There are times in this sport when you want to rip your hair out. There are times when you want to cry. There are times when you bleed and plenty of times when you sweat. There are moments of heartbreak, both temporary and long-lasting. And there are times when we want to quit. But, then there are those times where everything starts falling into place, and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it makes it all worth it. Today was one of the days that helps make it all worth it.
In spite of the brutal heat, lack of sleep, and brand new, unbroken-in tall boots, today was a great day. Our first class of the day was the Maclay. We got Ramsey into the warm-up ring a bit early so we could really school him on the flat. We changed his bit from a soft rubber mullen mouth pelham to a single jointed metal pelham, and that seemed to help a lot. We did some spirals at the trot and canter, some counter canter, and some sitting trot to really get him listening. After some resistance in the beginning, he was great. Just as we finished our flat warm-up, it was time to walk the course, so I hopped off and hands the reins over to the trainer-dad.
The course was a fairly simple course. It started with a single vertical, then rolled back to a seven stride bending line, then rolled back again to a vertical, to another roll back to an oxer-vertical eight-stride bending line, and then finished on a two-stride to four-stride line. It was simple, with good turns, and lines where you could exhibit your ability to adjust your horse (if your horse was adjustable, that is).
After the walk, we did a quick warm-up over fences. Since there was no order of go, and the rest of the riders we waiting to see one go, I decided to go first. It’s not like watching another rider’s round would actually prepare us more. I knew how the lines walked and our main goal was actually going over the jumps, anyway.
So, we stepped in the ring, did a courtesy circle, and cantered to the first fence. I saw the distance was going to be a little gappy, so I drove Ramsey to the fence as un-noticably as possible and he, surprisingly, went for it. So, the first jump may have been a bit agressive, but we got over it from a good distance and continued on our way. The second jump was great, and the seven stride line worked out pretty dang well. We then did an easy roll back, no tight turns for us today, and jumped a bit long over fence #4. Luckily, though, it was heading away form the judge. We then landed, cantered around to the fence #5, which came up nicely, and then had a decent trip down the eight-stride bending line, which came up a hair tight at the end. Ramsey’s stride is always surprisingly long to me. But, we finished very well with a great two-stride to four-stride line. In other words, it was an awesome round, especially in comparison to anything we did yesterday.
Next up was the flat, my least favorite thing to do. It’s not that I don’t like flat work, I actually love it, but I find the endless sitting trot without transitions and with traffic to get quite annoying most of the time. However, as flat classes go, this one was pretty pleasant. We were able to line up after a few minutes. They called the riders out one by one (shout out to my Facebook buddy, Katie Fritz on getting 3rd with her new guy!), and when my name was announced in 6th, I couldn’t help but be happy and proud, even though points are only awarded through 4th. Regardless of our placing, Ramsey has already improved leaps and bounds from both last week and yesterday.
As soon as the flat was over, we exited the ring, took a breather, and started warming-up for the USEF Medal. After jumping a couple jumps, we were ready to go, and headed back into the ring. Ramsey was, once again, awesome, but I made a few errors in my distances. Nothing dramatic, but it wasn’t quite as good as the Maclay trip. We still hung around to see if we were called back to test. We weren’t, but it turns out we were only one spot away from making the test, and ended up in fifth place.
As the end of the qualifying season nears, and I still don’t have any points, it can sometimes be very frustrating to try to qualify on a green horse. Seeing these other girls with fancy, made eq horses who having been showing almost every weekend since the beginning of the season sometimes doesn’t seem fair. They’re lucky, but so am I. Regardless of what happens, these experiences are what have made me the rider and person I am today. I couldn’t possibly be more proud of Ramsey for stepping up to the plate and always trying his heart out. And, I’m pretty proud of myself for what we’ve accomplished thus far. I know our next show will be even better. We’re heading home tired, but content. Until next time, Tryon! See you next weekend.
Pictures coming soon.