If you missed Part 1, read it here.
The morning of Day 1, I was surprised that I felt calm while getting ready. Strangely, calm. Relaxed. Focused. Or was I? The day went by in such a blur but not without tidbits of excitement, disbelief, and unbelievable joy.
I say excitement because the weather wasn’t cooperating. It was cloudy and windy. Carter felt like a slug. He was slow. He was tedious and tentative. I couldn’t understand where my forward, fresh horse from yesterday was but we moved forward.
Our first test proved interesting – we rode Training Level Test 3 first. It was our first time showing it and I’d practiced it countless times so I was confident. As we rounded the corner to C in collected walk, he spooked but I was able to ride through it; although it made me lose my place in the test. Luckily I remembered that I was supposed to be doing a loop from M-X-F right at about R, so I lucked out and didn’t hear the bell…phew! Next, right lead canter…”Come on Carter, we can do this!” And…. He picked up the wrong lead (but he’s very tricky with it and I thought we were on the correct lead) UGH. Little did I know the counter canter sequence we rode was flawless as counter canters go. (Apparently either the judge did not see it or was so amazed with our perfection… he gave us a 7 on the two moves!) You can imagine my surprise when I got my results and saw a 7 for that canter. Seriously?!
Second test of the day was Training Level Test 1… again, we did great, on the counter canter. Two tests in the 60s for our first rated show… not too shabby, I was thinking. I was also thinking that I didn’t deserve those scores since we had what I thought were fixable issues (again, I am WAY hard on myself).
Fast forward to Day 2. I was showing both tests again and we had a plan. Easy peasy practice. Work on getting him relaxed and round. Don’t worry too much about the right lead – it was stressing us out beyond belief on Day 1 and I was over it. Whatever happened, happened. Well, Test 1 … wrong lead and the judge nabbed us (yes, I know there are readers saying THANK YOU) The issue is I THOUGHT we were on the correct lead or I would have fixed it… bummer! The rest of the test was great though so we were able to pull off another 60+.
One more test. One more chance to get a qualifying score since I missed Test 3 qualifying by 0.6. Yes, even with the counter canter. I felt like I owed it to myself and the judge to redeem myself and get the correct lead…and earn that score! Our practice was awesome. Right lead nailed. What I didn’t know is that the wind and weather didn’t know the plan. Neither did the arena.
We entered at A, headed focused beyond words to X, when all of a sudden gust of wind turned the letter V into an animated flying object that came crashing into the rail creating a resonating sound like a sonic boom… simultaneously Carter jumped off all fours, scooted backwards and sideways…and…wait for it… I was in a rising post so, yep… I went the other way and found myself butt down in the sand before I could even blink. Fingers, toes, elbows, neck… all moving, all feeling as they should. I was okay. Carter was looking down at me with the “whooopsie, did I do that?” look on his face standing there stoically. The ring steward thought that because I hadn’t saluted that I would be able to remount and start again… but USEF rules say rider off the horse means elimination. I was so bummed. I was so sore! But, there is always next time.
For those who just have to see it in action… here you go.
Yep, that’s gonna leave a mark!
I am so proud of our scores… three tests each above 60 – not too shabby if I do say so myself. 7s on my rider position on each score. SCORE! I am so proud that we were able to make it round in our first try at rated shows. Even though there were trials, I couldn’t ask for a better horse; a better partner to learn the ropes with and learn together. We’ve since practiced and are working on our right lead canter and we show again in a few short weeks. Someday, we’ll pull that counter canter out of the shadows… for now cantering on the correct lead is the plan and, I’ll check out V before entering the arena. Anyone have any super glue?
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