Monday, June 1, 2015

First Show of 2015

dressage warm up
Whew. What a weekend. I'd drag it out into a ton of multi-day posts because I definitely have enough pictures for that, but I also have a schooling show Wednesday and content waits for no man, apparently.

Let's just jump right in. While auditing the (really fantastic, highly recommend) Jan Byyny clinic on Friday, I had the revelation that no one really likes having money anyways, so I might as well pay for a stall and bring Courage to the show a day early so he could see the sights.

Best. Idea. Ever.

He hacked around and was pretty freaking good.

trotting around the outside
Then came show day. Due to my very large and advanced division needing to get going (ok all two of us in ground poles), I was the very first ride of the day. It was great--I was the first person on the grounds, first in the arena. Everything was calm and quiet.

And OMG YOU GUYS you should have seen my horse. I sure didn't recognize him. I hand walked him once around the arena, hopped on, and like... he was perfect. Rideable. Rateable. Relaxed. Balanced. It was the same horse I had for my completely fabulous schooling ride at home two days prior.

we dressaged
WTF HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE I CANNOT EXPLAIN

I'm not complaining--I was 1000% THRILLED to have that horse. I just had absolutely no illusions he was going to show up prior to actually seeing him.

My goal for dressage was to keep my brain engaged and ride, no matter what.

Courage made it easy. I mean, yeah, it's intro A and there is nothing inherently hard about it. But still. Instead of hanging on for dear life and trying to channel his greenness, I was asking for more and better throughout the whole ride.

you sexy thang
And he delivered.

Our free walk is only so-so at home. I got the best free walk I've had in weeks IN THE FREAKING SHOW RING.

We did get a 5 on one circle because I completely forgot how to ride in the small arena (oops, #dressagebarnproblems), but we got a lot of 7s and even an 8 on our last centerline.

hullo dressage horse
The test felt kickass and it was.

Plus we got 7s on all our collective marks (except geometry. That was a well-earned 6.)

I am so thrilled with this. I can't even tell you. It really didn't matter what our score was (32, if you're wondering). It was just that Courage brought his A game to his first show of the year (also third show of his life) and OMG I know I can't expect that every time, but given all we've been through lately?

It was a moment of "Hold on, you're doing the right thing" that I really needed.

warm up!
On to XC!

Which I informed all my friends they were not allowed to call XC. It was a f****** trail ride.

Because I knew if I thought about it or said anything, my brain would completely implode.

I tried really hard to talk myself out of the nerves, but yeah. It's a good thing we entered ground poles, because I was about an inch away from full on meltdown mode by the time we were tacking up.

Of course, then I put my saddle on and looked at my beautiful blue iridescent Lorenzini stirrups and for a moment, it was really peaceful as I was like "I so love these stirrups and I feel so secure in the saddle with them".

it's really hard to make ground poles look interesting
And then back to brain melt.

It's ground poles. And hacking. And I can do it.

Except not.

I survived the warm up. Courage was tense for like 2 seconds and like "hey look there's horses galloping around" and then he was over it. Totally fine.

Again, my goal was just to use my brain and keep riding the whole time. 

Off we went. I walked the first pole, trotted the second, walked the third. Things we going well. My brain was still screwed in and I was starting to breathe and be like "ok we can do..."

...and the next pole was in between the UBER SCARY JUMP JUDGE and OMG F****** COWS (on the other side of the fence).

Courage spun around as fast as he could and headed for the barn.

I yanked him back around, but failed to put any leg on. We made another very fast and tiny circle and then I was like "I AM NOT GETTING DISQUALIFIED OVER COWS YOU M****** F****** S*** HEAD HORSE" and stuck my spurs in him and then he was So. Polite.

It was never about the cows. We walk/trotted the rest of our course. We had no other problems.

best dressed ground poles horse ever
I even thought about cantering at the end, but I didn't. I felt it was enough of an accomplishment just to finish. Something. Finally.

