Monday, September 10, 2012

Last Minute Victory

I didn't even have a chance to update my blog about our last minute success in pulling everything together.  Long story short, my farrier (God LOVE him!) came out bright and early Friday morning to tack the missing shoe back on, so we rescheduled my lesson for Friday night and zipped off an entry form just before closing time.  Friday night was more or less chaos.  Thank god for Brenna being available that evening - I left the chores in her very capable hands, and headed over to Kelsey's for a jump school.  Considering the fact that we have had several weeks off of jumping between incessant rain and my concussion incident, it went pretty decent overall.  Towards the end we had a bit of a mare moment that got a little ugly, but we got through everything and ended on a good note.  I wasn't too worried about it - bad school means a good show, right?

I didn't get back to the farm til 7:30, and then had to clip muzzles, legs, ears, bathe, whiten socks, clean tack, pull out shipping wraps, saddle pad, and bonnet to be washed, pack the trailer, and then finish chores.  Needless to say, it was ten o'clock before I even headed home, and then had to do a load of laundry, polish boots, and arrange all my other showing necessities.  The night before a show is always rough for me.  The moment my head hits the pillow, I start thinking about all the different ways that things could go.  It makes for a REALLY hard time getting to sleep, which is especially rough when the alarm is set for 5 am. 

But whatever.  I made it up in time to shower, gas up the truck, and feed horses before starting to load.  Robyn pulled out to go pick up another horse, so I was left by myself to load April.  Of course, the day of a show, we would have issues.  I hesitate to elaborate on it much, but the combination of exhaustion and stress of being late led to a minor sobbing fit on my part.  Thankfully she fed off my newly released tension, and walked right on the trailer to meet me.  Big hugs and pats ensued.  I swear - that mare will stroll on the trailer five times in the row, then randomly throw a total fit.  I'm going to have to practice Ivy's loading tips more frequently....

We got to the show in time to have about five minutes in the warmup ring, which wasn't enough for me to try any of the fences together in the intended order.  The first time I went to a show, I was able to memorize my course and jump the fences in sequence during warmup....not this time.  My security blanket was gone - time to enter the real world. 


My first class was the 2'3" jumpers, and it is still literally a blur.  I let myself get completely distracted during my circle before the first fence, and I was flustered from that moment on.  I had the first four fences memorized, but after they had been jumped I started feeling like I was off course, and I felt that way all the way up to the last fence.  I literally became a passenger, and I think we may have run around a good little bit - no doubt, the speed is what caught us a 3rd place ribbon in that class! 

I came out of the ring feeling pretty flustered and bummed, and listened to a few encouraging words from my trainer.  Next thing I know, a thick shock of dark hair shows up beside me - and I look down to see my husband's grinning face.  He completely surprised me by sneaking out of work to come and cheer for me, and it was all I needed.  He wasn't able to make it to my first show with April, so his presence meant the world to me.  Game on!

Next was the 2'6" class, and after watching the course a few more times, it became much more solidified in my head.  I focused on giving my mare the best ride I could, and we had a MUCH better course that time around.  Another third place finish!  Suddenly Robyn and Kelsey were encouraging me to add one of the 2'9" courses at the gate and do one I did!  The third course went even better.  It was a Power & Speed round, where the timed portion is fences 5-9, so I really focused on getting better turns and rhythm through fences 1-4.  April felt amazing, and really saved my tail on a super tight turn to fence 9.  She is such a talented mare in the jumper ring! 

Needless to say, the last minute add-on course won us a blue ribbon, and I am still grinning about it with pride about my awesome mare.  I still look at pictures and think how lucky I am to have such an amazing horse!  It has been a lot of ups and downs, but days like this make the journey MORE than worthwhile.