We’re pleased to be bringing you the first entries of our International Equestrian Blogging Contest. Remember, you can still enter as long as all three of your blogs are submitted by September 30. You can find full rules here.

Stay On, Stay In the Arena, and Don’t Cry! by
We survived all of the things.
Whew! It wasn’t that I was hiding the fact that I was taking Cinder, my new mare, to our first show … I just wasn’t advertising it. Where I lived before, almost all of the schooling shows are one day and hardly anyone ever stables overnight. Not so here.
I was out of town visiting friends in Virginia until Sunday the 16th, with a chiropractic visit for the girls Monday the 17th and a resultant two-day vacation for them, so I had little time to address our lack of a suitable left bend. As the week progressed, I began to panic in earnest about what I had signed up for.
I have not stabled at an event in close to 10 years nor have I shown since 2011. So, clearly an overnight dressage schooling show trip is in order. I mean, why not?! The week was hot, humid and wildly busy and often resulting in my crawling into bed after 9pm … which is a big deal when you get up at 5:30 am to feed, do barn chores, and commute 50 minutes to be at your job downtown before 8 am.
Friday night, my friend, Brandi, came down and called my tests for me while we tried not to melt. Afterwards, I started the OH MY GOD panic of repacking the trailer.  I repacked the first aid kit (good call!) and started loading. Saturday morning, I slept in till 7:45 am and then proceeded to panic and made a quick trip to Wal-Mart for a box fan (well, I USED to have one!) and bungee cords. I got back in time to clean stalls before my friend Bri arrived to spend the weekend as horse show b***h for Brandi and I. We loaded up my girl and set off for the Hoosier Horse Park and the IDS schooling show.
The road down was busy but with the help of a phone call for directions and two smart phones we made it. We unloaded and set up the stall and tucked the pony in with bag of hay. We checked in and got our numbers, etc. and finally got on for a school. Cinder thinks standing still for mounting is for sissies. I think I cannot afford to tweak my left hip. I apologize to everyone who saw the flop, swivel, grab, gyrate and curse that characterized my climbing on top.
We headed to the arena at a civilized “What’s that?” and walked around in a slightly animated manner. Which is when I realized that I had forgotten to spray Lexol on my saddle. You know that feeling when you step outside on an icy patch that has a thin layer of water on it? That was my breeches on the saddle. I muttered, “Please be good, do not spin, shake or spook or I will eat it.” I asked for trot and got wheee… prancy pony.
I do what any reasonable person would do and grabbed mane, prayed, and just tried to steer and hang on. She did manage to settle and we were able to run through Intro A and B. I have barely cantered this horse at home and no way was I going to try it then. We walked back, cooled out, had a sponge bath. And shortly thereafter realized she had scratched her cornea. In the stall. We were lucky enough that a local vet (thanks Dr. Yates) was cross coutnry schooling at the park that day and was stopping by to see a horse three stalls down. We were able to grab her for a quick exam and some triple antibiotic ophthalmic ointment.
We fed dinner then headed home for the night. Sunday morning we arose at 5am. Ponies and dogs at home were fed and organized for the day and Bri and I rolled into Brandi’s car and headed back to the park. Horses had been fed (thanks Eron!) and we tacked up and set out to warm up. Oh wait, did I fail to mention that the Park had been hit by multiple thunderstorms that night? All the rings were now sporting slushy footing and some amazing puddles and it was cool and overcast.
The Canadian horse proceeded to trot around like a superstar splashing in the puddles like a 5-year-old kid. We stood quietly and grazed until our time to ride Intro A. It was not disastrous. Our final halt included a fabulous view of her right hip at the last moment. Sigh. Intro B went better ride-wise with less hip swinging and one or two moments of flexion.
The spitting rain and gusting winds didn’t effect her and we were almost back to the stalls when the skies truly opened up. By the time we rode Intro C four hours later, it was sunny, hot, and humid.
The Canadian mare wheezed like a chainsmoker in protest in our warm up and we did manage to canter half the ring in both directions before my legs started cramping. We rode the test and it felt like some moments were actually almost acceptable. Why is it that they always become round and connected when they are going AWAY from the judge? The canter happened. I sat lightly and she didn’t stop cantering before I asked. Win! The last minute butt show was thwarted in a not so attractive “Oh no you don’t!”
We made it back to the trailer and loaded up in time to run smack into a blinding rain storm on the interstate when we were trying to get from 65 to 70 in Indianapolis. Then there was that one patch of standing water that splashed up to nearly the top of the trailer when we went through it. But, we made it home. My mare was a flat out ROCK STAR. We got primary colored ribbons for our efforts and so did my friend Brandi!