After Dressage, there was a lunch break. During this time, I went over to take a picture of the course to study and then I dragged my husband over to walk the course with me as I found it terrifying.
You might be asking yourself why an 18"-2' course with 50% of the jumps as cross-rails was terrifying. Let's count the ways:
- I have never jumped Nilla over a 2' vertical.
- I have never jumped Nilla over course of more than like 3 jumps.
- Some of the jumps were decorated with flowers... which Nilla has never seen.
I'm not entirely sure why I didn't think to maybe put out some flowers and practice ever going over a jump with flowers before this show, but I didn't. I also didn't practice doing a course, or you know, ever going over a jump that was 2'.
This tiny little jump was terrifying. I grew up riding at a show barn and rode greenies and fresh off the track TBs so I've been through the experience of introducing a horse to flowers and other jump fill for the first time. It can be very spook-inducing.
As a reader, I would be wondering why someone would set themselves up for complete failure like this. But, now that I've done it myself, I can honestly say, I was really just not thinking about it until the moment. So judge away if you want to; I would be.
Anyway, back to our tale. They set up 3 jumps in the dressage arena to use for warm-up. I tacked up, got on and headed into the melee. Luckily the division only had 6 people in it, so the warm-up ring wasn't total chaos. There was a lot of the usual craziness. Especially as two of the horses were objecting pretty strongly to the experience and have some freak out/temper tantrum moments. But it was manageable. We went over the little cross-rail a few times and Nilla was basically slowing down to sniff them, then hurling herself over like there was lava underneath. So that was really helping my confidence. After doing the cross-rail, my husband was like, are you going to do the vertical and I just glared at him. And he was like, do you think it's going to get magically easier during the course? So I shuffled over to the vertical and Nilla did the slow-down-leap it jump, but we made it over without dying, so I quit warming up and went to stand in the shade.
As a schooling show, they were allowing each rider to do the course twice and the judge would take the better score of the two. So you basically got a practice round first, but if you went clear on the practice, you could stop or even mess up the second attempt and still be fine. They also weren't timing or eliminating for going off course. It was basically don't knock anything down and you're good.
We were 5th to go so I got to watch the other people go first. They were all running around cantering and a few other them were racing pretty fast. And I was like, yeah I'm gonna go trot all of that.
Everyone at the show was obsessed with Nilla and had been asking when we were going (for both dressage and jumping) so there was actually quite a crowd for our turn. I was pretty sure I'd be falling off in front of all of them.
We went in and since we were allowed to practice, I trotted Nilla past some of the flower jumps and let her look at them. Thankfully, she didn't care at all.
So we started our course.
|Airy and tall vertical|
And we were totally fine. Nilla took a few sniff and leap jumps, but then settled down and just went over them like a normal equine. We finished and the judge said we could go again or be done and I figured, I paid for this, might as well practice. So we did it again.
|Flowers all over the standards|
|Scary (to me only) flower box|
The second time around Nilla was tired/bored and just trotted over some of the cross-rails, but we still went clear and she got lots of pats and praise.
|omg we're done...|
We went over to hand out in the shade again and offer Nilla some water that she completely ignored. Then we got called back for the ribbons. I actually didn't think there even would be ribbons at the show. The flyer didn't mention any and since the focus was on schooling and not showing I thought there wouldn't be. But then we saw them out on the table at lunch and I was all "I must have one." It's funny how I was fine with not getting any ribbon, but once their were ribbons, I wanted to win. There were only 6 of us in the division though, so luckily everyone got a ribbon.
No one in my division got any faults in jumping so the scores from dressage carried through. We got 2nd place.
It's not as fancy as the champion ribbon from the last show, but I'm honestly more impressed with it. We actually beat out more than just 1 person and we weren't alone in any classes. Some of the other entries were on really nice horses. But we held our own. The dressage judge even came over to compliment us during lunch when she was leaving before the jumping started.
Not only did we get 2nd place, but Nilla was awesome. She was calm and quiet and well-behaved all day (minus the screaming). She went into that jumping arena having never jumped that high, having never seen filler, and having never done a course before and she rocked it. Yes, we still have a lot to learn and practice, but we did well for this show. It was all around a great day: everyone was nice, the facility was amazing, and most importantly, we had fun.
Labels: Horse Show, Mule Riding, Nilla