We made it home sometime after 9PM. I was exhausted. Don was home by then and helped me get Chastain settled, unhook the trailer and return the truck to our neighbors.
I walked upstairs and fell into a tub of hot water and poured myself into bed. No wine for me tonight though. You see, I had to get up at 4:30am at the latest. Sandy, the head trainer at Bluebonnet was going to meet me at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center at 7am to give me a short lesson on Sport. Sandy was leaving that morning for 3 weeks - going to South Africa, where she would be a team coach for one of the American Saddlebred teams in a equitation olympic competition. The equestrian center was about 90 minutes away, but I would be heading there at the peak of morning traffic...so I gave myself 2 hours.
My alarm went off about 3 seconds after I closed my eyes...or so it felt! I got up and walked out into the kitchen - only to notice it was 3:30 ...not 4:30! UGGGHHH .. might as well stay up now.
I won't lie - since this was the first time I would be showing Sport, I was not feeling butterflies ... but more like bats in my stomach! I used the extra hour to watch Joseph Prince ...and I prayed.....BOY DID I PRAY!
Thankfully traffic was not too bad and I arrived 30 minutes early. Even though the show did not start until Saturday, all of the horses were there and the set up was done on Thursday. Sandy had already worked Sport in the show ring. He was a bit nervous about the stands located right on the rail. He also was 'very strong' at the canter. With that report, we decided to just show him in a walk and trot only class. A little part of me was disappointed, but I understood that making this a good experience for Sport was essencial.
I was wearing my practice gear, not a skirt. I mounted him and we walked into the warm up arena. It was very quiet. No lights were on, no one was in the stands and the center ring decor had not yet been erected. I walked him around the whole ring once, but kept him off the rail by at least 15 feet. This is a large arena, so that is an acceptable distance. Sandy asked for the trot and Sport picked it right up. He seemed very relaxed, but I could see that he was 'eyeing' everything. I kept tickeling the bit in his mouth to keep his attention on me. We went around 2 times without any hiccup. Sandy asked me to walk and then go the second direction. Saddleseat riders usually turn their horses to the rail to change direction and this is what I did. I was right by the stands and when I did this, he jumped a bit. Nothing bad, but it gave me the information I needed.... I will be turning him towards center ring! We proceeded to walk and then trot about the ring. He was a very good boy and I felt it was all a success.
I left the equestrian center to find a brown saddle pad to match my new suit. When I returned, I helped to decorate for the show. We have a wonderful free snack room for the exhibitors, a free craft table for kids either not showing or to keep them busy when they are not showing (hint hint... ha ha) .. tables to sell TASHA gear, and center ring still needed work. The Perwien's are Jewish, so we decorated a tree in blue and silver.
I asked Pio, the groom who rides the young horses, to ride Sport later in the day, when more comotion was going on in and about the ring. He did and he also put Sport right up on the rail. Sport spooked a few times. It was good for me to see the scary spots. I had no plans to put him on the rail though.
It was late afternoon by the time I got home. I was so tired. I laid down on my bed without even taking a bath! I was only going to take a nap. The minute I feel asleep, Don came rushing in, out of breath yelling my name. I sat up dazed. He looked paniced and said, "The worst thing has happened!"
... to be continued...