As I came up centerline on Test #2 (which I mistakenly thought was #1), I saw about four ladies standing outside the arena, between C and H. No big deal, I have an audience. Won't nerve me - my horse being a dork is enough distraction for the both of us.
I heard the error bell, got corrected, saw Jen and R and the show manager all talking, discussing if I needed help or not. Then, entirely frustrated with my stupid self, I got back to the correct letter to start over. I came down the diagonal, changed direction, forced a smile to the judge, who was cheerfully smiling back.
I heard to my right, from the women at the corner, "Wow. Should she even be riding today?" As I rode my first canter circle, I glanced at them. They were all watching me, one in particular frowning and making this "ohmygosh" face.
Every time I came facing them, I saw them. I heard the sneering whispers about our mistakes, I saw the facial expressions. And I won't lie - it hurt, and it was ridiculously distracting. I came busting out of the arena after my ride, glaring at them from across the short side. I was furious, why would they stand there and critique?
I told Jen and R about it. "There's only one judge here, and she's smiling at you. Just ignore it." That's like telling a firefighter to ignore a housefire, or a cop to ignore a speeding sportscoupe.
As I rode TL#1, I came up centerline, halt, salute. I decided *right* at X, I was blowing my second mark - I was glaring long and hard at that woman, and make sure she knew I could hear her. I nearly rode over to her just to say, "We can hear you in here, so shut your pie hole!"
That "5" for my trot heading left? I gave that up - for what felt to me like a good cause. As I rode where they could see my face, I glared, long, and hard. I rode up centerline at the end, halt, salute, and walked about five steps forward, glaring more... In my mind, though the scores don't say, TL#1 rode easier for me than TL#2.
After hosing the sweat off of Ransom, Jen found the ShowManager, and explained that the "criticism from outside the arena can be heard from inside, is distracting, and less than constructive." ShowManager said she knew them, and would address it. I don't know what ended up happening. What I do know, is I am scheduled in my mind to go back on Sept 19. Same barn, different judge.
If you're one of those critiques, and you're reading, stay off the arena rail during my tests if you can't keep your crap to yourself. I didn't see any of you riding, and at least one of ya weren't even dressed to ride. If you're there again, at the rail, I will tell the ShowManager again, in advance, that behavior like the last show won't be tolerated. I don't train as hard as I do, and work as hard as I do, nor drive that far and pay those fees, to be taunted & teased by grown adults at the rail. I shutter at the thought you did the same thing to some little kid who was at his/her first schooling show ever. Kids have better hearing than I do, and I know the remarks I heard.
I feel entirely better just getting that out of my head, and into print..