Today dawned cold and sleety. I was less than thrilled to see the layer of ice that had accumulated on the deck and on my car. I started to wonder (read panic) if I had given myself enough time to get ready and drive to East Lansing, but my fears proved unfounded. Despite driving in a occasional downpour of ice, the roads weren't bad at all.
Because I wasn't feeling well, I decided not to bother with a double windor, and instead pulled out a turtle neck and the extremely pretty sweater that a co-worker had given to me. It no longer fit her, but it looks great on me! It's a lovely turquoise, and I thought about skipping on my helmet, as they clashed, but I learned at the show that they are required for all riders. They were optional at the MIA show last month.
The show was at the smaller barn at the MSU Pavilion. I don't know quite what I was expecting, but the facility was very nice. Even the port-o-potty didn't bother me, but since the fruitless effort to dig up Jimmy last May, I must have gotten used to using one. The ring was a little bigger than I thought it would be, and since there were only 3 barns participating, it was never crowded when I was in it.
I was in the first and the twenty-six class. It might sound like a big spread between the two, but there were about 20 classes canceled. The first class was Show Pleasure Schooling, and it was judged on the horse's performance. I was riding Harley, because both M & D thought I would feel more comfortable on him in the smaller arena. The other class was 18+ Equitation. I didn't hold much hope for that one...
To start with, everything was rather rushed before the first class. It seemed to me that we were late getting the horses bridled and out in the warm up area. M had me warm Harley up, and I was a frazzled mess by this time. My perception of him is that he needs a longer warm up period, and I didn't even have time to canter him before the first class was called.
Laurie and I were in the class (a friendly face!), and there were two other riders. Laurie was riding Summer, and she had a terrible time with her! She couldn't get her to trot with impulsion, and she was never able to canter her, in either direction.
I trotted Harley into the ring, working his bridle the way M had shown me during the past two weeks. He was trotting beautifully! His head was set, and he felt really good. Here's were everything fell to crap. I set him up to canter, and he picked up the wrong lead. I didn't even realize, because he hardly ever picks up the wrong lead and he is rough in that direction! Both M & D were trying to help Laurie get Summer to canter, and didn't notice me, so I think I actually went around the ring an entire circuit before M noticed. F@CK! The rest of the lesson was better, but of course, I was 3rd.
When I was stuffing a frosted cookie in my face, hoping the sugar buzz would dull the memory, D came over and said, "And I thought you were going to win your first blue." Rub some salt into the wound, why don't ya? I told him I never know if I'm on the wrong lead on Harley, and he and M need to fix that! Like, before the next show!
Several people commented that I looked really nervous during the class, and M explained to them that's the reason I'm doing the academy shows. I'm not as nervous as I used to be, but I get tense and my brain seizes up. When I went back in the equitation class, I was much more relaxed (sugar cookies are good for you!), but as it was judged on how I sat on the horse, I was dead last. Laurie also has Summer fixed by then, and they looked really sharp. She was 2nd.
The kids from the barn did great! Most of the older kids won at least one class. Maggie rode Harley, and she didn't do so well, and I know she was every disappointed with her ride. Harley is a great horse, but I think it's really hard to win on him. I really want to try riding Blondie at the next show, and M said as soon as I get the canter down, we'll try it. I don't even care if the canter is down; I'd rather fail spectacularly on my horse than someone else's! At least I would know what we need to work on before the real shows start again, and I think her spooking at the new surroundings is going to be more of a problem than whether or not she canters.
I stayed until the noon break, and then, chilled to the bone, I left for warmer surroundings. I didn't even wander over to watch the polo match, because I was so tired and felt so crappy that I just wanted to go home and go to bed.
I did stop at the Borders in Brighton; I had Christmas rewards that expire tomorrow, and a 20% off coupon that I wanted to use. I think it's cheesy that they put an expiration date on their reward points. I also ordered a cappuccino at Seattle's Best, and it was very yummy. I think that a cup of hot water would have tasted good, I was so cold....