Today was the third academy show of the season, so of course it was about 20 degrees colder than yesterday. It was very cold in the barn aisle, but it wasn’t too bad out in the arena. Still, everything would be so much more pleasant if it was above freezing.
I was riding Nyk in three classes, a showmanship class and two equitation classes. I hate the equitation classes, but figure it’s good practice to get out there and get to understand him a little better. Still, I don’t think it really matters how far you arch your back or how far you can drop your heel. Maybe I am only feeling this way because I did so poorly in these classes today – who knows.
The first class was great – M warmed Nyk up, then after chilling (literally) in his stall for about 15 minutes, I got on and walked him around, and then cantered one rail to make sure I could pick up the correct lead. Then I didn’t want him to get fussy so I went and stood in the middle of the warm up ring and waited. And waited. And waited. Then everyone finally got it together and it was show time.
Nyk was doing great until he fell out of the canter the second way. I thought that we blew it there, after having a great class otherwise. They read the placing in reverse order, and I was surprised when we were in first place. M said that we were so far ahead that the little bobble, which I quickly fixed, didn’t matter too much.
After a victory lap, we circled around the warm up ring and went right back into the arena. I was sweating, out of breath, and so was Nyk. He felt like a car that had run out of gas, and I didn’t have enough strength in my legs to get him moving. He fell out of the canter the first way, and it took a long time to get him going again. I have been forced to accept that I am not as young as I used to be, and doing two classes in a row is a bit much. I am going to have to work on my stamina between now and the start of show season. It will suck to not do well because I can’t catch my breath (though going and finding out one way or another whether I have asthma, which I am strongly beginning to suspect, might help, too. Will have to work that into the schedule in the next week or so).
We were last in the first eq class, which disappointed me, because I didn’t think we were that bad. While I waited for the next class, I asked for a whip, which I didn’t really want to use because Nyk won’t flat walk when I have one, and we just stood in the middle of the warm up ring to catch our breath. I was starting to get cold before it was time to go again, and then things started getting a little disorganized. M told me and Laurie to get ready to go into the ring, so we both started trotting. Nyk felt like a million bucks, and we went around the arena twice when we were told that it wasn’t our class. They had split the previous class, but hadn’t told M. What a freaking drag. Out of the arena we trotted, to stand and wait again.
This show was a little more chaotic that the previous ones, and there were two other times when I was told to go into the ring, only to be stopped at the gate. After all of the confusion, when I was entering for my pattern, someone standing at the gate held her arm out, and I thought she was telling me not to go in. I swung Nyk around again, and M started asking me what I was doing. I explained that I thought I was being told not to go in, and then the person holding out her arm told me she was just trying to help get Nyk’s ears up. Argh! That was so frustrating – I have never been to another show where I have had as many false starts as this one. One of the times, one of the other trainers wanted her rider in first – I was in front of her and was going to go in, because no one mentioned this to me. My trainer started yelling for me not to go in. I don’t have a problem with letting another rider go in first, but, come on, guys, let the rest of us know this before the class starts, not when we’re about to go into the freaking ring. Nyk turns on a dime, though, thank you very much for helping me figure that out.
The pattern class started with rail work, and then the pattern. I thought we had a great class, and the serpentine wasn’t bad, even considering the false start. The judge must not have agreed, because we were dead last.
Sarah rode him in the judge’s pattern class, and she did a great job with him. I thought that she should have placed better, and that the girl who won shouldn’t have. Her horse was doing everything but what it was supposed to be doing, but again, I must not understand all of the nuances of equitation, because the judge placed everyone in a far different order than I would have.
I am also feeling a little down because a person that I used to really respect was very critical of my riding this show and the last show. This person used to be very active in my training, and in my horses’ training. Things were challenging, unexpected, and fun whenever this individual was around. Sadly, things have changed, to the point that I feel like I’m inconveniencing this person when we are both at the barn. I try to avoid being there at the same time. This is really getting to be a drag…