Third show in the winter series last Saturday. Same ribbons, reverse order. The bad news: I was a basketcase about riding a horse other than Sam. I had ridden Casey the previous week to good effect. There was no reason to think I would ride all that much worse at the show.
Casey is a special butterfly around the mounting block. Many ASBs don’t stand still for the rider. Casey’s particular wrinkle is that no one can touch his reins. Not the person on the ground, not the rider getting on. Get on, walk a few steps, then pick up the reins and you are good to go. I got the first part of this message but failed to retain the second part about riding him normally once we got going. I also knew that if you took a death grip on the reins and continued to pull, Casey would object rather vehemently. This all came together in my show-addled head as Must. Not. Touch. Reins.
I larked about the ring with my reins luffing like badly-managed sails in a high wind. Casey threw in a few canter steps, flipped his head, and asked, ‘Excuse me, isn’t there supposed to be a rider back there? Am I on my own out here?’ Either other riders had worse rounds or I was awarded horsemanship points for sitting through it all. I won.
My instructor was prepared to give me a sternly raised eyebrow over my riding, only to have me take the class. It’s hard to argue with a blue ribbon.
Second class, second place. Some canter steps, probably a bad diagonal in the confusion. My eyebrow-raising move for this class was to forget my gloves. I left them sticking out of my pocket. They sat there, waving at the crowd as I lolloped past.
Lesson for the day. The riding ability is there. My mental game is completely shot. In retrospect, I feel okay about riding in Beginner. The three blues (first place for you foreigners) were good for my ego. The three reds (second place when you do the ribbon colors in the correct order) meant I did not dominate the competition. I am assuming the marbles are recoverable rather than lost. Therefore, if I ride in the Winter Tournament next year, I would like to skip Intermediate and move straight to Advanced in order to practice patterns with an eye to cantering at National Academy Finals 2014.
I say if to the next Winter Tournament. I have every intention of staying with saddleseat, at least as a diversion. Even if Rodney and potential New Horse are thundering along, it would be good to keep new things in the mix. However, I could die, the king could die, the horse could learn to fly. Which is by way of an old family joke about a fellow who arranged a year-long stay of execution to teach a horse to fly. Which is by way of saying Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.
My next scheduled show for 2013 is the 26th Annual ASAC Horse Show in Clemson, SC. This will be the start of the show season for the big-time horses and riders. It will an open show with performance classes rather than a fun show for lesson students. It will be at held a show facility rather than at a local barn. In the Academy division, that means shirt, vest & tie rather than collared shirt/sweater. Adult Walk Trot will not have a beginner/intermediate split.
I appreciate everyone’s high opinion of my fighting spirit [Greed comments]. Walk Trot is gonna be enough of a challenge for a while. I still have a lot to learn about riding saddleseat & showing saddlebreds. Might as well learn it at a trot.
Saddleseat posts, including reports from shows 1 & 2.
Speaking of ribbon placings, Wiki has a colorful chart showing the international differences.