The second time I showed Oliver, it was in an English Pleasure Open - Any Breed Class. I had no idea what to expect as I could have been showing against trainers, Non-Saddlebred horses ... or I could be in the ring all by myself. Actually, that is what I most expected since it was what I had seen at other Saddlebred shows where they had this class as an option. Because this was not a saddleseat specific class, I decided to wear my newest suit, the grey early 1900's reproduction.
Getting dressed for a class is when I am most nervous. Sandy helped me with my derby. In retrospect, since this class was in the evening, I could have worn my top hat. Now, I wish I had as it just looks even more elegant, but will note that for the next show!
Harley was trying to calm me down too.
..but the recipe that really worked, was the classic 1/2 glass of red wine. It just takes the edge off and stops me from shaking.
Dora was also showing this evening, but she was not too busy to help me with my hair.
Then the grooms brought Oliver out of his stall. I checked the girth...
..and went around to the other side of him. With this habit, I have to get VERY high in order to mount. In this case that meant a mounting block ON TOP OF a tack trunk!
Count them.. 4 people pushed Oliver over beside the trunk so I could get on.
I had to get my knee right into the skirt 'pocket'..
..and then kind of almost fall onto the saddle with my right knee coming down over the upper pommel.
Oliver is a super good boy about all of this, but one step to the side and I could end up on the ground!
I have to wiggle around and get enough fabric under me so that my legs can get a good grip on the pommels..
..and yet position the skirt so that it lies flat over my legs. We did a better job of this step on Sunday than we did this evening, but I was comfortable.
We tighten the girth one more time..
I get my cane..
..address my reins..
..and off we head to the practice arena.
I love the picture. I am entering the well lit practice arena. BTW - thanks so much Cherryl for taking all of these!!
Once in, I take Oliver to the rail..
..and ask him to walk. I found out there would be 7 in my class..SEVEN! We decided to only practice on Oliver's least favorite direction - clockwise. It seemed to work too.
I asked him to trot and then for a soft canter.
..and before I knew it, they were calling for my class.
Sandy 'escorted' me all the way to the in gate. Dora ran around to the other side of the arena to give me encouragement from there.
I felt wonderful!
Oliver felt wonderful!
He had just the right amount of energy to give a wonderful animated showing,
..but not so hyper that he refused to flat walk!
His trots had good motion!
He had his head and neck in the proper place..
..and his ears never ever pinned... but Oliver LOVES having a job!
Before I knew it, they were calling for the line up.
I looked up to thank God.
I looked down to thank Oliver..
The announcement was made that the judging cards were turned in. I think Oliver was looking up to thank God in this picture!
The winner was called. As I looked about, I noticed all of my competitors were nice Saddlebred show horses, including at least one Champion! More of my class mates were called out ... and as they kept on announcing, they called us as winner of 5th place! I could not help myself. I let out a victory cry and then bent down to give my beloved Oliver a kiss on the neck!
Back at the barn, everyone celebrated with me.
There was a new aire about what I am doing.. you see, I did not just win 5th place out of 7...but I won the confidence of respected riders. I kept my chin up, shoulders down, kept my mind on Oliver and took one more tiny step in becoming the sidesaddle rider that I want to be!