After an equine-confidence-shattering show last weekend, I discussed plans with Holly to rebuild her confidence and get her showing like herself again. I did a little ride aside on Monday and just worked on things being fun and easy, and tried a few fences, but she was feeling very sticky at the base, which is not what you want in a sidesaddle, let alone normally. So we got one good fence and called it a day and went out for a ride through the fields. And I cantered aside in a big open field! So much fun! Then Cally got a nice pro school from Holly on Wednesday, and started off a little sticky and even had a runout at the first real (ie, bigger than 2′) fence she was asked to jump. Holly was so astonished at the very uncharacteristic feeling of fear at the takeoff point for her, that she put her perfect BigEq eye to use, and just kept her forward and going to perfect spots to everything in the ring. And about halfway through the school, you could see it click in Cally’s brain, that the distances were going to be there and she was going to have good, solid footing to jump from, and voila, she was back to her normal, happy-to-be-jumping self.
We discussed, and since nearly everyone at the barn was showing at McDonough this weekend, decided to come along. Holly mentioned that the young lady who’s ridden Cally a bit and done a few lessons on her while I was away might be interested in showing her; I’d offered this as a possibility when I saw how well they went together, and was happy to agree to it for this weekend. We’d both do a two, 2’6 eq rounds, which wouldn’t be too much trouble for Cally.
It was nice having someone to help get ready to show–I cleaned tack and got the truck hooked up the day before, and she got there early to bathe so I could kind of get a reasonable (is 4 hours reasonable?) amount of sleep after getting off work. Traffic sucked, so I was half an hour later getting to the barn than planned, so I was extra glad I really just needed to put my cooler in the truck and load up.
Fortunately, jumpers were going first in our ring, and were still going when we got there. We went to the office and I added Liz as a second rider on my entry…and they gave us one number. I questioned this, since we weren’t sharing a hunter, we were doing eq, but was told this was fine, the gate would sort it out and let them know who was doing what. Ummmm, ooooookay. More than a little skeptical on that one, but if it’s what the office says, I’m going to go with it, even if it seems like the most confusing thing for the judge ever.
Cally was her usual awesome self to get ready, which was good, because this was Liz’s first hunter/eq show, so I also got to play hair stylist and glove selector and cuff-fixer. Cally did get to try out her fancy new Eskadron boots though, which looked smashing on her. Liz was going first, so she warmed Cally up and they looked fantastic. Then we waited around, had some smoothies, and waited some more. Cally looked ready to go show a kid the ropes–the appropriate mix of “I Got This” and “Fancy Eq Horse.”
They went in for their rounds and had just fantastic trips. I told Holly I felt like the Grinch, my heart growing four sizes at seeing the horse I’d pretty much brought along myself, now showing well and helping a young rider have a great first outing together.
Mention may also have been made of them possibly doing the Gittings stuff together next year if things work out, because as it turns out, I really just like seeing my horse do well, and don’t so much care whether it’s with me or with someone else. And it felt good to help a kid have a great first show! They finished with a 5th in their medal, plus a 4th and a 6th in really big competitive classes–I think there were 13 in the medal? It was kind of ridiculous.
Also ridiculous was how the ring was running. There were two medals, plus regular 14-17 Junior Eq, and Adult Eq all running open card in the ring. And the two of us had the same number. And the Junior and Adult courses were the same, as were both the Medal courses. The gate person was confused by us having one number for two riders. I went in and put in this round, with one late change after the last fence being the only flaw in what were some flawed trips (like, simple changes) in what I’m pretty sure were Adult rounds, and we didn’t get a ribbon in the Adults.
I seriously think the judge was as confused as the gate person was, who didn’t understand why the office hadn’t given us different numbers. I explained that I’d asked and been told I didn’t need it. But I have a feeling that between the multiple open cards, and multiple medals/eqs, and the repeat number, that I may have just ended up being lost. That’s OK, though, because we accomplished what I wanted, which was a happy to be jumping horse who did exactly as she was asked, and put in near-flawless trips. I was also super happy about how she did with Liz, and I’m glad that she got ribbons for everything with her.
It was very hot, and Cally was tired til it came time for the Low MHSA Medal, so rather than needing the whoa in the 4-to-4 that I’d needed before, we managed to add and make it 5-to-4, and I put more leg on after that and finished well, with some nicely executed inside turns and a great last fence and lead change. But somehow there were finished 4th behind someone who trotted a turn. Uh, OK? But our other barnmate was 2nd, too, so that was a good class for the barn, and meant that all of us came home with something for the day! Plus that class doubled as a USHJA Silver Outreach class, and since I’m like the only person from Virginia that does those, I’ll probably get another one of those this year, thanks to that. Score!
Ultimately, I think the horse earned about the same ribbons she came home with last weekend, but had such a better, confidence building experience. It’s not about what she brings home as far as satin (though let’s be honest, ribbons are nice!), it’s about the fact that yesterday I loaded up a horse who loved doing a job, and did it fantastically well. She pulled great rounds and good ribbons in competitive junior eq divisions with a first-time competitor. She felt confident and happy doing some direct-to-the-first-fence and inside turns with me. We accomplished exactly what I wanted to with her and that was the real goal for the day. Icing on the cake was seeing how well she did with someone else, and looking forward to seeing her show more in some junior equitation classes at upcoming shows.