Our last show of the season was not only extremely successful for Miles and I, but truly a culmination of all that we’ve accomplished in the last six months. We jumped around the big ring, had out best trips to date in our division and had a lot of fun. Of course, none of this would have been possible without my amazing support system: Trainer, friends and family. The show wasn’t without its challenges — competing with no preparation (Miles went to the show the day after I returned from vacation), showing with the flu (thank goodness for DayQuil), and attending a Wedding the same weekend. All in all though, the show could not have gone any better for us!
Due to my crazy weekend schedule (aka attending a wedding an hour away the same weekend), I planned to show Friday in case Saturday’s schedule didn’t work well. This meant that Miles hauled up to the show on Thursday for schooling… a day after we returned from our Georgia vacation. Luckily my best friend Nichole hacked Miles while I was gone, but I still felt a bit less prepared for the show than I would have liked.
Of course Miles hauled over like a champion, and we lunged for a grand total of 10 minutes because Big Red was quiet, quiet, quiet. We quickly jumped around Ring 2, where my division was to help over the weekend, and then waited for the bigger Ring 1 to be ready for practice since I’d show in there on Friday. We ended up waiting forever… but it all worked out. We jumped around and Miles was fantastic. A few times I got us to not quite the right spots, resulting in a long distance or a short chip, but Miles handled it all great and never set a hoof wrong! After such a good school, I was feeling really confident about the show.
Because this horse show was an “A” rated show, I had lots of classes to choose from. I opted to show in the morning only over fences, because my goal was just to get get more experience competing in the bigger Ring 1. All things considered (like my head cold that was turning into a chest cold), I was happy with my four rounds over fences on Friday. I made a big mistake in each class which kept us out of the ribbons, but Miles handled all my mistakes without batting and eye, and I recovered from each really well. It took me one line of jumps to figure out my pace, and from there it was smooth sailing.
Honestly, I just had a lot of fun showing on Friday. The weather was beautiful, my horse was very well-behaved and listening, and I felt like my courses accurately reflected where I’m at today as a rider. I’m still figuring out the pace a little bit, and I still make mistakes with distances, but I recover quickly and don’t make the same mistake twice in a round. I also have to give a shoutout to my amazing husband who left work, came to the show to help me and video our trips, and then went back to work. I am so incredibly grateful for his support — I certainly couldn’t do it without him. So thanks a million Sam, you’re the best horse husband ever <3
Thanks to a schedule change, my division ran first thing on Saturday, which meant I was able to show AND make it to the wedding! I had two goals for this show: have the correct pace to make the strides and have fun. Our first warm-up round helped me establish the pace, and worked perfectly in that respect. Miles was feeling really good and very happy, and once I figured out the correct pace, the distances to the fences just showed up easily. Our two judged trips felt really, really good. So good in fact, that I SMILED on course! Usually I just have this awful concentration face, haha. We ended up with a 3rd and 2nd, respectively, for our efforts over fences and a 4th under saddle. I was BEYOND thrilled! The division wasn’t huge (only 8 in it), but it included a few trainers and some really talented amateurs with nice horses so those placings were AWESOME.
Miles and I were both tired by Sunday, but I was determined to just go out and have fun. All of my goals for the year were already accomplished, and these rounds were just icing on the cake. The warm-up round was cancelled… which was a bit disappointing for me, but it worked out just fine. My first round I was a little sloppy — not supporting quite enough with my leg, and not stretching up as much as I needed to. So our first trip was kind of rough, and we missed a lead change. It was all my fault, and I came out with renewed determination to ride better. We got a 5th, which considering our mistakes was pretty generous I thought.
Our second trip was great — I didn’t let Miles’ slight grumpiness at the beginning get to me, and I galloped up to each fence and kept my leg on in the lines so that we didn’t lose pace anywhere. It was just a really nice ride and felt awesome. The correct pace ensured we didn’t have any short, chippy distances and I rode really well. I wasn’t expecting it, but we WON the class! Our first blue ribbon at the new venue, at an “A” rated show, AGAINST PROFESSIONALS. Guys, I can’t even begin to describe how happy I still am about this. I teared up when it was announced, and I’m still so over the moon. A first place over fences in a fairly competitive division — I never would have thought that’s how our season would end.
Afterwards I bought Miles a bucket of treats and fed him the entire thing. He more than earned it!