I dismounted for the walk into the show ring. That meant I had to walk through puddles, and as I got to the puddles heading into the arena, I wished I had stayed mounted. Once in the arena, I checked his girth, checked his mood, watched his eyes, and mounted back up.
Headed left to start, and as I did, I realized I was pretty much against traffic. Oh well, Ransom got to the cow-chute end of the arena, and got a little tense & buggy-eyed. I patted, pet, soothed, talked, sang, anything to keep his ears on me. After two laps around, he relaxed. I switched to walk-right. Same thing, only more buggy eyes. He tensed up in a couple spots, and walked sideways a bit, avoiding contact twisting his neck around the monsters that lived under the bleachers and behind the cow chute. More soothing words, more neck pats, and I did all I could to unclench my butt from the saddle. Can't relax him if I don't relax, too.. breathe,.. sing.. breathe...
Finally we picked up a trot, and that went mostly well. We weaved in and out of traffic, and made some quick jerks to stay out of others' way. I laughed hard at one lady who was heading opposite me, stuck on the rail, as she glared at me with a face that said, "I'm better, and I ain't moving." Her equitation suggested otherwise, but knowing I was tense & probably hideously ugly, I didn't let my thoughts show.
Announcer called out over the speaker, "Okay, we've got about five minutes left of warm up, and we'll need everyone to exit the riding area." I realized time was running short, so knowing the canter had to happen, I switched to heading right, and asked coming out of a corner. The transition wasn't pretty, but the movement was. da dadump da dadump, da dadump, in my head as I counted out the footfalls in his stride. Same deal heading left - solid, quiet, transition iffie, but overall, really nice.
I almost ran into the same human trainer-lady twice. The first time, she walked right in front of us without looking. The second time, she made the mistake of looking up at me. "I'm not moving, sorry", I said to her. If you're on two feet, in an arena full of horses, it should be understood the horses have the right of way, especially if you walk out in traffic! I'm bigger! I win! *laugh*
Thinking time was up, I exited the show ring for the prep area, and dismounted. It'd be a few more minutes before they got started, but the Bridle Path Hack, and 40+ riders HUS went before my age group.
The announcer called my class. Four of us total for Hunter Under Saddle in the 19-39 group.
Enter the arena at a rising trot. You are being judged when you pass the cones.
Here goes nothing...