Sunday, February 9, 2014

It didn't snow

But it was ridiculously cold yesterday at that show! I think the highest that it got was 34°F. Lucky for me, I had about four layers on most parts of my body. I'm not the biggest fan of the cold; I never have been and I never will be, and the next time you see me showing in the winter it will be at Wellington, thank you very much.
I'm coming for you . . .
The show was part of a winter series that I wasn't going to do, but somehow the insane individuals who I ride with managed to talk me into going to this one. I was still a bit apprehensive; the usual "Week Before Nerves" showed up, and it took me all of five days to put together my show bag. After this show, I learned two things. One, showing is like a vacation. No matter how nicely my bag is packed the day before, it ends up being a mess of multiple pairs of pants, gloves, and random sheets of paper in a tote bag. The second revelation will come later in this post.

At this particular show, there are two rings that run, despite it technically being a schooling show. There's an indoor ring and an outdoor ring. The indoor ring is usually for the beginner/younger/hunter pony rider group, while the outdoor ring is for the teenager/adult/hunter horse riders. I usually ride in the outdoor ring, but, the ground was entirely frozen in the ring. They tried plowing it multiple times, and it was still hard as a rock. They had two divisions out there before they moved everything inside, and I literally mean everything. Leadline, long stirrup, open hunter, jumpers, you name it, it was happening inside, and the class list just was not designed for this. Outside of the regular classes, there were still riders who had to do their medal and classic courses, which I'm completely fine with. If you've been aiming for those points the whole series, heck yeah you go for it even when things don't go according to schedule. But, still, it was a very cold and very slow day. Low speeds and temperatures are not things that I am usually a fan of. To put things into perspective, we are usually done with classes at this show around 4pm. I didn't get on until 5:30pm. Most people had just scratched and left because they didn't want to wait any longer, and I don't blame them. We didn't leave the show grounds until 9:30pm; that's a record.

When time was looking a bit more practical in the morning, I did my usual schooling. Baby was forward, but I wasn't helping much. The toes were turning out more, and it was causing my lower to be on her the entire time. Miss S got on and settled Baby down a bit, then I got on to go over some fences. We trot in and tried to canter out of a line, but I got a refusal. I was kinda bummed but I just went around and tried it again. Baby went over it just fine, then we did another line at a full canter. Then we attempted a brightly colored yellow single at the sight of which, Baby picked up the pace, and we weren't getting to a nice distance, so I tried to hold her back, but she took it long, and now I think I finally understand why they call it the "Oh Sh*t" distance. Long distance plus an overjump was more than enough to unseat me. My usual reaction when I feel like I'm about to fall is to go forward and grab the neck. It gives me more control over how and where I hit the ground. That's exactly what I did in this case; I grabbed Baby's neck, but I put myself so far forward that my rear end left the saddle entirely, and by the time I sat up, I was sitting in front of the withers. Momentarily, I was terrified, but then I thought about how funny I must have looked, and I started laughing. I could not stop laughing. Just imagining how I looked was hilarious. I didn't fall off, and when I got back in the saddle, I finished my warm up without any issues.

From that point until 5:00pm, I was basically hanging around and taking pictures. My camera (I got a new one! But it's temporary) batteries died (all six of them), so Izz graciously let me use her camera. I must say, for as small and insulting as my new camera is, it takes better indoor pictures than my old camera, a lot better, but Izz's trumps both of them. Unfortunately, her camera puts both a picture and a copy on the SD card. That ended up leading to 15 minutes worth of data transfers.

I took the Hopeful Hunter division to get ready, but I forgot that I'd have to zip up my crappy, $80 boots that should be burned at the steak, so I ended up missing my first class, which means I either have to take more time to get ready or buy better tall boots. The latter sounds a lot better. Green walk/trot/canter ended up being my first ride. Unfortunately, I hadn't pulled my pants up far enough, so there was a whole bunch of extra fabric between the legs, plus my leg muscles basically quit on me, so the canter was not very pretty. I ended up half seating for the rest of the division.We got a fifth in w/t/c, sixth in combination, and another fifth in over fences. She was awesome during our course with the exception of one lead that she just didn't want to switch for. Both of our courses for the day were the same, and they were entirely left lead courses. I'm surprised that she didn't buck her way back home.

Our next division was pleasure horse. We placed back and forth between fourth and fifth place mostly, but then we got a third in one of the classes. She was much better about her leads during this course, and easily broke down and switched twice. Then we got to the last jump. It was, you guessed it, an oxer! I'm pretty sure that I subconsciously pulled her away from it because when I was going up to it the first time I was saying to myself, "It's not an oxer, it's not an oxer, it's not an oxer," but, alas, it was an oxer. Black and white with green flowers was it, and that particular jump was my favorite when it was just a vertical, but, as an oxer, well, it's like when you have a boyfriend that you really love, but then he tells you that he's a serial killer. Stabs you right in the trust. Needless to say, the first time was a refusal, but it was warranted, and the second time, we went over it, and we were not getting close to it.

All in all, it was a good day. Baby received many compliments on how pretty she was, and I got a thumbs up for my neck riding. As for that second revelation, I learned that I walk differently when I'm happy about how I ride. Bigger step, more schwung; I could be a top Dressage horse with that kind of movement.

Thank you to my camera people! Your assistance is much appreciated!

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