This morning I woke up feeling pretty good about the show. I headed over to the horse center and took Neuf for a walk around the jump arena, and then lunged him in the warm up arena before it was set up. He was calm, called for his friends a couple of times, but no naughtiness.
When his friend came down to the warm-up area as we were about to leave, he got a tiny bit upset, so I went back and lunged him again for a few minutes, just a little each way and he was relaxed.
He called again as we left, but it was ok. I put him away, and then came back to do our course walk. Then the nerves hit. I thought back to the recommendation to just let it out, so had a little bit of a cry, and it worked. Yes, I felt a little silly having a bit of a cry, but I assured Martin that I’d be fine, I was just getting it out. And, then I saddled Neuf and Martin got him bridled for me as I put my boots on.
I mounted there, and felt pretty good. I was able to ignore it when Neuf called a bit, and he just kept walking. Martin wants me to be quiet when I am nervous, NOT talk to my horse because he hears the tone of voice, so I’m working on that.
We warmed up nicely, Neuf was not as forward as yesterday and I wasn’t quite seeing all my distances as well, but it was ok. I felt good and we went into the ring and did our course. I think the first round was clear, but I had a couple of time faults, I got jumped loose at fence one, completely dropped my reins, so had to recover them and kick on to the next line. I was getting jumped loose at half the oxers, but by the end, I had found my center and was staying with the giant jump. When I’d miss, Neuf would still power over, and I needed to figure out how to stay centered with him. He was a good boy and did not buck when I bumped him with the spur when jumped loose, it helps that I have round nubs, no sharp edges.
Then, the second round I missed and pulled a rail, but I felt really good. It turned out there were no clears, so I went back to do a jump off and ended up with a blue ribbon! Woot! I felt pretty good taking some of the inside turns and asking for more forward.
Neuf was really good this weekend. I am glad that I took the cautious plan and excused myself from the ring yesterday, because that was a neutral experience. Nothing bad had happened when I stopped, and I’d just had good.
Overall, it was a good weekend. Planning on exhaling and taking a deep breath after each line really helped too. I am starting to feel like I have time in between fences. I am on a good path and just need to keep taking the baby steps.