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After a day spent mostly grooming and prepping on Friday, on Saturday we headed down to PGEC for a second day of Maryland Horse & Pony Show, this time for Ladies Side Saddle.  It was listed in the prizelist as “evening performance” and I was told on Thursday that there were “a lot” of ponies to go before us.  So I figured at least 4, if not way later, like 6.  Naturally, that meant that while I was still sitting around Saturday morning drinking my tea, I get a text from Julie that the person doing the gate said sidesaddle would go in 3 hours!  After nearly keeling over, I hustled to dress and book it out to the barn to figure out how we’d make this happen.

Til I was halfway there, I got another text from Julie that they’d decided “not before 4PM” for us, so I was able to stand down the panic.  I was able to get Cally braided and ready to go, and down to PG by 2PM.

Then we managed to relax there a bit, go for a walk around, and check out the grounds.  We headed over to the ring to warm up a bit, and I’m glad I left plenty of time.  Because for as sleepy as she was for Jumpers on Thursday, she was totally Ready To Go on Saturday.  We cantered around the warmup ring a few times as I tried to get her to settle a bit.   I thought it worked, but as we went in for the Under Saddle, it was clear it had not been enough and she was still a bit fired up.  But we managed to channel it a bit, and she ended up being really nice at the canter.  We ended up 3rd, which I was pretty happy with.

Then we went in for the hack class. The flat portion was pretty meh, and I was a little disappointed with how she went. Totally too revved up to go around quietly. Then when it was our turn to do the hack line, she totally nailed it.

A smidge crooked down the line, but forward, with good distances, and felt pretty good to me. I was really happy with it. And if she’d been a bit more settled in the hack, we’d probably have done a bit better. We finished with another 3rd, which was pretty decent.

Thinking I was ending my season on that, I was pretty happy. Then Holly was reading the course to Julie, and proceeded to turn to me and announce that the course was “easy” and I should do it too. Um, WHAT?! I have never jumped an entire course aside, and it was an actual course. I asked if I could watch a round or two and see what I thought, and was told no, I was going in now to do it. So I got read the course quickly, and sent in to the ring. Not really sure how that happened.

Obviously not perfect, and not the entire course. Cally was jumping great, which was part of the problem–it’s really hard to stay with that! But I kept going once after I felt like I got a little bobbled around, and just felt like I was getting too twisted left to keep going around. But we got 2/3 of the way there, and that felt like an enormous thing for being totally unplanned and unschooled-for. I’m not even sure the last time I had a lesson in the side saddle. Before Loudoun? But it was so confidence building, in that now I feel like doing the whole over-fences class is not a pipe-dream or something to have Holly do next year. Now it feels like something we’re almost ready to do with a little more training.

MDHPS was a great note to end our first season of side saddle with. It was a year ago, after grooming for Holly here, that I decided I wanted to try to take a lesson aside on Cally. And in less than a year, we’ve got from never having a sidesaddle on her, and me having done one mini-lesson, to us being almsot ready to do a whole course in the sidesaddle, and looking like we’ll finish 7th in the Zone.

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