Returning to the Show Ring / Birthday Weekend

I’m writing this post Monday morning after an amazing weekend spent returning to the show ring, sans horse show hangover. And the weekend could not have gone any better!

Bless up to all the ladies out there going out to their friends' shows and taking amazing pictures for them to obsess over. Thank you Dani!!!

I was able to do this show as my birthday present, since budgeting is still tight before hubby takes the bar, but I feel like… I want this to be a usual thing for me. It was seriously so fun and the camaraderie with barnmates and the horse bonding (Leo nickered when I arrived Sunday morning!) and my husband came and hung out and videoed for everyone and there was wine and I'm bringing mimosas next time!

Leo was in a GREAT mood, and I was so pleased. He’s had a history of throwing hissy fits in the show ring, or really any time, when he gets too overwhelmed, but he was a v. good boye and got told so many times! Even his little “spook” at the tractor was very small and I easily got him past it in a few seconds.

My goal for the weekend was to 1) have fun without (no nervous breakdowns) and 2) win (I am actually the worst – I know). Both goals were accomplished! I had a secret goal of being the long stirrup division champion, but unfortunately, they did not hand out 5 cent tri-color ribbons for this show. But according to the points and final placings, WE WERE L/S CHAMPION. I might make my own ribbon. So proud of Leo. What a good boy. Really, so many pats and treats were had.

Recap of My Time in The Show Ring:

I did the same course for all three classes Saturday and then a different course three times for each Sunday class. My second rounds were best both days, but that’s usually how our lessons go, too.

Saturday. Was windy (but also made my jacket look real’ fly). I didn’t realize quite how nervous I was until I was in the ring and from the second fence on, chipped every single fence. I came out of the ring and my trainer asked me why I was going so slow and holding him back, and I was like… we were galloping? But I think it just felt like that because the wind was so strong. Leo attempted to have a hissy fit during our third class (eq over fences) about the tractor parked at the end of the ring but it was easy to make him change his mind.

Sunday, we started off the day really well with a first in eq on the flat. Flat classes are always fun with him because he loooves to chase down the ponies, wants to make friends, plus he has a giant stride so it’s both concentrating on myself and my position and “changing lanes” to weave in and out of traffic. My over fences classes also went much better the second day! First class, I made myself give him a loose rein and just let him flow, which is not how I usually ride him. Normally, once he starts jumping he gets very forward and I really have to package him up, but he was in a particularly good mood and kept it together. Trainer said to just check him a little in the lines so that the last stride doesn’t end up looking like an ‘add’ and I ended up second in the next class! The third class I let him pick up the wrong lead (he hates his right lead) but the rest of the course was awesome! It was the $100 open stirrup class though so the kids totally beat out the long stirrup ladies.

All in all, I’d give the show a 10/10, would show again! I am so proud of the rider that my trainers and Leo have made me and the progress we’ve made (really, look at my Vimeo video from last September). Next show, we’ll be tackling the 2’6” hunters and I can’t wait!!