Monday, April 4, 2016

All the Feels: First Show Edition

If I were smart, I'd drag this out into 2-3 posts because it's good content and I like comments.
are those dapples i see?
So uh. Try not to judge too harshly for smashing a lesson and an overnight show into the same monster post here.

Our goal this year is bronze scores at first level, which means we need a lengthening. Thus, I asked for a whole lesson/pro ride devoted to that. My trainer warned me that it could be explosive.

Hint: it wasn't. It's also 4 minutes of me trotting in a circle, so really not offended if you don't watch.

Here's what I loved about this lesson--we were asking Courage to do something new and hard. In previous years/months, that basically meant he would check out and flail into the sunset.

But he didn't. He stayed right with me and kept trying for me.

also i love this picture
That is an amazing feeling. It's new for us and I love it.

So show. For scheduling reasons, we hauled in the night before. I was glad we did. Courage(/Aimee) hasn't been on a field trip since last October and I had a merry little meltdown about pretty much everything while I followed the trailer over to the facility.

I kinda sorta got myself under control, but by the time we were ready to ride, they'd closed all the arenas except this giant xc field on the far end of the property and OF COURSE I'd hauled in with a badass eventer who thought riding in a field sounded fun instead of like the terrible idea it actually was.
across the property, through this gate, down the road, over the bridge, to the field
Look, he LOVES being a dressage horse. He LOVES his white sand box. He LOVES his tiny little world where we don't have to deal with cows and terrain and grass sharks. Why address problems we don't need to have?

So we went to ride in the field on the far end of the property. Courage was tense on the way there. I couldn't really put him to work and engage his brain, because all the roads are gravel with big rocks and I didn't want to bruise his feet. I mostly just stuck my grabby hand on the standing martingale and pulled on that instead of the reins while letting him look at the big scary world.

Alyssa galloped around and did eventer stuff. Courage and I walked tiny figure eights in a small corner and talked to Lindsey (who doesn't have to haul her horse in the night before to keep from having meltdowns).
and posed dramatically by the strangely-not-scary pile of brush
The point of this story is not to illustrate how fully C-Rage and I have integrated into the DQ lifestyle (which we have), but rather to point out that I rode my own horse through things that I knew would be challenging for us and FELT FINE. Like. I never even wanted to cry and bribe Lindsey to ride him for me, because he's my horse and I've got this.

And then show day came.
sparkle hats!
I had a pretty decent plan put together to deal with it--I know my horse and myself well enough to plan a LOOOOOOONG ass warm up, because sometimes you just need to walk for 40 minutes. Or longer. In a tiny indoor with like 6 other horses. All of whom are tense and/or explosive. Including mine.

It took a long time to get away from OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD on Courage's part, but I just kept breathing and riding and staying loose, and eventually, he joined me. And again. It wasn't the most fun ride I've ever had, but I knew I could do it and I knew he could do it.

I knew we could do it. Together.
this is a yes
Then we left the crowded, dark indoor and walked into the outdoor show arena. The horse ahead of us left the arena. It was just Courage and I in a whole new place. (and our AMAZING test reader. omg. life saver. THANK YOU)

I'm not going to sit here and lie to you and say it was the best ride ever. We did training level 2 and then a break and then training level 3. Some parts were very good. Some parts were a little messy. It wasn't magical, but I rode most of the time and Courage stayed with me. It didn't feel amazing. It just felt right. Connected. Rideable.
on the right lead even
I certainly left some points on the table--our geometry was not super fantastic and there were things I wanted to do better. I rode conservatively instead of pushing for brilliance. Courage is more educated this year and by his second test, he was actually about 75-80% of the horse I have at home.

Yes on his first outing of the year. Yes with me up. Yes with a new (to us) judge who looks at fancy warmbloods all day.
 Hours later, I went to pick up my tests.

65% on training 2.

70% on training 3.
Our high mark last year was 67% at training. My lifetime high score was a 70% (eventing score: 30) in a beginner novice test.

We tied it and I KNOW there was more in there.

This horse, you guys. <3
dorky and we love it
It hasn't been easy, but I am so glad I stuck it out with him. He's my horse now. The one I pour my heart and soul into and know he's there for me. The one I can't wait to see every day. The one I trust because we've been to hell and back together.

And what's more, he trusts me.

And that is so cool.

new profile picture? I think yes


  1. Congratulations! it sounds like things are really coming together for you guys!

  2. AAAAAHHHHH SO MUCH LOVE! This is one of those posts I'll go back and read because it makes me smile. So happy for you guys, and so glad you went out there and got it done. PROUD! :)

  3. EEEEE This is so beyond fantastic!!!! YAYYYYY!!!!

  4. Congratulations! Sounds like it was a super good experience and showed how the hard work you've been putting in is paying off, good job!

  5. Wow. Just wow. So much in one post. You guys look amazing. You are amazing. I am so impressed, in awe of what you have become and are becoming. My hat is off to you both. But mostly to you, Aimee, for never giving up and all the hard work you have put in.

    New profile pic = YES.

  6. Congrats!!! This post gave me so many emotions. :)

  7. So happy everything clicked for you guys!!!

  8. YAY. So happy for you two!! Congratulations!

  9. Love this!! Congrats!

  10. Nothing to add that I haven't already... CONGRADS!!! <3

  11. YEAH! I love this entire post. Congratulations!!!!

  12. WOOHOO!!!!! This has been a long time coming!

  13. Love all the pictures. Sounds like a great weekend!

  14. Yessss! I knew you guys could it! And you did! Way to start the season!

  15. Again, if you try to freak out, back out, say your horse will buck you off, you shouldn't do the show etc...two handed slap. That said, way to go, so proud of you guys!!!!

  16. I love this post SO MUCH! ALL THE FEELS. Also, both our blog posts feature the phrase "flail into the sunset" today, and I didn't even plan it. TWINSIES.

  17. So happy for you! I've just started to feel this way about me and my horse so I know almost exactly how you feel :) Congratulations on your show results as well!! That's amazing and you're my hero as I approach a first show with my baby horse!

  18. So so so happy for you!!! What a great team! Great pictures!!

  19. I was so impressed by you two. It was awesome.

  20. Congratulations!! Happy for you.

  21. I feel those last few words in my soul

  22. First of all, GO YOU! Kudos for riding through and doing so well on top of it. And the Sparkle Hats?? Stupendous!

  23. Just catching up on blogs and OMG AWESOME JOB TO BOTH OF YOU!!! Fantastic first outing of the year!!!


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