Although Knight had an odd lameness last Monday that threatened our attending the Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show held at Galway Downs this past weekend, he healed and performed at the new show grounds as if this is what he’s been doing all his life. This was only his fourth show, and it was his second time ever in a dressage court when my trainer rode Training Level Tests 1 and 2 and scored in the 70s. They won two blues!
For those of you like me who are not up on dressage, apparently getting a 75.43 for a horse’s first time doing a show is really good. Here is one of the videos for your viewing pleasure.
My trainer suggested I could ride him in one of the very beginner tests that is only walk trot. I told her I had no confidence I could remember a test. I’m not a dressage diva (yet) and I don’t know the letters (X is in the middle, right?).
Also, I have had mental blocks lately when it comes to trying to memorize a simple hunter course. Honestly I think it’s just lack of consistent practice. I would like to try a dressage test someday especially in light of the fact that Knight seems to have a a knack for it. I now have an awesome trail horse, green hunter, and dressage horse all in one attractive bay package.
My Proud Moment
Day Two in the warm up ring as I was getting ready for my crossrails twice around class (it’s okay–you can giggle), a woman on another horse asked, “It that your horse that was doing dressage yesterday?” I said it was.
“I noticed him and thought he was lovely and had a great brain. I thought, ‘that’s the kind of horse I’d like to have in my barn.’ Do you know his breeding?”
I thanked her and said his sire was Tiznow. I am assuming since it was a Thoroughbred show that Tiznow, Knight’s two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winning sire would mean something to her. (By the way, there were at least two former female jockeys who competed at the show–I thought that was pretty cool).
My riding was okay, but I am not brave enough to post video. I haven’t even been able to bring myself to look at it all the way through. Did I mention that I was having real issues in remembering courses in my last few lessons?
The show was special in that the best horse show groupie Carey, from Me Jump Pretty One Day, came to cheer us on and give me a new perspective.
My Nervy Nerves
My nerves taunted me prior to my classes.
“You haven’t jumped a full course in weeks!” (thanks, El Nino!)
“This is a new showgrounds with new things to spook at!”
“You have no business riding a green horse over fences. You last rode a course in a show over a decade ago–and that was on a trained horse with lots of show mileage!”
“You’re not a gutsy jockey or exercise rider. You’re out of your league.”
“Crossrail classes are for little kids on ponies.”
I confessed my fears to Carey and she pointed out that it was just like riding in a lesson, but in a different arena. She told me no one really cared how I rode, and she pointed out there were no hecklers. And she reminded me it was a small show. Really small.
In addition to our groupie, there were several other awesome fans who drove over an hour to come cheer us on. I asked my trainer if she could tell me what to do when I was riding the course as my fear was my mind would go blank. Then I said it would be great to have a person in each of the four corners of the arena.
Carey stationed herself at the far end of the arena and although most of the ride was a discombobulated blur, I do remember trying to aim for her in the corner at the far end. She stood out in her turquoise shirt. At one point I heard, “You’re good,” and that simple phrase reminded me I was not about to die.
Knight and I made it around the both courses, first to the left and then to the right. There were no spooks, but Knight did curve his neck to the rail to look at a photographer on the edge of the arena. I didn’t fall off and although it turned into a combination of trotting and cantering and then trotting and cantering, we made it. And I could breathe again.
At the end Carey said he was a good boy and he listened to me. “He gave you a seven in a five (twice!) because that’s what you were asking him to do.” Oh man. I had no idea we were crawling around the course.
My trainer was very pleased with what a good boy he’d been and so the celebration began with my blue ribbons and pictures. Because that is what you earn when you are the only rider in your class, regardless of how anxious you are and how awkwardly you ride.
Knight was the Champion of the Crossrail Hunter Division! And I was the champion of Susan v. Nerves and Self-Doubt. Thank you for reading our horse show report.
Your Turn: Have you ever had to battle through nerves to meet a riding goal? Who is your horse show groupie and how does he or she contribute to your accomplishments?