Today was the start of the MidAtlantic Equitation Festival! I got out to the barn early (or early for someone who works til 2AM, anyway!) and hooked up the trailer. Originally Holly was going to go and bring another horse to school, but she ended up with a changed schedule as she tried to get things in before the busy weekend, and really, we were going to go flat around in an indoor to let the Cally look at things. I can totally do that on my own like a competent adult. So I loaded her up, along with some shavings for our stalls, and stall setup stuff, since I had space, and toodled the 20 minutes down the road to the PGEC. Which is why we don’t usually stable for stuff there, it’s so close!
But I believe I was one of the first people in to the office, and didn’t even bother to get my packet/goodies/number, just made sure it was OK to school, and was told I didn’t need my number to do that, and where our stalls would be. They were still getting things set up, too. But the ring, it was ready!
Cally got off the trailer, took one look around, and was like, “ho hum, we’re back here again” and proceeded to Chill. I tacked up quickly, and hand walked her over to the ring. I mostly wanted to school because I was worried that walking down the big scary ramp and into the coliseum-style indoor would be a little scary, and wanted to get that over with. No big deal, until we got down the ramp and had to walk across a row of drainage grating. OMG IT EATS HORSES! So we danced around that a minute, and finally walked across and got lots of pats. Which made going into the indoor itself No Big Deal. We walked around the fancy logo sign, and headed back up the ramp, without much drama at all, except stepping across the grating, and headed up to the main rings to get on. I thought there was a mounting block up there, but in the end, the bleachers worked just as well.
We moseyed down the ramp, and once again confronted the Grating of Death!!11!1!!1!! There was much prancing and attempted spinning and attempted backing the hell out of dodge. Until someone offered assistance, took ahold of her bridle, and she walked right across like a lady, with much praise. Show name isn’t Drama Queen for nothing!
No one else was in the ring yet, though folks were moving in and out of the office, and getting the audio stuff set up, etc. We were the only ones in the ring. And it felt a little overwhelming for a minute, being in that big, dramatic, empty ring all by ourselves. It felt like we were on show, even though there wasn’t a person in the stands. We walked a lap or two each way, checking out the pretty greenery at the end of the ring, and the judges’ stand, without a blink from her. But I was a bit intimidated, and frankly, walked a bit more than we needed to, because I was a little afraid to trot. I’m not sure of what, exactly, but it felt weird.
Once we got going, though, that worry melted away, because while Cally was being a little tense, sensing, I think, my own apprehension, she worked great. No spooking, went right around, did some circles and serpentines even, since it was just us. But it was also warm, so we took a bit of a walk break, to catch our breaths, since I had a down vest on, because it was cold outside; this indoor was like actually being in someone’s house warm! Then we cantered, and any last residual bit of worry fell away, because she wanted to lope around like a Hunter, la-di-da about everything. I actually asked for a bit of hand gallop down the long side to wake her up, and she did, but then came back nice and politely to make a 20M circle at the end of the ring, around the fancy sign. We walked a bit before doing the same thing the other way, with the addition of a little leg yield each way, and a rollback to a lead change! Perfect pony, that’s all we needed. Lots of praise, and good job settling in and owning the ring.
I hopped off as we left the ring and she started being silly about the grating again, and we walked back and forth over it a half dozen times, until it was super boring. Hopefully it will remain super boring the rest of her natural life.
We loaded back up pretty quickly, and dropped supplies off at our stalls before heading home. She got a toweling off, and her legs got washed. I think that should be enough for the weekend, as she’s not particularly dirty, and it’s getting too cold to think about seriously bathing, especially once we’re at PGEC and there’s no hot water. Cally gets to go out in the field tonight, and tomorrow she’ll get her legs washed again before we head down to PGEC for the weekend, where I’ll get her braided and head in to the ring for our first class, the Ariat Adult Medal. We’re as ready as we can be, and today has left me feeling very confident in Cally’s ability to handle the atmosphere. Now I just need to handle it, and ride my best. Fingers crossed!