Fall in Florida means the local show circuits start up again. After a really hot and wet summer, Belinda and I welcomed the cooler (and less humid) temperatures October brings every year. I was also super pumped for the opportunity to get into the show ring for the first time together.
After a few bumps in the road that required new shoes and some tweaks to our training process, Belinda and I were ready to show. I had picked out a nearby hunter/jumper circuit that had cheap shows and a safe, fun showground to take Belinda to as our first outing. Belinda had been riding really well the week leading up to the show and I was hopeful she would be ready to cruise over some small hunter courses, even though we don’t have many jumps to school over at home. She was nailing every flying lead change and was light in the bridle and eager to move up and forward. I couldn’t have felt more confident about our partnership before a show.
I body clipped my big Hanoverian mare a few days before. I cleaned all our tack and packed my tack trunk up. Then the day before the show we got notice it was canceled. Lingering summer thunderstorms had flooded the arenas and the terrain wasn’t dry enough yet to jump on.
I was so bummed! The show was all I had been thinking about for days. Luckily enough though, another circuit a little farther away from home was still hosting a show that day under a big covered arena. I hadn’t prepared or properly researched this circuit, but since we’d already borrowed a trailer and Belinda was prepped and ready to go, we shifted gears and I sent my entries in last minute.
The morning of the show I arrived early to get Belinda into the trailer. My mare has always been really great with traveling, so I was surprised when she gave me a little attitude about loading. After a little arguing, she did eventually load and on we went!
The show was alive and buzzing when we rolled up that morning. The schooling areas and the temporary barns were wet and muddy due to the rains that came the night before, making it nearly impossible to keep Belinda’s jet black legs clean before our class. But the footing inside the covered arena was perfect.
The show was small but had a diverse group of horses and riders. The circuit offered classes for both western and english riders. Being a dressage rider and coming from a hunter/jumper background, I definitely stood out among the many pleasure-type riders. Belinda, too, was easily the biggest horse on the property among the many uniquely colored Arabians, Paints and Quarter Horses.
But standing out turned out to be a good thing. Belinda won both hunter hack classes of the day. She hacked down the line like a dream. She was cool and collected under saddle all day long, even when she was beginning to tire. Belinda placed in the top four of all of her flat classes too, with some classes having upwards of 12 horses in the ring.
It ended up being a really fun day. Belinda is turning out to be exactly the mount I always hoped she’d be. After spending years working with greenie horses, Belinda’s dependability and easy going nature is a really nice change of pace.
I’m hoping this is just the start of a great, no-stress show season.