Before I get to the show lowdown, I wanted my dear readers to check out Jackie's new blog
! She is a-bloggin' and about 21x's more interesting than me. So if I were you I'd check her nonsense out :P
This weekend's weather was very unkind. I should have known that the first show of the year would yield relentless downpours, thunderstorms and tornado watches. Fantastic. I spent most of Friday fretting if I wold get my $ back, or if we would just all die from drowning. Fun fact about me- I am literally terrified of thunderstorms and they pretty much render me useless until they pass. I usually curl up in a tight ball and somewhat sob like a little child until they blow themselves out.
Nevertheless, I hooked my truck up, loaded a confused Yankee (he was not braided or bathed- a process he is accustomed to for shows) and made my way to the show grounds, all in the pouring rain. I made it there about 10am, and I had quite a while till 2:03, so I gave Yankee his hay and headed over to watch my barn-mates ride their tests.
Luckily, the weather broke around 11:30 and the sun actually came out for a hot second. I got Yanks off the trailer about 12:45 and let him graze before I tacked up.
This is an extremely fantastic picture of Yankee.
He was a total gem on Saturday. Not at all the cray cray OTTB I've experienced in the past! I was blown away by his serene attitude and our warm-up was more than perfect. We headed into our first test with confidence and executed it wonderfully! Minus the break in the canter as we headed across the diagonal for the simple change. We barely waited 15minutes and we were up for our 2nd test. Our lateral work was pretty crappy, but he was more than relaxed and supple. I'd never felt or seen him act so wonderful at a show and I exited my second test smiling ear to ear! Our third test- 2nd level test 1, went super fantastic as well! His shoulder in right was a bit stiff, but otherwise, the countercanter was flawless, and everything else was just lovely. In all of the tests, his free walk was excellent and the stretchy circles were great! All the practice is really helping!
Overall, I was pumped to see our scores, since I felt he was mostly perfect, and rode better than we ever had before. unfortunately, even though the judge was super sweet, she was uber unfair. Like, whoah. Normally I don't bitch about judges, but we never crested a 68% on any of our tests and I thought we deserved much more than that. Perhaps I am biased, since I know how psycho he used to be, but I figured we would at least get a 70% on the First Level tests.
The girls who beat us had over 70%'s, which I could NOT figure out. Not only did their horses go around with their noses in the air, but they were stiff, spooky and generally unpleasing to the eye. Nevertheless, at the end of the day I was pleased with a first, 2nd and 3rd and a brilliant performance by Yankee, but that tiny competitive part of me was pissed!
Sunday dawned even more stormy than Saturday and I stalked the radar like my life depended on it. It actually probably did, since we had a tornado watch, god bless smartphones. The bad storms were going to hit around 11:25, right before my dressage test. I debated scratching, but went anyways.
I got there around 9am, and they were ordering all horses off trailers and to stand in the indoor. This complicated things a bit, since a) there was no warm-up for dressage indoors because of the already limited space being taken up by the offloaded horses b) I had to haul all of my tack to the indoor, in the rain, since we weren't allowed to go back to our trailers in the lightning.
About 20 riders scratched, so I ended up riding my test at 10 something. With no warm-up. At all. Can we please think about this for a minute? No warm up. At all.
We got to WTC in the dressage ring for like, 3 minutes before our test but this in no way suffices as a dressage warm-up. I usually take 30 minutes to stretch, walk then gradually work up to trot and canter.
Our test was alright considering. His stretchy circle was not very stretchy since he was still cold, and he bucked a mighty buck in our second canter circle, but otherwise he was collected and calm. I thought for sure we would be in last place with that and was rather frustrated. Not the show grounds fault that it was storming, but still....FRUSTRATED.
Jump 30 minutes ahead and we were getting ready to do our stadium round. After the lighting passed, they let people start doing rounds again...in the sideways, pouring rain. FUN! No walking the course. No warm up. At all. Again. I sat there watching the riders go...
(This picture does the rain no justice, it was so thick I could barely see!)
Yankee was not amused.
Since I had about 2 people before me to memorize the course, and not having walked it or warmed up (I hand galloped around the indoor for a few minutes before hand), I was very apprehensive. I came here to practice though, and eventers ride in the rain, so I sucked it up and tried very hard to remember my course. It was to say the least, extremely windy, wet and cold. The course was windy, with a triple bar fan, a swedish oxer, vertical one stride combo and a skinny vertical, among others.
Yankee. was. brilliant.
He acted like he was having the time of his life! He was squealing and overjumping everything. I couldnt help but ride around with a HUGE smile on my face. Not only did my horse go out in the torrential rain, slop through the disgusting ring, jump this training course like a boss, but he did it wonderfully, WITH NO WARM UP. I love him. Love. Double clear!
Again, no justice for the mud
I sprinted back t0 the trialer with him, tore off his sopping, sandy tack, and tossed him in the trailer with hay. I drove up to the office to grab my test and walked into ALL the riders crowded around the table. They were doing like a ceremony type thing. I got my barn-mates tests and ribbons, since they dipped out before the storm and was stunned to hear " Can we please get Monica up here front and center?"
I was like, Me?
Then they handed me this giant ribbon and goodie basket, telling me I was overall champion for the weekend. SAY WHA?
Dude, that is wicked cool. I ended up winning my division with a 30! Imagine if we had warm-up and no buck! I was SO ELATED. God, I love my horse!
"I haz no moar roomz on mah face mom."
"Can I just have treats now?"
Wow. Just wow! My OTTB FINALLY won something huge!
My disgusting tack.
The winnings from this weekend
Our goodie basket!
Coming off my happiness high, I began my chores shift at the barn. I had most of the horses in, less 3 geldings from the far field when mothernature really screwed us. It literally rained for an hour. Solid. It was bad. 2 of the 3 barns flooded, and the lower barn was like a river! I would post the video but the BO asked me not to, so out of respect, I won't. 2 stalls flooded completely...
...and a few of us spent almost 2 hours digging trenches in the aisles in hopes some of the water would drain. It was literally like a river in the lower barn. The water was flowing and it was ankle high! Never in my life have I seen rain like that!
The self care barn flood.