So it's not a 180degree turn, but a slight change in programming. Only slight...
Ransom and I are going to attend an Open Show this Saturday. I'll link the details for the event, um, maybe before we go, maybe after. Don't want anybody following me up there to accuse me of stealing ribbons from a kid now.. We will be organized in classes by age group if that makes ya'll feel any better.
Jen and I have been discussing hunter shows, dressage shows, and my plans for the year. See, I want to get a solid canter to at the fences before attending a big level show like GHHJA. They have one flat class and two to three fence classes per division in hunters.
The show we're attending this weekend and I have a little history. It goes something like this ..
Samantha had been working with Chewie for a month solid. Four to five rides a week. He was muscled, fit, obedient, and moving nice on little cues. I could get him in a canter without a lot of difficulty, and he was generally cooperating. I had brought him home for a week or so when Sam and I decided we'd take him to a show, ride a few hunter flat classes, and have complete disregard for their scoring, simply getting me out cantering in a group would be progress.
We got to the show the night before, Sam and her BF at the time arrived Saturday morning. I put Chewie in a halter class, and much to our surprise, took second in the class out of about fifteen horses. We laughed at the judge, because I had NO CLUE why I'd been pulled out of the line-up of horses. It was a whole classload full of big bukly QHs and Paints, all Halter-style horses, along with a few home-bred varieties. And then there was OTTB Chewie. Judge pulled us out third, then later said to the girl in front of me, "Oh wait, you need to switch places with her", pointing at me. THEN I realized what he was doing. What a delight to win second in halter! I was on cloud nine.. Okay, honestly, cloud ten. A class full of big haltery critters, and my TB took second! I didn't care what anyone else said to me at that moment, I was a superstar.
Later in the day, Sam and I saddled Chewie, talked about what we were going to do with him, and I got on. We rode him out in the practice arena, because the show arena was FULL of riders. Probably 30plus in there at the moment. The middle of the practice arena was a puddle of water & mud, so we agreed to stay at the rail where it was safe.
We rode walk, trot, and canter-left. Changed direction, walk right, trot right, canter right (Always been his bad direction at canter..). He went into it real nice. Sam called out, "Get those heels down, so you don't lose him! LOOK where you're going." And just as I was processing what she said, it happened.
I saw the gate at the end of the arena
And an adult man standing opening the second gate, and walking around to the tractor outside the rail.
I looked at the gate,
Decided I better turn quick, before Chewie takes us both right out of the arena
I turned hard
I fell straight off his shoulder, landing hard on my right shoulder.
We scratched our canter classes, and ended up placing rather well in walk/trot. I however had one helluva sore shoulder, and a seriously bruised ego. I was nearly terrified to even get back on him, let alone my anger towards the fella that just had to open the gate while we were in there without even saying a word. Sam's BF almost had a discussion with the man, but she talked him out of it. It took another two weeks for me to see a doctor who did XRays and an MRI to prove my shoulder had been broken.
My worst injury in the time I owned Chewie. Not our biggest splat, but my worst injury. I was so angry. NO ONE at the show grounds came to check on me, and nobody wanted to help me load my things at the end of the day. I couldn't move my right arm by day's end, and still remember the pain the following day trying to disconnect the trailer. I was horrified that nobody even bothered to say, "Hey, are you alright?"
The show management has now changed hands, and honestly, even if it hadn't, I still would be considering attending. Why? What would make me want to face that place again?
Flat out determination. I refuse to let this tape play in my head anymore of falling and getting hurt. One way I know to get rid of it, is to face the worst place I've ridden, and get a clean canter out in the practice ring, and in the show ring. I'm 100% determined to accomplish it this weekend. Will we ribbon? I don't know. We won't be the slowest AQHA-type horse in the ring, for certain. Ransom won't deliberately go slow, and I'm okay with that. What Ransom will do, is stay relaxed, and protect me from my fear.
Countdown to Open Show ... 4 Days