Friday, November 16, 2012

Onward and Upward

The 2012 show season is over. Two of the three championships we attended I can count as successes! The first one I wrote about in my last post Quiet Laughter...that was clearly not one of the successes. Next we were onto the CBLM Championships held in Lexington, VA. Any fall show at the Virginia Horse Center is going to be one of my favorites. I grew up showing at this facility but there's something about it in the fall that makes it perfect. The leaves are beautiful in their wide array of fall hues, there is a crispness in the air and I get the chance to eat at all my favorite local digs! But I digress, back to the show...besides the terrifying drive over the mountains, everything went seamlessly. Buddy was positively lovely to ride. He was soft, adjustable ad forward in all of our schooling both inside and out. He  went into his practice class and had a BEAUTIFUL ride with only a small spook earning a 2nd place in a large class. This pumped me up for our Championship the next day. My ride was in the very middle of the class so we were lucky the pea soup fog had finally subsided by my ride time. We went in with the same mentality of keeping it quiet and forward. The test was going  SO WELL that I took at moment to sit back and back in the glory of it...and then we broke out of the canter! Ugh! No biggie, I can fix it on the other side...and it happened again!!! Really?!?! So I opted for trying to make up for some lost points by driving the last medium trot home. The score wasn't awful but it knocked us out of the placings for a respectable 12th place of 27 riders. Not bad but not the best. Performance wise, I was super pleased after having quite a few difficult rides this season with Bud. We had a blast with our friends from Beech Creek Farm and overall the show was awesome!

Two weeks later we made the trip down to the last show in Williamston, for the GAIG/USDF Region 1 Championships. This particular show made me a little more anxious than the others because of the test. Second 3 has been giving me problems all season. I haven't felt confident with our balance in the canter  let alone the counter-canter teardrops, but we were going to try our hardest anyways. The week leading up to and into the show was a tough one for us anyways. The weather was very rainy (preventing any riding), Buddy sprang the corner of ones of his shoes the day after the farrier came (Friday). I  knew my farrier was unavailable so I called another who told me he was too busy, I called a 2nd farrier who was unfortunately out of town. So, Monday came and my farrier was able to put the shoe back on. I rode Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday it went to hell in a hand-basket at work so no riding and Thursday we left for the show. I get everything settled with Boo in the barn (we were stabled with all of our friends from NSTC and Beech Creek was right down the aisle) and go to check in. I had left my Coggins at home on the printer. Commence full freakout mode! I called my vet's office but they were closed for the day. I ended up calling the Emergency number and luckily the vet on call was headed back to the office and would fax me a copy. 1 hour passes and no fax. I call the vet back and she says she's been trying to fax it but there is a busy signal (i.e. the show's fax machine is busted). UGH!!! The vet says she will attempt to email it. Another hour and the email finally comes through, EUREKA! We get our numbers and fly back to the barn. By this time it is 6:30 and the rings close at 8 for riding. Our championship ride was going to be in the Coliseum (which is not one of Buddy's favorite places to ride) so the first night, the next night and the following morning either included a ride or hand walk in this fear inspiring building. I get him all tacked up for the first warm-up ride in the Coliseum and boom, left front shoe is missing. Cue the tears. I try to collect myself and find the show farrier, wouldn't you know, he has left for the evening. I call and plead for him to put this shoe on and l  he begrudgingly agrees and will be there in 5 min. I run back to the barn to get my horse and go to bring him out of the stall where I proceed to break his etched wood show plaque. UGH AGAIN!!! The day was just not a good one! I get the shoe on and run to the Coliseum for a 7:15 ride. It was full of spookiness and tension but I decided to call it quits on a decent note since I was pretty sure I was the problem and not him. We started the next day anew and it all went up from there. We had a super ride for our practice test and ended up 2nd in a large Dover Medal Class behind a friend of mine. We went to dinner with friends from the barn then came back for a hand walk around the Coliseum. The next day was the big one...and I was the first ride of the championship class. I went in and rode my tail off. I came out of the ring in tears and my mom asked what I thought of the ride. My response was, "That was the ride I was waiting for all season!". I wasn't sure if the judges would agree but at that point I didn't care. To make my very long story a little shorter...I sat in first place with a 66% for the next 12 rides. The last three bumped me down but by only tenths of a %! We got to victory lap with the other placers and I wore a stupidly big grin the entire time! It was a perfect ending to a rather frustrating season.

Now, the boys and I are enjoying a little down time with lots of fun strength building rides including gallops through the back pastures, flying change schooling and cavaletti pole work. Buddy's changes are coming along quicker that I expected and DJ is just working on not being so strong in the mouth. I think we are going to have a real winter this year meaning actual snowfall. It may put a little dent in our ring work but who doesn't like a good gallop through the snow?!? Until next time!