On Sundays We Wear White

For someone who has been riding for thirty years and competing on and off for most of those years, you might be surprised to know that I had yet to compete in the jumper ring in white breeches. Something I considered to be a badge of honour and also something I’ve really striven for. So, I preemptively purchased a pair of second-hand whites from H for the upcoming show at Thunderbird, hopeful I might get a chance to finally show in whites.

The week went well. We moved from the 0.9m’s to the 1.0m’s and I felt like both Fire and I handled that leap well, especially considering we did the Baby Greens for most of the year. I do feel a bit like in the last year I have ridden eight different horses while in the process of bringing Fire along and am currently struggling to try to figure out how to ride this cool new horse I seem to have under me. That’s the great thing about young horses – they’re never boring! Or at least mine certainly isn’t.

On the last day of the show, dressed in my new-to-me white breeches, we warmed up well and I loved the way Fire felt. I was feeling confident, even if the first two fences were oxers, (admittedly not my fave). We walked in the ring and all the sudden that horse under me was gone and instead I had one that was backed off and I had to fight just to get to the end of the ring. I found a long distance (my biggest weakness) to the first oxer. I was desperately trying to put her together around the end of the ring to the second oxer and when I put my leg on and there was no response I got desperate. Old habits die hard, and this one is dying a slow and painful death. I pushed coming out of the corner for a ridiculously long distance to a substantial oxer and while Fire tried to jump initially, we did not make it.

I hit the dirt and was up as soon as I could, worried my horse was going to go for a victory lap around the ring. The jump crew very kindly caught her as she ambled away from me and the jump, likely wondering what the heck was wrong with me and why on earth was I laying in the dirt? I determined I wasn’t hurt enough to need a medic unless they could repair my pride. Talked to my coach, got back on and jumped a couple jumps in the warm-up ring. We talked about what went wrong, how we needed to fix it and then our show was done, and it was time to rush home for the ferry.

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PC Totem Photographics

It wasn’t the best way to finish a show, there may have been a few tears shed on the drive home but that might have been in part because of the exhaustion and looking at the state of my bank account after paying my entries for the week. It was and still is a good wake-up call as to what we need to work on at home. When I put my leg on to go forward the answering machine cannot be on! We have since had about a month back to work and the issues we had at the show are still here but we’re working towards fixing them. While I wish we could have finished our season on a higher note this year, I am truly looking forward to the fall and winter of boot camp to get ready for 2019 Show Season and another chance to show in white breeches again. Maybe next time I’ll make it over more than one jump 😉

(Cautious)Optimism

I think if you go back through a number of our blog posts, we encourage our readers to not be discouraged by negativity, in whichever form it presents itself. But that in itself is a tad negative, isn’t it? Equestrians are such an aggressive bunch of perfection-seeking, competitive weirdos, and we ManeGirls are oh so terribly guilty of it. We have spent a lot of time working our minds around to the opposite thing, which is often helpful when you’re managing a complex, new, stressful situations with wild young horses. We figure if we just keep our bar low, we won’t be too disappointed when things don’t go perfectly.

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We all find success in different ways. For me, jumping a good clear round has always felt more like winning than jumping a crappy round with a red. This is surely not true for all, and yes, I do love to win.

This past weekend, two of the three of us enjoyed one of our local horse shows with three of the four young horses in tow. What was a low-key show was made more stressful for Ranchero, as she had two young horses to wrangle, plus she had to play Uber for the two of them. I was a bit nervous too, as my employer was a sponsor of the show, and competing on a young horse in front of your colleagues and clients is *gulp* stressful. But you know what? It was a fabulous show. Aloha stepped up a level and had some four-year-old moments, followed by some amazing progress. Cowboy competed in his first ever hunter derby against some seriously fancy ($$$) hunters and finished just out of the ribbons. Carma won a class, and came 7th in the “work-sponsored” class, a reasonable sized field, despite her nervous jockey worried about making a good impression.

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After the last day of the show, Ranchero and I were packing up (while Apes galavanted at a music festival – whatever!) and we both said aloud… “I’m really excited for Thunderbird.” I say those words with such caution. Like the second they pass my lips I think… shit. Now I’m doomed.

I don’t think we are doomed! We have been working our (nice) asses off all year. Sure, we’ve had ups and downs, but that’s training. So, TBird bound we are. Is it going to be super fun? Yes! Do we have big goals? Obv. Do we have reason to believe we can achieve them? Sure do. Is the show going to be perfect? No. But I can’t wait! 

~H