So my Saturday starts at 8:30 am with cross rails. I'll go into that more later, but it's a whopping class of 15!!! ONE-FIVE. Wow. I went from classes of 1 at my last show to 15 this time...is that like a 1500% increase? : P
Okay, it can't all be that crazy. I mean, we don't show again until after lunch and it's the Walk/Trot Dressage test...with 15 people.
Trail class? Phew, only 10!
Bribe your Horse? Last show this was my largest class with 4 or 5 people in it. This time? 17!!!
Sunday I get to sleep in since all the jumping classes are in the morning, but I obviously need to feed Moon and want to braid him, so I'll be there early anyway. We're on at 12:00 with our Walk/Trot Equitation, which they split into two groups. Of 10 and 11 each. : P At least I got the 10 group, right??!
I'm probably scratching from the Freestyle, so it's Pas a Deux at almost 2 pm (the smallest class of just 3 teams), and then Costume Class where when I DON'T pull out the giant cardboard car, I have 7 competitors!!
How cruel! : ) I would have LOVED that competition last go around!
Overall, I'm thrilled. The same girl from the Fun Show Walk/Trot and Bareback will be at this one and no surprise, is in almost every one of my classes. Even those that are split into two groups. : ) I've decided she'll be my "Arch Nemesis". She's totally nice, but everyone needs a Nemesis to keep things interesting. ; )
I'm really happy to see that I'm gonna have to work my hardest to get any ribbons in this show, and truly suspect I may come away with just one default ribbon in the Pas a Deux. I WAS thrilled to see that our two junior riders have a couple classes of 5 or 7, which means they'll be coming home with their first ribbons. : ) I still love seeing every junior get something. I know, I know, this isn't public school with no fail policies, but you gotta admit, they worked hard. : ) And yes, I'd love to compete in this 15 person classes and come away with even a 5th place. I'm not dead!
X-Rail: 15 people = 33% chance of ribboning based on size, 0% based on skill and experience. Totally fun class to say "I jumped in competition". And see how we kinda stack up in relation to everyone else.
Trail: 10 people = 50% chance of ribboning based on size, 15% chance based on skill and experience. Again, I think Trail would be AWESOME to show, so here's my first experience to see if it's true or not.
Walk/Trot A: 15 people = 33% chance of ribboning based on size, 5% based on skill and experience. Not being harsh, but our nemesis is in the group, and of the 15 riders only 5 are NOT showing Training level afterwards! Heck, FOUR are showing 1st level after they walk-trot!!
That means our 1st level riders will take the top 4 places, one of our training level riders will take the 5th, and the rest of us will trickle down from there.
So I assume that it'll be a tough run for anything in the top 5. I DO want a higher score then BHP, and THAT is what I'm aiming for. : )
Bribe your Horse: 17 people = 29% chance of ribboning based on size, 50% chance based on skill and experience. THIS is one class I'm actually a little confident that I might stand a chance at getting a ribbon. We've done it successfully before, Moon moves awesome, and we're not half bad. I'd like to see a top 5 place here, but it'll be a bit of a game of luck.
Walk/Trot Equitation: 10 people = 50% chance of ribboning based on size, 5% chance. 3 are riding Training Level dressage tests, 2 are jumping 2'6" Hunters. Let's say that's our top 5 placing, so chances aren't looking good. : P
Freestyle: 7 people = 71% chance of ribboning based on size, 71% chance based on skill and experience. Assuming I don't scratch and use my old freestyle, I probably stand a chance.
Pas A Deux: 3 Teams = 100% chance of ribboning based on size. I assume K and I will get at least one ribbon at the show, since I doubt we'll crash or ride out of the ring. : )
Costume Class: 7 people = 71% chance of ribboning based on size, 50% chance based on skill and experience. Since I haven't even created a costume AND there's a boatload of cute kids in the group, I'll stay the sceptic.
Okay, okay. Back to the "Real" stuff. : P
Tuesday was cold, wet and I was sore from my long trail ride, so I chose to stay home. Instead of riding, I put most of my floor boards back in the pony trailer, and made a little progress there. Hopefully at lunch today I can get the new lock installed and pick up the last piece of lumber I need for the floor (the old piece was too rotted for me to want to reuse). Not close to being done, but a step closer.
Yesterday was lesson day, for everyone but me. I got to bed late on Tuesday since I was trying to rearrange things with the lesson schedule so it would work for everyone, and thankfully when I awoke, it was all making sense again. W was super gracious with her time, and I probably owe her a couple bags of M&M's at this point...
Happy Puppy going to barn!
Moon had rolled in the muddiest mud he could find (further punishment for Monday's bog ride), so I had to let him dry a bit before I could remove it from his beautiful pulled mane. By the time A was finished her lesson and W was jetting back to her barn, Moon was clean-ish. He was starting to sweat in his sheet, and it seemed to encourage a good round of shedding. So there was hair flying EVERYWHERE!
