First mistake of the day? Getting too excited about the 'made to order' blueberry pancakes. I usually don't eat before I ride and going completely and glutinously off the rails did nothing to help with my butterflies.
I had been keeping a pulse on my ring with the plan to start working on the boots (not quite stretched enough) about an hour before class time and slowly getting myself ready. Imagine my dismay when the ring started calling for the Long Stirrups a freaking hour early. Like on what planet does a horse show run ahead?
It's fine. All good. The boots went on, I got dressed, Ellie got tacked up, and off we went.
The weather, which up until Saturday, had been positively boiling- was now a windy, overcast day. Ellie was enjoying the cooler air as well as warming up in a ring she had never been in before. I on the other hand, was a bit of a struggle bus. Working through the nerves we jumped a few fences and headed over for our two Hunter Over Fences classes.
I wish I could say I felt like the classes went well. Instead, while Ellie was motoring around, I wasn't really riding. More like hovering. Like a cling-on. And nothing bad happened. Like many others we got down the five stride line in a six. Had a chip here and there.
But so many good things! All of our lead changes happened. We made it around a course of 8 fences twice. I don't think that would have happened three months ago.
And we ended up with decent scores of 70 and 72 which ended up netting two fourths.
Despite our success I came out of the ring after the second course and burst into tears. I mean, not burst per say....more like quietly weeped.
It's just too much stress. I put too much pressure on myself to be the best. And frankly, while we had success, I didn't feel as though I rode my best.
We had a 45 minutes break before our Under Saddle class, Ellie got a moment to relax at the barn, and I tried to pull myself together.
That time flew by and before I knew it I was back in the ring. "Look at us and our nice flowing canter!" "Look at us using the quarter line to best show off!" "Aren't we beautiful?" Apparently not- as we ended up sixth. My friend told me that Ellie looked strung out and my trainer said that when I fiddle with my hands Ellie gets pissed, and looks pissed.
I hate flat classes.
Last but not least, our final class of the day. I had asked Ali to sign us up for the "Bronze Hunter Challenge," 2'-2'3" course that boasted a bending line, trot fence, and roll back. Oh- and it was open to anyone so we had a plethora of ponies and young riders in the warm up ring.
And here's where I say, "Thank you Ali." She threw a martingale on that mare, got me in the warm up ring over one fence, and we went second into that class of 15+ horses.
Once the trainers get their groups of ponies ready to go we could have been waiting forever and the last thing I needed was time the think.
Our warm up fence was great. Ellie was a little tired, I was a little tired.
On the way to the in-gate I spotted not only members of my new barn, but old KMT teammates standing along the fence. Everyone gave me encouraging smiles and in we went!
This round.... I went in with a smile. I saw a distance into our first line and went for it with a smile. Ellie bulged in the roll back- I straightened her out. Trot fence- please- we're experts. We finally got our 5 strides. And came out with a giant smile and a 76, which placed us third for the class.
It's amazing what happens when you just go in and have fun!
A great way to round out our first day!
|Ellie don't care|