Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Okay, when I first decided to do the RMIHC show in September (now three weeks away) I thought I would have two opportunities to practice my mad skillz before the show. There was a fun day with obstacles and a schooling show scheduled in August that would give me the opportunity to figure out if we would or should be entering a real show in September.

Then VSV happened and both of the above events got cancelled.

I'm terrified of looking like a fool. There are obstacles that we have never tried that could be part of the event on Saturday. The only redeeming thing I can look forward to is the obstacle clinic that's offered on Friday night with TJ. Yeah, the trainer I really want to work with but TMR won't allow her to train me at the barn. (Still a bit bitter about that, actually.) She is doing a training clinic for anyone who is interested.

I have the opportunity to work Ashke through all of the obstacles in the event on Friday night. I hope it will be enough.

I also got my dressage cones today and J said she would help me measure and mark where they go in the dressage arena, so I can practice my pattern in a 40 x 20 space. I'm not too worried about the dressage part, since Ashke has been doing the different parts of it really well.

I really am more worried about the obstacle phase for the Level 2 class. Ashke did great in the practice phase of the only schooling show we have been to, but then kind of lost his focus and part of his mind the next day.

We have been cantering a lot. Tonight we did circles around the indoor arena in both directions trying to maintain rhythm and tempo. Then I pulled out two cones and practiced the two barrel obstacle at the canter. It still needs work but we are miles ahead of where we were four weeks ago. Ashke is able to maintain the tighter circle we need for the obstacle and our simple lead change is coming along. If I can continue to practice those elements, maybe we can do the obstacle at a Level 2.

Scared though. Seems like a much bigger venue. That's how we learn and grow, right?


  1. I don't know if this will help at all, but recalling my days of showing as a teen (you know, when hormones are raging and you worry 100x more about what people think) I would spazz extraordinarily bad about my classes at horse shows; I'd be nervous and worried etc. etc. etc.

    But then I'd notice others who got out there and really tried (like I suppose I was in retrospect) and you could tell they were nervous (like I suppose I was in retrospect) but it didn't seem so bad because they were out there giving it their best, you know? And it made me smile to see those people doing that; it took guts. It also made me realize that we were so lucky to be ABLE to ride horses and show.

    And so, I took that feeling of gratefulness and I harnessed it and latched onto it with all I had and pushed that forward into my remaining classes that day. And you know what? I was better and it was easier (or so it seemed). And in the years since then, in my time volunteering at these events not competing, I've watched oodles of kids go through the same thing. And I watch the really nervous ones who were just like me and I just smile really big because I know what that's like, and I hope they know how brave they are for being able to go out there and just do the damn thing. Because they really are.

    It isn't easy to get up in front of anyone and do that sort of thing. And when you and Ashke go out there and do the damn thing in a few weeks it'll be okay. Harness feelings of gratefulness for being able to be present and participate, and smile because you're the brave ones out there giving it a go!! So many may be sitting sidelined wishing they had the courage you do. =) And you said it above, you'll grow and learn from it no matter what! Just go in there focused on that love and bond you and Ashke have and know how awesome and wonderful a thing it is to have that; and know you're super brave to be out there - no matter what happens! You're going to be awesome.

    1. Well, it may be a mute point since the VSV outbreak is still expanding and our barn may be under quarantine next week.

  2. You guys will do great! You've been practicing a ton and even if it's not perfect, it'll be your first time out and you'll have FUN. That's really the goal... having fun. Stay focused on that and the rest will fall into place!

  3. Have a blast! Be proud of yourself and Ashke. No matter how you do, (and you'll do great) you're doing something that most can't.

  4. Karen, it's Bridlewood.
    Suzanne and Phamous left TMR about the same time we did - 5 years ago. She went to Indian Hills Equestrian Center, but it went private. Then she moved to Bridlewood, and she's very happy there.

  5. Its hard to let go of nerves, but just remember you are there to have fun and I think you two will be great!@

  6. Everyone has given you great advice!

    I showed consistently from the time I was 14-18, and then on and off from age 25-27. I've told you before about my time wanting to win vs my time not caring at all and THEN winning. I stopped obsessing about my riding, about what I looked like, about the audience. I looked at it as a challenge: "This is a technical course but I know we can get through it." Who cares about the audience (this from a person that STILL has MAJOR stage fright, to the point of hating to walk into a room full of people because of that second when you open the door and all eyes are on you.) And I wasn't even riding my own horses; I was always showing on somebody else's horse with whom I'd developed a relationship through lessons and practice rides.

    My favorite show of all time was the last time I showed the OTTB Luciano. His owner wanted him campaigned but didn't want to do it himself. This was probably my 3rd show on him. I'd started hating this horse bc he was like a bull in a china shop when he was in the jumping arena: he'd plow through the aids to jump. It made him really hard to control when doing technical jumper show courses that involved ridiculousness like a 3 stride combination with an oxer leading to a 1 stride followed by a rollback. He'd knock down poles from bulldozing through lines like that. My greatest fear was that we'd both crash into a fence and flip over.

    This was the show where everything clicked. Yes, I was nervous: there was a really hairy couple of combinations on this course that I was worried about. But before going into the arena, my trainer saw my somber face and said with a huge grin, "Smile! You're having fun!" I was so tense and so nervous that that comment made me burst out laughing. I rode into the arena still grinning.

    And the audience disappeared. It was just Luciano and me and the jumps. We went around one jump at a time and the world just melted away. It ended up being one of the best rides I ever had on him. It was a clean round. I didn't hear the audience roaring until we were trotting out of the arena.

    I don't remember if we placed. All I remember is what a fantastic ride it was. I got so many compliments on my riding afterwards. It was so fantastic that Luciano's owner started showing himself again after that! I would miss Luciano very much but I still credit him for being the horse that showed me how much fun horse shows could be. Excitement would replace nervousness at shows after that. It was a big turning point for me.

    I'm telling you this story so you can see it from this angle. It's not about competing, it's about showing...showing off your horse, his skill, and your relationship with him. It is a dance that you do together. A dance that is fun to do together. Go in there and be proud of your boy and how far you both have come together, and smile while you remember, and dance. Because just a year ago this was only a dream and now it is a reality, a reality that has finally come true for you. It will be your first WE show, so of course there might be bloopers. And that is absolutely okay. The good news is that it will be the first show of many and you will have time to continue perfecting that dance based on what you learn at this show. And that is absolutely fine too!

    So go out there and have fun! ;)