Still riding the high on my new found confidence, I went back to Camden last weekend for a horse show. If you’ve read my other posts about horse showing in Camden you know, it’s always entertaining to watch me show there.

I enjoy showing at this venue, the rings are great, the stabling is great, it’s well run with great courses and I usually meet up with lots of friends who I don’t always get to see when I show at home.  That said, it should be noted that I am a life long card carrying member of the ADHD tribe – for those unaware it stands for Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder. Although managed with meds I still have a tendency to generate entertaining stories related to my lack of focus. The following is written for those of you who have ‘been there’ and know how to laugh at yourself.

Saturday dawned hot and humid with a sure chance of an approaching inferno by mid day. Hey it’s the south ya’ll, eventually you acclimate to it or move north.  I was on a mission to make sure we nailed every lead change with Oliver this weekend.

Since he got hurt a few years ago I have been like a wet noodle when it comes to his right to left swap. It’s not new, it’s always been a bit hard for him on that side, and since I’ve brought him back, I haven’t been good about correcting him at home when he misses or is late behind, or decides to throw his butt into outer space in an overly dramatic lead change.  It’s not you, it’s me.. I kept telling myself until the last time I had him out in June. I was given the wake up call that i needed – he’s not hurting, it’s not bothering him – he’s just being LAZY. The minute I slapped on his big spurs which I’d retired some years ago, I didn’t even need them, he knew his gig was up and suddenly was a lead change, auto swapping machine. SMH..

ANYWAY back to Camden. Oliver comes out of his stall super excited about horse showing at an over night, out of town show and he warms up great. Nails his swaps, I’m embracing the deep distance when I see it and not chucking the reins in ‘Jesus take the wheel’ mode. We Are On It & it feels great. 🙂 Learned my courses, know my strides. We are ready.  We go in, and are putting down a lovely trip, as we land off the inside line and turn toward the final outside line in front of the judge – I saw the proverbial SQUIRREL!

Land, swap, looking for my next line, I notice Sally* ( *names changed to protect the innocent) the steward is in the judges box scribbling something down. In my head:

loping along around the corner…..
Hey, there’s Sally in the judges booth, I really like that shirt she’s wearing. Thats a GREAT color on her, (notices line peripherally and sort of aims for it while loping along) I like Sally, you know, I think she’s one of my favorite show stewards. (3 strides out, Oliver is staring back at me like HELLOOO?) She’s so friendly and always looks so put toget….. OH CRAP THE FREAKING LINE, FFS, DID I LEGIT JUST CHECK OUT??!! Adds leg trying to make some sort of a distance appear out of thin air.

Smiles.. Sits up, embraces the deep distance that has appeared like a mirage in the desert.  Oliver I’m sure rolled his eyes while yanking his knees up. I’m mumbling aloud that this is one of many reasons why I’m an amateur while moving up to close the distance to the oxer on the step. Normal people would just focus on the task of recovery . Nope, not me, I’m multi tasking up there making excuses verbally while offering Oliver some guidance out of the line.

I often thank my lucky stars that Oliver is a good sport, takes a joke – often the same one- repeatedly SMH and has a huge step to easily eat up the ground to make the numbers without having to look like he has to RUN to get there.  We jump out in classic style and make our exit circle and exit the ring. My poor trainer was like ???!!! What happened down there? You were doing great and then ?

I responded with, shrug and a giggle… I saw a squirrel and it’s name was Sally, she looks up at the judges booth, sees Sally and we had a good laugh. Honestly, it could have been a shoelace, a dirty penny or a piece of glitter under the judges chair….  When I am in distract-o-mode it just doesn’t take much and the struggle is REAL.

We went back in for the second trip and I managed not to see any more squirrels or shiny things, I got a little tight to a few, but didn’t check out and we were pretty consistent. We actually ended up with decent ribbons – no help from me to be sure. Sunday I did have my act together and we won both of our over fences classes and ended up Sunday Adult division champion to end the weekend on a high note.

Note to self: schedule ADHD meds for mid-morning – NOT pre dawn hours –  so they are still on board when I get to the ring. I’m not sure what’s worse but I think I’ll take the mental check out and recovery strategy over the Jesus take the wheel strategy any day. Sally – you know who you are, and I hope you don’t take this personally because it’s just who I am. I’d rather explain I got side tracked by a person than by a piece of glitter under the judges chair to my trainer!