The truth is, if I started the course with the same grit that got us over that one stupid pole, we wouldn't have had any problems at all.

But the other truth is, it was all I could do to get out on that course and it took until pole #5 to have enough gumption to growl at him and make it happen. That's the sad truth of me and XC. It's why we aren't even trying to be eventers. We were at this show for exposure. And that's it.


I unfortunately blew my tidy lead after dressage and dropped to 2nd after the incident in the field.

But you know what?

I have never been prouder of a second place ribbon in my life. I kept my brain on and I rode. Courage responded well. He's not ready to just pack me around, but he's green (and a jackass) and that won't happen for a while yet, if ever.

We were a team, we both showed up to play, and we can be successful together.

It's a little piece of satin that tells me all this work is worthwhile, and if we keep at it, I won't regret hanging to this special little horse. 

37 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great experience for both of you! I'm so glad you guys had fun!

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  2. I've been stalking your IG alllll weekend (#sorrynotsorry) and I'm SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!! Congratulations on your 2nd place ribbon, and I'm very proud that you stuck in there and rode and got it done. Courage may be a jackass at times, but you hang in there time and time again, and that's nothing to sneeze at :) Congratulations again!

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  3. Congrats girl on going out there and getting shit done. A great step in forward progression.

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  4. YAY! I am so, so proud of you for getting off property and DOING the DAMN THING. You go girl :D <3

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  5. THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!! Way to go!!!

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  6. Congrats! I think getting a stall the day before definitely helped you both relax and be okay with being in a "scary" place. So glad you were able to push through the issues and come out on top.

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  7. I am still so proud of you guys. Like beams of sunshine coming out of my ass proud.

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    1. This, you said this better than I could!

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  8. Yes that is a VERY special piece of satin, for all that it represents. Good for you for "riding" through the whole thing - that is the whole point of what we're supposed to be doing up there but DAMN it's hard sometimes. So glad Courage was so awesome in the dressage and so proud of you for making him get his sh!t together in the "trail ride" portion of your day. Nicely done.

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  9. YAY! Go get em girl! Sometimes you just have to growl at your horse (and your inner weanie self) to get around!

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  10. Good job on conquering some inner demons, and glad Courage proved he can step it up when he needs to.

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  11. Ooh, that dressage looks so relaxed and fancy! Congrats on the satin, and hopefully there's more where that came from!

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  12. Whoop whoop!! Huge congrats on the satin and the great rides!

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  13. Congrats! Getting him through the rest of it is a huge accomplishment.

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  14. HOORAY FOR YOU AND COURAGE!!!

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  15. Sounds like a big accomplishment! I remember being crippled with fear at shows and it's not small feat. You should be proud.

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  16. Go you! Way to face your fears and conquer them. :D

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  17. Whoohoo! So thrilled for you and Courage! That's a very pretty piece of satin. :-)

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  18. So happy for you! Glad Courage was able to step up for you in dressage - that must have meant a lot! That goes a long way towards solidifying a partnership! That's a nice piece of satin ;)

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  19. CONGRATS!! Cows at a show is just cruel! Penny would have sent me into the next county lol. You should both be so proud!

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  20. Time, exposure and experience...for the both of you... is all it's going to take. I am delighted to hear they offered a ground poles course for beginners. That is a great way to start to build up confidence. You did a great job and learned a valuable lesson about how to ride your wonderful boy. Keep up the good work. I am rooting for you.

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  21. Miles, miles, miles, sounds like a great experience and only miles will make you both more confident. Congrats!

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  22. OMG! I had fingers and toes crossed for you! Hell ya--best dressed ground poles horse bitches!!! Congrats!

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  23. wooo hooo way to get it done! so glad C-rage stepped it up too - and a million blue ribbons for best dressed pair haha :D

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  24. Congrats! So excited for you!

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  25. Congrats! You should absolutely be proud! Your dressage pictures look AWESOME!

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  26. Yay horse showing! Congrats, job well done!

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  27. Belatedly catching up bit had to comment with a WOOHOO

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