Sunday, July 28, 2013


Have you ever had one of those days where you wonder...  What are the Eventing Gods trying to tell me?   What do these signs mean?  Getting ready for Stoneleigh Burnham Horse Trials was WAY TOO HARD and I must scratch!
Not me riding but a recent pic
used with permission

Well that was my Friday... knee deep in work on my day off but playing it cool... As long as this project is done by 3 I'll have 3 hours before my pre-show jumping lesson to clean tack and prepare the horse trailer...  I was cool and collected 'cause I was planning on an easy prep.

And then it began to unravel... truck tire had a big construction spike embedded deeply in the tread.  It was 5 o'clock on a Friday, where would I get a replacement?  And will I have time to do a pre-show jump school (the first I've had in two weeks) with my Dressage Trainer (former eventer)?  And when will I have time to clean tack, whiten the very muddy, manure stained horse, braid, pack the trailer and not be exhausted?

Should I scratch or go?  What is the message here?  I AM NOT READY! 

Then Sug's Twenty Something Friend responded to my frantic text by reminding me to search out the truth in the story!  OK, if they can get the truck on the road and I can get a jumping lesson in, then I'll go even if her tack is filthy.  Then Sug's Red Headed Friend texted me to say that she would help me get ready to even out her caffeine buzz. 
Friends helped make it happen

And so...  GAME ON!

I wish I could tell you that all the work I've done made this show a piece of cake and that I rode like a pure pro - confident and powerful with just the nervousness of a competitor.  Yeah... that is not my story.  My story is of the demons that showed up, threatened to swallow any ounce of grrrrr I had and wanted to make the day their own. 

One of the key lessons was remembering to breathe... big, full yoga breaths every time anxiety released the demons and I calmed.  Focus on one thing, keep it simple and then move to the next.  Find the truth in the story and delete everything that isn't useful!

Dressage was the most relaxed test we've ever had.  She was obedient, agreeable and had only one hint of a spook.  I focused on those yoga breaths and imagined breathing through the tension.  It was not a brilliant test  but it made me happy - 32.9.

The warm up for Stadium Jumping was not spectacular...  I wondered, is Sugar sound?  Is she ok?  I feel awkward in the saddle?  Is something wrong?  God bless my Eventing Trainer!  We crashed through an oxer... obliterated the jump.  I wanted to focus on the that that we never did that before and of course something was wrong.  She said, calmly focused, "now do that again, this time less frantic and let her feel open and free (use the jump strap/keep hands low)."

As I waited my turn, she said to me, "Have fun!  You know, Sugar really is fun to jump!  Enjoy that with her!  Stay focused, jump one jump at a time and tell her to jump for you... and breathe!"  And, I tapped her as we approached the dreaded gate (jump 1) and breathed in rhythm to her stride.  (Note, I was not having a heart or asthma attack, I was breathing... just breathing!)   It was a very nice round.

Ahhhh...  cross country...  Did I mention that the last time I went Cross Country was in September 2012.   We left the box, Sugar breathing fire...  jumping every jump and spooking at everything else!  At one galloping lane I felt like we were skiing - swish, swish from side to side - leaping over the shadows into the dark woods. 

Used with permission
For the first time in almost a year, I felt free!  And I felt like Sugar and I were a team again!  I kept my hands low and used my body to "slow" her (although my body hurts in places that may make that statement a lie, just sayin!).

The very last jump almost did me in.  You see, she lost her right front shoe before fence 7 and began jumping hard to the left... (she generally fades to the right)...  When we got to the last fence, it appeared that she was going to spook and spin (story), I began to jump for her (oops)...  she hesitated and then jumped...  I righted myself (thanks Saddletite) and we galloped through the finish line.

My Lil' Pinto Pony saved me!  And I did not quit on her!  We ended up in third place!  You know, that ribbon is nice. I will not lie but completing with a smile on my face and loving my horse was worth more than any piece of polyester ever...  EVER!

This song came on the radio as I drove the last few miles towards the Horse Trial... listen to the lyrics!  So many helped get me there...  and words can not express my gratitude!  Thanks!


Amanda said...

So awesome!! Congrats!!

Me said...

Yay! Yay! Yay! Huge congrats!!!! :))))

Katherine Erickson said...

Huge congrats! Sounds like a wonderful weekend :)

Hannah said...

Hey, look at you! Well done!

Kate said...

you rock!!! So glad to hear you had FUN and ENJOYED yourself ;) ;) You have a great horse, and you are a very good rider. Bravo gettin' er done!

Tracy said...

Woohoo!! Congratulations on an awesome victory!!

Kat said...

Congrats!!! Sounds like you really hung in there and were rewarded for your efforts :-)

Lauren @ She Moved To Texas said...

YAY! So happy for you :) Great job!

T Myers said...

I am so so so happy you were able to get back out there. Congrats on your placing! Grea job.