Coming out of the show ring, I was all smiles. All of the uncertainty and ...well, all the fear I was fighting back had totally and completely fallen away and I was just thrilled. The grooms helped me dismount and gave each of them a big hug and kiss on the cheek. You should have seen their faces... I am sure each was thinking,
"Oh God - not a kiss...just give me a tip instead!"
ha ha ... not much doubt in my mind that I am the strangest customer they have helped. Of course, I did give them a monitary tip too. After hugging my family and giving Sport some well diserved carrots and kisses, I walked over to the stands to thank those who were cheering for me. It meant more to me than I could express. While standing there, a young lady and her Mother approached me. They were a part of the Arabian show in the next arena and told me the daugher was showing aside as well that evening. I was thrilled. We had a long conversation about our passion and the sparkle in her eyes told me all I needed to know... she was as smitten with the sport as I! I smiled, took a deep breath and settled down into a chair and enjoyed the rest of the show from the stands.
When our show was done, Joy and I went out to dinner. I returned to the Equestrian Center to watch the young lady show her Arab. It was a 2 horse class and although her gelding hopped a bit before each canter depart, her opponents horse took the incorrect canter lead, earning her the blue ribbon she desired! It was a lot of fun watching and cheering for her..and then again visiting with she and her Mother after their class.
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Sunday morning greeted me with excitement over anxiousness. Keri Ann told me she was going to ride Sport that morning and push him onto the rail. If he did not spook from it, I would be able to take more liberty in my next class.
I arrived at the grounds right before the show started. My class was in the late morning, so I still had some time before having to get ready. I asked Keri Ann about her ride on Sport. She confirmed, he was still quite nervous about the rail. I nodded and would use that information in my preformance. I had plans for this class. I was going to let him have more rein, give him the go ahead to go a bit stronger, but still keep him away from that evil place he still feared!
I found out there were some cancellations, so my show time approached faster than expected. Mounting was a breeze. Sport was relaxed and so was I. My shoulders were not hyped up around my neck as they were the day before, which makes for better pictures! We walked into the warm up arena and just stood waiting for our class. I was chatting with Kari Ann, when I looked down at Sport. WAS HE SLEEPING? Oh my gosh... was he so tired from the show, he was sleeping in the warm up arena?
As quickly as I noticed this, it was time for our class. I collected my reins and walked him around in a circle. Kari Ann ran beside me up to the gate. She had her hands on the reins and I asked her to let go. I was still collecting the reins as I entered the arena....a bad move on my part.
For the entire class I was wrestling with Sport asking him to lower his nose. I had a snug grip on the lower rein and tickeled it back and forth asking for him to let off of the bit. I know he was traveling with his nose to far out the whole first direction and no matter how nice the leg motion is, if the whole picture is not good - ie a nice headseat, cadence in movement, manners, etc, your score with the judge will not be good.
When we turned around, I was able to lower his nose a bit, but that extra gear I was hoping to activate.... it was not there. I did not have the horse I had just the day before. I even tried to cluck him up into it and used my cane on his shoulder, but no use. Sport gave me all he could give. He was as well mannered as he was the day before and again we took the second place red ribbon. Not too shabby to say the least!
I am so honored to own Equusport. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but it was a dream come true to show a horse I bred and raised...and to show him aside!!!