Phew! We are now back to reality after living in Horse Show World for 4 days. Horse Show World is a world unlike any other that I exist in on a daily basis. Your entire day revolves around your equine family member. You drag yourself to the barn in the dark to make sure that your beloved horse eats at his normal time. You realize that your horse is a rather slovenly stall keeper who likes to watch you mine for the poop piles. Your hands get chapped from fishing out water-logged hay from the water buckets four or five times a day. Seriously, Ike, why must you leave so much hay in your buckets?
The day’s activities are predicated on what time you need to begin your grooming/tacking/warm up in order to make it down centerline on time. If you have two rides, this process might have to be repeated…But wait, you can’t leave the show grounds yet, since then you must wait for the class(es) to end to determine if you must frantically retack your horse to make it to the mandatory mounted awards ceremonies. Even after you scramble to get there, you have to have your baby situated for the night before you can even consider a shower and a real meal. And who hasn’t driven back to the show grounds for one last night check? If aliens are watching us, they must think that our horses are in charge and we are their servants.
I am tickled to say that Ike and I finished out our 2014 show season with placings in both of our finals classes. Yes, can you believe it?! Both of them. If you had asked me what the outcome would be, I would have told you that we might have pinned in one or both of our warm up classes, and had a slightly better than average chance of placing in our Training Level Final, but we’d be lucky to be in the top half of our First Level Final. There were about 30 horse and rider pairs in each of the final’s classes. Yikes! When it was all said and done, we came home with a first place in our Training Level Test 2 warm up class, a 5th place in our Training Level Final, and a 10th place in our First Level Final. [Shhh, don’t tell, I teared up when I realized I placed in each of my final’s classes.]
Here is video from the First Level Awards Ceremony – it cracks me up that Ike seems to realize that we were announced and that the crowd was cheering for him. I have to say that I was so proud of Ike marching right into the Coliseum like he had done it before…I feared having to walk around by myself while Ike ran freely around the show grounds:
It finally felt like validation for all our hard work. We can do this in spite of all my self doubt and my lack of experience. We started the season with the Hilda Gurney Clinic in Maryland and I can’t help but wonder what she would think of us now. We were still trying to find a show worthy canter in April, and I am happy to say that we found it this past weekend. The season that started off with scores of 5.5 for our canter work, ended with 7’s for both the left and right leads. And let’s be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t be at this point without a cadre of amazing people who have helped Ike and I to establish our partnership. Thank you to you all!! If I try to name them all, I fear that I will inadvertently forget someone. But I must say a special thanks to my husband who is my greatest cheerleader and supporter – I love you dearly for supporting this crazy horse habit!