Will I ever get tired of this? Especially now that we brought home a little satin this time? Yay for schooling shows and super awesome judges right? It’s the white breeches. I think they’re my new lucky breeches. Or the snazzy C4 belt, I can’t really decide. All I know is that Brantley was an absolute super star this weekend.
Oh and a quick review on my “Horseware Competition Jacket” I nailed on clearance from RidingWarehouse.com – OMG IT FIT PERFECT! I literally hadn’t tried it on until we got there like a doofus and it was great. And honestly if I lose the weight that I’ve gained back this year, I think it will still look great. I didn’t feel constricted and it’s super lightweight. Of course the new ones come in a nice blue but I am definitely a fan of the classic black.
Anyway, we pulled in a bit late and after frantically getting ready, I had about 10 minutes to warm up before my dressage test. Now if you know anything about Brantley by now, he needs about 20 minutes… Just to canter around like a loon. Then 10-15 minutes of actual warm-up and stretching out before we can even think about trotting into the dressage arena (which was like half the size of the last arena we rode in). But alas, the bell rang and in we went, head up like a llama, ears locking onto the cross-country jumps behind the judges.
It was a complete mess with touches of beauty and a splash of, “OMG WTF ROCK!” I missed a canter cue but refused to ask for it while my horse looked like he did at that moment. The bell rang… The judge and I chatted for a moment and she asked, “How long did you get to warm up for.” “Well… We were a tad late so maybe 10 minutes.” “He needs 45 doesn’t he.” “Yes ma’am.” “Finish your test. You’ll get it next time.” Ummm… Thank you? So we finished and his halt and salute was the best part. Oh well… Back in the warm up ring we went for about 20-30 minutes until I finally got the horse that I had expected to walk into the dressage ring. Walked back to the trailer, untacked, and had a 3 hour wait until stadium.
Which by the way was pretty fantastic. I gave him about a 30-minute warm up for this but he knew what was coming and he was ready for sure. In the back of my mind I though, “I should just let him canter these” – but I wanted to make sure he took every single one confidently, straight, and forward. Even if I had to walk and pick up a trot a few strides out. If he broke into a canter and he locked onto the jump, I let him go.
That fucker did not throw me a single refusal. Every single jump got better and better. I had to break him down a few times because we’d lose our rhythm and I didn’t want to go off course, but we’d pick it right up again. The last jump of course had a scary flower box and he sat back like he wanted to stop but I had committed and I wasn’t going over without him. I screamed “YES!” when we landed and yelled at him telling him he was a good boy over and over… And then we had a victory gallop around the ring. I apologized to the woman who was waiting to go next as I was crying because I’m a sap and she just smiled and said not to worry. I walked him around the grounds on the buckle just crying, everyone looked confused of course. I was so proud of him.
(For some reason I can’t upload videos anymore so click this for a YouTube video)
It was about 30 minutes until we got to hit the cross-country course and I wish I had my GoPro but I have yet to buy a new charge cord for it. Derp. The first jump was a doozy. Probably the scariest looking thing we’ve ever jumped. Two 5-6ft high by 3 ft wide boxes for standards… Dark wood. Dark pole set as the vertical. Dark hay/straw/gross bales of hay… with branches piled up. All I could think was that if we didn’t go over that one, we weren’t going over anything. Aaaanndddd… We nailed it.
There was a lot of space between the jumps on the course and they had pretty direct routes so we were both thankful. After each jump we had a few strides to really celebrate our victory and still enough time to come back, get set up, and follow through to the next jump. I don’t think I could have been any prouder of how he did and I actually felt really good about myself which hasn’t happened in a while. I felt like I really rode well and I gave him what he needed to succeed. Of course I could definitely pick myself apart but I won’t. I know what we need for next time and that’s what schooling shows are for.
We looked pretty adorable and pro-fresh too. The photographer just posted the pictures from the show and I’m contemplated grabbing some of them. $10 for a Lo-Res Facebook pic and $40 for a Hi-Res… I have no problem paying for pictures and I’ve picked out the two I really like, but I’ve been spoiled having some pretty talented photographer friends so I have to weigh out buying pictures, or putting the money towards eventing camp because that could be a thing this year.
Thank you everyone who believed in us! This won’t be the last time around for sure!