Yesterday was hectic, fun and everything I could hope for.
I left work, grabbed a bag of M&M's for W, dashed over to the local feed store to buy some Lysine for Mr. Moon (which I later found didn't have a scoop!) and the Black, and then made it to the barn with enough time to groom and tack Moon. I pulled the Wizzard out to give her 1/2 a grooming since she'd be riding after me and her owner had to rush from work to make it to the lesson on time.
I had just hopped up on Moon's bare back when W pulled into the driveway, and I knew this was going to be interesting. We hadn't had a lesson in awhile now...
How badly had I screwed up my horse? : O
I chatted for a bit with W and then we started the lesson. Wow. He was tight and hollow, which didn't surprise me. W seemed a bit disappointed by our setback from the last time she had coached us, but diligently set about getting us to work through our issues. It's also amazing how differently my mind works (or ceases to work) when there's no saddle. W was reminding me of things I didn't even have to think about when under saddle. Like using my legs : P Without my saddle, I was clueless. And my crotch hurt.
Around and around we went and slowly, bit by bit, she got us to find a lot of that softness and bend that was bundled up in his tight little muscles. It took a lot of work, it took a lot of patience, but in the end we had something resembling what we were when we left W's. He was stretching down again, his back was coming up so I wasn't bouncing around like a ping-pong ball and I was starting to relax and not death-grip him. Riding is hard. Riding bareback is harder. Riding a lesson bareback, is the hardest.
When our lesson was finished, I was pleased. We weren't perfect, we had a long way to go, but everything he's learned over the past year is still in there somewhere. Yes, Saturday I'll be so nervous that it'll all go to hell, but hey, there'll be time enough to find it. Each time is an experience in what we need to do, and what can and can't go horribly wrong.
Moon was sweating, and I was sweating. My breeches were soaked through and sticking to my thighs, lightly dusted in horse hair. Oh joy.
While the next rider saddled up and headed into the ring, my new friend C who had come out to watch helped me untack Moon and then we gave him a bath. We wanted to watch the lesson for a bit, so Mr. Moon dried off in the sunshine...only for me to discover the shampoo dried stiffly onto his coat. Ew. So it was back to the hose for a rinse. Which Mr. Moon was NOT thrilled about. I didn't care. Just sprayed him, following him with the hose until he decided to just stand like a nice boy. I even washed his face.
Then C and I sweat scraped him and put his cooler on for him to dry. We watched the Wizzard's ride, and before I knew it, it was getting late. I pulled my cardboard costume (1/2 of it) out of my car and attempted to fit it on Moon.
Here's where things started to go south.
Moon was being an unusual moron, screaming to the other horses. He had screamed to Wizzard during her ride whenever she passed by, and I could only think that after this weekend, his skinny little bum is going out on the trails. Since WHEN did he fall in love with other horses?!
Granted he was always a screamer at W's, I wasn't surprised to find the same antics after his bath when everyone was back in their respective paddocks. Sometimes I wonder if he can tell when everyone else is being fed? Because he was totally sane when I brought him out alone earlier in the afternoon, and it was only when H2 went out to feed and fill hay that he seemed to lose his mind.
He was stupid enough to knock over the outdoor saddle rack and yank a few times on his rope. I had to keep from beating him with the cardboard car.
That adventure went reasonably okay all things considered, and I stuffed it back in my car to finish painting. He did manage to trodden on it enough to make a little mess of it, but nothing horrendous. I still don't know how this will all work, and last night, I was starting to get *just* a little panicked about it.
We also didn't have time to practice our kur, since he was being a jerk and I wasn't riding him bareback like that. Plus, I still had to get home to put some more paint on his costume.
Stubborn (meet stubborn), I decided he wasn't going back out to the paddock until he stood like a half-decent horse. So I cleaned everything up while he called, danced and whined. He settled enough to not be yanking and shifting everywhere that I fed him his dinner. Interestingly enough, right after he ate, he stood almost like a total gentleman. Bugger.
W had made a comment that he had lost weight, and I was thinking earlier in the day that he had a couple hollows behind the withers I don't remember. I'm thinking he's about where I want him to be, and will have to keep an eye on his weight. He seems to have figured out the hay feeders just fine and is eating well, so I'm pretty sure it was just a result of stress, the move and the extra exercise.