I pulled his mane a bit more, and then tacked and threw two jumps in the ring (by throw, I meant H2 carried half of them for me! Yes, yes, a pregnant lady did my work ; ) ). We set up a small vertical (9"?) and a small x-rail (9"?) on either side of the ring. A was game to jump with me (I tell you, lies, all lies!), and we went around with H2 acting as our skilled Hunter Coach. She was AWESOME! Getting us to focus beyond the jumps, leg on, how to move like a hunter on course, what's allowed, what's frowned on. Just awesome. My first go-over I lost a stirrup and wound up half-cocked in my saddle (thanks Moon for not deeking the 1/2 step required to land me in the sand). H2 coached me into a better position and told me to tighten that girth!! ...haha...whoops.
Yup, my boy when I got him wore a 52" girth. On the last billet hole (the longest out we could make the girth on the billets). Last year I bought and managed to squeeze him into a 50" girth (?) on the second hole from the end. Yesterday, that same girth was on the highest hole I could get it on both side, meaning our SHORTEST girthing to date! And no, the elastic didn't stretch! We haven't used this saddle in months!! He's SKINNY!!! YIPPEEE! Now to find a 48" girth... ; )
So after that initial topsy jump, we got a refusal. H2 reminded me to stop STARING AT MY JUMP!!!
Right. : )
Around and around we went, and amazingly, we actually were doing it!!! Like JUMPING! I don't care how small it is, it was JUMPING. And I was having fun! Like really enjoying myself! Something about H2 and H standing on the sidelines offering instruction and encouragement, A out there doing it with me, just felt awesome. And Moon wasn't hating it. One might almost hesitate to say he was "enjoying it", at least as much as he enjoys Dressage or any other activity that doesn't involve racing across open fields at light speed!
H then raised the jumps. : O I know, insanity. I mean, I could've hugged her for doing it, but still, insane. Then the H's coached us around again and BAM! We jumped 18" in a happy, relaxed (sometimes lazy) manner! X-rail and vertical, without stressing over it. FUN!
I can do this Saturday. At least, make it around and over things. And have FUN!
That's what I just can't get over. How fun it was. It hasn't felt like this since I got him. I WANT to do it again. Higher. Gymnastics. Courses. Anything. Just again. Build on it. And I want the H's guiding us, and I want A right there being crazy with me! Such FUN!!
Now I'm bemoaning missing out on Sunday's X-Country clinic, especially since H had offered me The Black to do the course on! Though I'm probably not ready for 2'3" just yet... : P I wouldn't be surprised if H and I take to the x-country course this fall... ; )
When we finished, I was thrilled. Little M helped me carry the standards back out of the ring. Omg, who doesn't love this 2 year old?! She walked RIGHT into the ring after I carried the first two out, and grabbed a standard and tried to lift it to carry it like me!! These are pressure treated 4x4's with 2x4 stands! They're taller and heavier then she is! But there she was, helping me out. I seriously melted. I know, I know, get the mushy kid-stories out of the horse blog. But she's SUCH a pony girl!!
Okay, so the ring was cleared by the time W showed up again and she brought J.Z. with her. J.Z. is this awesome teenager from W's barn and she's a blast. So while W gave H2 her lesson, J.Z. and I discussed the weekend's show (She's bringing her mare Sunshyne) and then she showed me how to make BUTTON BRAIDS!!! : )
Learning Button Braids!!
Our first ones didn't really turn out, so J.Z. showed me how to determine if you've thinned the mane evenly, and then how to trim off the little hairs. She worked diligently cleaning up my mess, and when we finished, it looked AWESOME! So then we re-braided our buttons and WOW! They looked AWESOME! I still might need to thin one section (she wanted me to wait a day to see how it settles out), but it's stellar! Granted, we only did 2 braids, but I can only imagine him looking like a little dressage pony!
And it was AWESOME to get first-hand guidance from someone who's a really skilled braider. Now I'm excited to get braiding on Saturday morning!
Tired pony with pretty mane!
By the time H2's lesson was over (she did great!), J.Z. and I had finished our mane pulling, and Moon was half asleep. We all hung around for a bit chatting and laughing, and then J.Z. and W headed back to their barn, and H2 and I went to feed the ponies. The sun slowly started its decent, and everyone was back in their places. The evening was over.
As I drove home, the sun setting in brilliant colors on the horizon, I was stupidly happy.
THIS is what riding is all about. While I only put maybe 30 minutes in the saddle the whole evening, despite being there for 4.5 hours, I felt like it was an awesome, awesome evening. From the H's and A in our jumping, to joking around while learning to braid with J.Z., to little M helping me out, to the laughter shared with W and the whole group of gals, to standing on the edge of the pasture with H2 in the dimming light before the horses, it was an evening of fun.
When W told me that she's be picking me up Friday early to head to the show barn, and that she would be a ball of nerves, I was certain that I wouldn't. This weekend is going to rock. Nerves? With this team? With 6 of us going there together, these awesome gals cheering us on, and bringing our favorite ponies? No, this weekend won't be stressful. It's going to be a BLAST. And I really, really can't wait.
Watch out world! Here comes Team Bar W!!