Horse Shows. Why do we torture ourselves like this?
After a night of anxious tossing and turning, I arose this morning at 5 a.m. to quickly mainline some coffee, then off to the barn to braid my horse, trailer over to the local show facility, don some archaic riding attire involving a lot of silly equipment including a stock tie (why are we still wearing stock ties?) and white gloves and breeches (around horses? who are you kidding?) and then trot around in patterns for a judge as the sun began to rise. O.k., slight exaggeration. The sun rose while I was braiding. I think.
Oy vey. Why do I do this to myself? Or my horse? My pony, God bless him, was a trooper as usual, although he did turn a rather jaundiced eye on me this morning when I showed up – before breakfast! – to braid him. This was the second day of the show, mind you. His look said, rather plainly, “again? Oh no, really, I don’t think so. Come back in a week and we’ll talk.”
Here we are getting Finn dressed to show. Note the expression. “Here we go again…There had better be treats involved.”
This show marked our debut at Prix St Georges, a big leap up for us and a stretch. A bit much of a stretch, as it turned out. I made a bunch of mistakes including miscounting the tempi changes. Why IS that so hard? You’d be amazed at how hard it is to count strides and give the aid at the right moment while doing 1600 other things simultaneously. Easy peasy, right? Ha. While our score on Saturday was not terrible for a first try, it was a bit lower than I had hoped. Phooey.
We also debuted our Fourth Level Freestyle the same day, which was fun, but definitely tiring mentally and physically to do two NEW high level tests on the same day – especially when the rider has a migraine and then has to take migraine meds. Tough to ride a Freestyle and stay on pattern while drugged. Sort of doable, but…well. We got through it and it was great practice! I think we have the makings of a good Freestyle with a little more practice.
As my friend and groom noted: I rode the PSG in the morning with a migraine, and the Freestyle in the afternoon while drugged. Fun times at the Horse Show! So I guess I can cut myself a little slack on the low scores. Maybe.
Sunday we revisited Prix St. Georges but both of us were tired and sore and I had the post-migraine hangover and could not focus. I was half asleep (well, it was 7:51 a.m., a difficult ride time requiring waking up at 4:45 a.m. to get ready).
Finn uncharacteristically spooked repeatedly (minor, but enough to throw us a little off stride) at someone sitting close to the ring in the shadows near one corner, which threw me off balance mentally. I obsessed over it and didn’t concentrate on the test, merely fuming over “why are they sitting there when they can see it’s ruining my test?”
I need to be able to ride through distractions and shake it off.It’s all good experience for both of us.
The tempis went well today, I think I counted them right. And the pirouettes continue to improve significantly. But the half-passes completely fell apart while I was obsessing over the person in the shadows. A few key mistakes and you end up with a truly abysmal score at PSG, especially if you make those mistakes on double co-efficients.. Alas, seriously abysmal. This is one to try not to think about but just move on and resolve to do better.
Finn and I are capable at this level but I must develop better concentration and he needs a bit more strength for consistency and better expression. Here’s a nice picture, one of the decent half-passes from the first day.