But not the kind of blues you might expect.......You see, the show went okay after all
That's right - we rode in two separate 2'3" classes, and we won both classes at our very first show!!!! I have been over the moon since Saturday, and I STILL haven't come down from the high.
Not that it wasn't without a little chaos. We got a pretty late start to the day, so we ended up pulling onto the show grounds a little less than twenty minutes before the ring opened (and I was in class number 2). Thank god for Caroline, who tacked up April while I threw on tall boots, hairnet, and the other accoutrements needed to get in the ring. I hopped on April and headed for the warmup to get ready while Julie shot off to the office to get our numbers.
Warmup started seamlessly. I picked up a trot after a few minutes of stretching out at the walk, and it was so simple. Before I knew it, I was hopping a little crossrail and letting her canter off quietly. We schooled several of the fences that I thought would maybe be the "scary" looking ones, and she literally didn't care about a thing.
Then awareness hit and I realized I needed to memorize the course. Thank god for a really sweet girl who was also reading the course, who explained to me what "Power and Speed" rounds are. Apparently I entered in this particular class, and the idea is that you do the whole course, but jumps 5-11 are the speed rounds where the best time wins. What on earth did I get myself into? Speed, April can do. But it's not exactly the kind of thing we've been encouraging over fences.....power, yes. Forward, yes. But speed? Yikes.
I was the 2nd rider to go in the first 2'3" class. Actually, it was a 2 foot class I had entered, but the show personnel forgot to put the fences down. Oops. So much for starting with baby stuff! It really wasn't a big deal since I had already schooled it, but it left me wishing I had aimed for a little bit bigger classes. At least we know for next time - we have surpassed the 2' classes. FINALLY - 2'3" is starting to feel too small!!!!!!!!!!
April ate up the course. I swear, the mare knew she was at a frickin show. We did fences 1-4 with no problem, after a minor hiccup at the first fence where I came close to going the wrong direction over the fence. Once that initial brain fart/show panic went away, it was a piece of cake. After the fifth fence, I just let her go, and her stride started eating up the course. We took the tight turn to the rollback, whereas most of the riders took the wide route around another fence. I could take April around the easiest turns, and a simple check with the outside rein and my seat, and she would balance beneath me before attacking the next fence. It was to date one of the best rides we have ever had over fences. We are really starting to make progress as a pair over fences, instead of playing tug of war and catch up on the backside of every fence. FORWARD IS OUR FRIEND!!!!
The second class had even more entrants, but our course went equally as well and we rode off with a 2nd blue ribbon. I have never been so proud of my mare. The day was full of hugs and snuggles, and nothing but praise and adoration.
I walked away knowing that we have much to work on, but also realizing what huge ground we have gained. I feel like I have made more progress as a rider in the past few months than I ever did in the past few years. April has taught me such an infinite amount, and I am forever indebted to Ivy for putting us together as a team and helping me learn how to ride her. Getting back into a regular lesson program with Kelsey the past few weeks has also been helping us to make huge strides. There is only so much you can do on your own at this stage, especially with a tough mare like April. There is no shame in admitting that we need help, and even though it has been tight to make it work, we have gotten back into fairly regular lessons again and it has made all the difference. This little jumper show was the kick in the tail I needed to really get me excited about our first horse trial next month.
Without further ado, here's a few pics of my blue ribbon baby.....