Today, was a local schooling show at Swan Lake. It was chilly, but fun!!! I rode in the .90 meter division, we got 2nd in the first class (with a jump off) and due to an unlucky rail, only 6th in the second class, but it was good!
Neuf and I showed there at .70 meters last year, and it was very slow. Then, I pretty much turned over the showing to Martin shortly after that, I was too nervous, which showed in my riding, and so while I rode Neuf all last year, from April – July, I always had supervision, ALWAYS. Martin showed him, I put the giant monster up for sale, because he was not fun for me. People tried him, I watched, he was good, but not the right horse for any of them, and in the meantime, I started to enjoy him again. So, at the beginning of the year, I pulled him off the market, at least through the winter.
I’m now showing him and having fun. He lives at Deerfield with Martin for Feb/Mar, and so I get loads of lessons. When we go to shows, he comes home the night before, since the shows are all north, so closer to home. He seems to like having a sleep-over at home before the show.
Today there were tons of riders in the .70 and .80 meter divisions, so even though I didn’t arrive until 10:00 a.m. I still had plenty of time to hang out with Arya (Martin & Ashley’s daughter), watch the show, get nervous, less nervous, more nervous, less nervous…
Finally, there were only 12 more rounds in the .80, they would drag the ring and then we’d be into my division, .90 meter.
I unloaded Neuf, and kept to my system of handwalking him around the warm up area, he looked around a bit, but was calm and relaxed. Back to the trailer to tack up. Martin came over as I was bridling, and I got on and we had a few minutes in the warm up at the end of the .80, which was perfect. It was quiet and deserted, so I did my main warm up, then.
I had learned the course while watching the lower divisions, and due to the lovely modern technology…can share the course map! The days of crowding around the course map are over, we all can take a picture and study it on our phones!
The 2-3 line was a forward five, or a holding 6…or for some ponies, a 7! My goal was to go in, get the forward pace, really get Neuf off my leg, and get that in 5. But, depending on my jump in, make the decision for what I needed. I chipped in, rode it well, but forgot to count, so had 6, but it was the right decision. I had planned to take the inside line, inside 9 to get to 4, but apparently my rapid decision making has limits, so after getting that 6, I needed the longer route to get myself back on plan.
The line from 7a/b to 8, I initially thought I’d take the outside line, around 5, but I landed from 7b, and turned, and realized “oh wait…oh well, go Neuf!” and we got it done.
Then we were within the time allowed and stayed in for the jump off.
I am pleased, I felt good, comfortable and not nervous once I was on Neuf and riding. I am getting better at riding courses, and definitely riding more forward, next I’ll start focusing on getting him on the right lead sooner, or the same lead. He doesn’t mind some cross canter, but it is not efficient.
The last course was mostly the same, but power & speed. Since we tapped the first fence and dropped a rail, I focused on seeing if I could ride really forward and well to my fences, and I got that black and white line in a smooth 5!!!
Since I had a rail at fence 1, there was no speed half, but the first half was good!
Neuf earned his cookies!!!!
And, damn he is a fine looking horse!!!!!