Since Moon was behaving himself again, C and I put his blanket on (to keep him clean since we're doing "Best Groomed" on Saturday and I knew I didn't stand a chance against the box-stalled beautiful WBs with their glossy coats and warm-water wash racks). Of course, the INSTANT Moon was off his halter and lead, he found a nice patch of dirt and promptly rolled and rolled and flipped over to the other side and rolled some more. C was laughing and laughing, and I was silently cursing his name. : P
I drove home, listening to my kur music and trying to memorise where each movement was. Boy oh boy, this wasn't going to be good.
At home I painted some more details on the cardboard car and cleaned the house for my dad's b-day dinner. My paper mache helmet was nearly dry, and of course, I had to add another layer of lacquer to W's sign.
I crashed into bed and could still feel the bareback riding in my legs. T-2 days to show, and I was soo unprepared.
And so this morning I put some more coats of paint on my cardboard car, worrying about being ready for Saturday. Got to work late, but at least listened to my kur song some 12 times on the drive to get it memorised.
At work I checked my email and found a message from a friend who's also riding this weekend at the show. Apparently the show schedule was posted!!
I hurriedly downloaded the schedule and ran through it...
There we were...RR Moons Sox...
Two other people in our W/T test, one whom I went to high school with (and almost bought a horse from). And one girl I've never met.
$5 bareback test also had 2 other riders, both who I knew.
Bribe your horse at liberty had 3 other people which would be interesting!
Then came the costume class...
There was no one but me in it!
I had created the ULTIMATE horse costume, slaved away at it for a ridiculous number of hours, only to have ZERO competition. I could have won if I threw him in a western saddle and said "I'm a cowboy". : P
I DID NOT need a 7' long race car complete with custom tires and spoiler. Nor did I need all the stressing over it to have ZERO COMPETITION!
The *only* saving grace is that *maybe* if he doesn't destroy the thing in a panic on Saturday, we can use it for some shows in the future that have a real costume class. You know, one with competition?? : P That being said, I'll have to store this giant race car somewhere. Time for a bonfire of disappointment.
Yes, I was more then a little bummed over that one. A lot bummed. : ( It's one thing to win a 1st ribbon because you worked hard and rock. It's another to win it because there's no one else there. : P
Boourns. Bet you everyone read my blog and bailed ; )
That's what I'll tell myself anyway. At least, maybe, maybe, we can provide some entertainment for the kiddlings that are coming to watch??
My next disappointment came with a sense of irony.
Class 309: Best Groomed.
Guess how many people are in THAT class?
My mud-rolling, fence line pocked, shedding-out, won't stand for a bath and still untrimmed pony is poised to be 1st in the Best Groomed. In a show filled with FEI, Grand Prix and Second Level Horses. Warmbloods, horses whose breeds are only initials, horses that live in beautiful box-stalls and live in individual paddocks where they never get a scratch. Who are bathed in warm-water wash bays in indoor buildings free of dust, and then decked out in every wrap, cover and lycra accessory ever created.
Yes, we're poised for first, because there's NO ONE to compete with. Oye. Disappointing.
Our final class is the Kur. The Dressage Freestyle. There's even a big poster displaying the "Prancing with the Stars FREESTYLE EXTRAVAGANZA". "Win the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy".
Insert crazy-person's laughter here.
Guess who's in the class??
You'll remember one of them. I posted their YouTube video a while back saying "If this is what we're up against. We're screwed".
Yes, the beautiful Dom Ferro. At least I can gloat that I made his stall sign... ; )
And the rest of the class?
Super-horse, and Me.
Beat self with cardboard race car.
I'm stressing over a class of two? Against Super-horse? Even on our BEST day, we don't stand a chance. Even if every timing is spot on, and Moon remembers all the softness and suppleness from yesterday's lesson, we DO NOT STAND A CHANCE.
I'm not being facetious.
It's just the truth.
And the judge was actually my coach way back in the day. I believe her exact words to me once were "You're riding like a sack of potatoes". No, I'm not ad-libbing that. It's hard to forget being compared to objects of the spud-ly variety. Granted, it was nearly 10 years ago, but still. Yesterday's ride on Moon was pretty darn close to making Mashed-Potatoes. I suspect my Judge's Remarks to read: "Try riding a little less like a vegetable, a little more like a ballerina. P.S. Your costume sucks".
So we at least get two serious "competitions" in the show, and at least it's the Walk-Trot class which is our "true" practice for our next show. The rest shall just be for fun. For experience. And hey, you never know. Maybe our One Trick Pony will kick Super-Horse's immaculately groomed arse.
Stranger things have happened...like horses dressed as race cars...