Going into our final show of the series, I had one goal and one goal only.
Win the damn division for the series. No pressure.
Well, actually, there wasn’t really too much pressure since we were leading by 30 points and just needed to show up. If the second place person showed up, won everything, and I stayed home? Then I could lose but that was really about it.
So, in reality, goals were the normal ones: not dying, remembering my course, and, well, riding.
Seems easy, right? Except I’ve sort of had the spectrum of lessons lately. 2 weeks ago I probably had the best lesson of my life. I meant to blog about it but I didn’t. It started well and I was happy. Then when I thought we were finished, the jumps went up. I saw pretty much all my distances but one. We had a talk about how good and consistent my eye is and how consistent it has always been, especially since I’m only riding once a week right now. I disagreed, but then again, I will agree that I’ve always lacked confidence. I feel like my old trainer ingrained in me that when you do well it’s all the horse, when you make mistakes, it’s all the rider. Therefore, I’m a passenger who tries to allow my horse to do well and try to to get in the way too much.
Of course, sometimes a good lesson is followed by a bad one. Not to say the following week was bad, but I just felt…off. My eye wasn’t there and I couldn’t always get the canter I needed for a couple of singles. We crashed one.. made it over but dismantled the over in the process. Of course I was made to finish my course. Lines (mostly) were fine, just the damn singles. I saw nothing so either I over rode or was passive. Plus I just fell loose… we got through it and ended with an acceptable course (our 3 or 4 try) but I just wasn’t thrilled with it. 3 months ago it would have been a great lesson.
So the show. Confidence level wasn’t high. Brain was having evil thoughts. But Ranger is Ranger. Of course it was crazy freaking cold (started the morning at a balmy 19*F) and way more waiting around the last show. So, while I had a million layers on, once I actually put on my boots and show gloves and removed some layers, I was freezing. My trainer was nice enough to hold Ranger and another horse while we warmed up before schooling as I pretty much stopped feeling my fingers and toes (I was offered toasty toes but I’m so weird about anything in my boots). Thankfully I warmed up fast standing next to the heater in the indoor and I was able to survive schooling (other than taking out a jump…oops sorry!).
So our course was a long ride to an inside oxer which I was a touch slow to so we chipped around to an inside line (going 4) to my challenge, keeping him out to use my corner but still steering to my inside single [I’ve alluded to it before, but Ranger drifts and isn’t always the easiest to steer combined with my TERRIBLE habit of turning late and dropping my shoulder–he isn’t hard but he is happy to take advantage and laugh at me when I give him the option]-we absolutely nailed this corner and jump (and as a result I forgot goal 3 was on going) around to both outside lines the first in a 5 which was fine the second in a 3 (well, 4) because I forgot to ride and Ranger assumed my lack of direction indicated we were doing a courtesy circle. Instead, SUPER ugly jump as he saved my butt. [i was so tempted not to share the video but why not, right?]
Thanks to someone copying my lovely last line and some other errors, we walked away with a 2nd over fences. We followed that up with seconds in our flat classes as well. and another reserve champion. I’m happy as a whole, but honestly just didn’t feel as on as I should have. But, regardless, Ranger is the best.