You guys knew I wouldn't let it ALL out at once, right? Part one certainly means there's more, huh? *giggle* I'll let a little out today, and then go shove myself in the corner face-first...
We got up early, got ready, and headed straight to the barn. Ransom had eaten some of the hay, and some of the grain, but not all. He was standing in the stall, pouting, covered in shavings on one side. Well, at least he laid down & rested, the snotty old fart.
With him settled out of his clothes and a little more hay, we hosed down all of the poultice off his legs so he could dry before the show started. R and I ran for coffee and breakfast, as there is no human possible way I could maintain my cheerful demeanor without coffee. Who am I kidding? I don't drink just coffee anymore.. Out on the road, it's Starbucks Vanilla Latte, and back at home, it's a regular latte, courtesy of my machine in the kitchen. So anyways, I got my morning punch, and we were back to the barn.
Jen met us there, her coffee in-hand. We marvelled at some other riders who seemed to be arguing with their equine partners. Whatta sight.... grouchy rich people.. Anyways... *laugh*
Ransom was standing in the stall, still pouting. I went to change into my show-whites, while Jen did some light grooming & walking in-hand. While we sent R off for more supplies out of my truck, I slowly started to groom, brush, clean, and tack up. I slid my slippery nylon blue pants over my white breeches, and took Ransom all tacked to the outdoor smaller arena for lunging warmup. As I arrived there, I looked down, knowing something felt wrong. Well, yeah, genius! I was still in sneakers! Jen offered to continue his lunge while I finished getting ready. So I scrambled back to the stall, got my helmet, gloves, boots, and collar.
I returned to the arena as Jen finished up. We walked Ransom over to the warm-up covered arena, and I got on (again, missing my big steps). There were a few other horses in the arena, two of which were clearly upper level horse/rider pairs. I marvelled at their connection with their equines. They were dancing - it was hard for a bit to focus on what needed done for my warmup. It wasn't intimidating. That's something I love about dressage - I don't have to be expected to compete against upper level experience, because they're riding Second and First Level tests... I'm just in Training Level , so no need to be jealous or intimidated, but just enjoyed watching the rides.
About that time, a younger girl on what looked like an Arab cross of sorts entered the arena. I heard the trainer saying things to her like, "Just push her forward, and relax. You need to stay calm for her to be calm." Oh my goodness... I realized I had to get my warmup canter in, and quick, in case that little mare was ready to blow....
I made a good plan for my canter departure, checked one last second for the other riders' locations. Leaned back, squeeze, and immediately tried to relax my legs and my back. Ransom moved up into a canter much like Saturday's, and we completed a few circles before settling into an easy trot transition. I switched directions, sighted my path forward, and asked again, this time on a long side. Whoops! Wrong lead. Tugged a bit into the trot, got back into my circles, sighted a path, and asked again. Got it! Note to self - he was easy for transitions, up and down, but ask for canter in a circle or on a corner. Don't be a hot-shot & ask on the straights yet, I'm not ready.
As we were cantering, I tried my best to stay relaxed, and focus on where we were heading, while watching what the other riders were doing. I don't know if they were watching out for me, or the general path of life kept them out of the way, but it felt like we were the only ones there for my canter warmups. We had space, a comfortable bubble around us, and I didn't feel pushed or squeezed by anybody else.
Class was called. First up? Walk, trot, canter equitation. Riders? Myself on Ransom, and the younger girl on the Arab cross. As I watched her warm up at the trot, her horse was very forward, but barely on the bit. At the canter, they fought with each other for the correct leads. All I had to do in the class, was stay out of her way.
I entered the arena, took one HUGE long deep breath, and felt Ransom sigh underneath of me, almost under his breath. He knew full well what was up - this was our moment. All I had to do was ride clean, and we'd pin first. If I counted on the other rider missing her leads, and assumed my blue ribbon dreams were going to come true, this was our solid chance.
Could I hold it together? My other intentional canter shows of the past were train wrecks. It was all I could do in the past to stay on the horse, not to mention doing it relaxed. I didn't want to fall, and Ransom had been absolutely solid for two and a half days.
Time to put it on... The judge, and the trainer in the ring, and the announcer, one after the other called, "Walk your horses . Collected walk."
Show's On! More tomorrow!! I'm going to try to get Equitation and Training 1 in the morning... Training 2, well, maybe tomorrow, maybe not. =)