful. Well, in one way it was. We got out there, and we survived. BONUS! The second show was just Sophie and me, and was a great time, as it was just me and my daughter hanging out with our ponies. We both rode pretty well, but more importantly, we spent a lot of quality time just chill in' with each other and James and Sug. We wound up as champions of our respective divisions, but really, the best part of the day was just being together.
Here's a vid from our medal class. Not perfect by a long shot, but we didn't totally embarrass ourselves, so I'm pleased. Sug was so funny, she clearly thought that after the trot fences we were done.
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A couple of weeks after that Noah and I did a show in Gardnertown, NY. So I had another really cool day hanging out with my other kid and our ponies. James was a good boy for Noah and they got some nice ribbons. Sug was her usually Sainted Mare self, and several people told me how much they liked her. (Don't you love when people compliment your horse? It's like when they compliment your kids.) We did pretty well, too. I beat Noah in the hack (crazy, as James is more of a true hunter than Sug) and then the Boy went and beat me in the M&S medal class, the one I'm trying to qualify for! I was proud and a bit put out at the same time.
Fast forward to the weekend after Christmas. Soph and I showed at Old Salem Farm in New York. Holy crap, is that place ever nice!!! I mean, really, it's crazy when most of the barns we show at are nicer than my house! Sophie and James were so pretty together; they just seemed to flow confidently around the ring, both looking so relaxed and at ease. Several people in the in-gate area commented on her riding and what a good boy James was (big cheer for the OTTBs out there!) and I was so proud! They were champions of the Pre-Children's Hunter division!!! At Old Salem Farm, no less!
Sug and I did not have a bad showing. We didn't do as well as Sophie did, but we got some decent ribbons. Our flow and rhythm around the course is getting better; we're not as choppy. I'm getting better about putting my Big Girl pants and doing the numbers down the lines. Sug doesn't have a big step, so it feels like we are going hell-for-leather and that feels a bit precarious to me. I don't think I'll ever understand why you have to do a pre-determined amount of strides. Why kill yourself for 4 strides when you can do a lovely flowing 5? Whatever, I'm getting better. It's so funny - at both shows people complimented Sug, telling me how much she helps me out, which says a lot about what a doll she is, and also about my riding! LOL!
So that about brings us up to date.