After a shitastic day 1 of showing, wherein I completely forgot how to ride and fucked my horse, we moved on to day 2. I was hoping for a better a day, and in some ways I (finally) did get that, but it took a while to get there.
Show Day 2
I came out the following day determined to do better. My first set of jumping rounds went much better, and I got Miles over the quarter line single oxer without issue. While the rounds weren’t necessarily great (I was mostly in survival mode), I rode much better.
We came back in the afternoon for Equitation. The flat was fine – I didn’t place, but I rode pretty well – so I was happy with that. In the schooling ring, as I was warming up for jumping, I made the same mistake as the day before. I didn’t see a distance to an oxer, so I picked Miles to an impossibly short distance. He tried to jump it (from practically underneath the jump), but couldn’t – he landed on top of the jump, broke a pole in half and I rolled off his shoulder.
Yep, I was officially “that rider” at the show.
I was so angry with myself. Luckily Miles was fine (thank goodness), and I mounted back up, jumped a jump and promptly went into the show ring. And Miles was amazing. Absolutely no hesitation about jumping anything, he listened perfectly and our first course was fairly decent. Our second round was the best of the show – I finally LOOKED UP and kept my leg on.
While this certainly wasn’t the horse show I wanted to have or expected to have, I did learn a lot. It reminded me how important my support system is and that I don’t want to go to shows by myself – because even if I have a terrible day, I find joy in watching my friends succeed. This show proved to me how far my confidence in Miles has come, and how mentally tough I am now. Yeah, I still pulled out my amateur card and had a pro get on and ride, but I never gave up. I kept getting back on and didn’t psych myself out… and I didn’t ask to move down in fence height.
Finally, the show brought out exactly what I need to work on: trusting my horse on long approaches. I need to NOT PULL, and use my body to communicate a smaller distance. And most importantly, if I don’t see a distance, I just need to keep galloping and trust my horse. He’s smart enough and seasoned enough to pick a spot at this height when I need help.