Thursday, June 5, 2014


Shhh, I know that Judi Rossi's Four Rules of Eventing are specific:
  1. Leave Together, Come Back Together
  2. Don't Scare the Spectators
  3. There is No Crying in Eventing
  4. Nobody Cares on Monday
Hmmmm, do you think anyone cares on Thursday?  I followed all Four Rules at GMHA's Spring Horse Trials this weekend and I still am bubbling with joy.  You see, we completed AND I had fun before, during and afterwards!  For some of you, that's a given... for me, it's rare and sporadic.
Almost three years ago at Groton House Farms, I looked right when I should've looked left and hit a tree.   (If you wanted to catch up with the "gory" details read Landmarks vs Obstacles.)  It's been a long trek to find the joy "in the moment" again.  
This weekend was spectacular in its normalcy - normal preparation and normal nerves.  My big goal?  I wanted to want to do this without the paralyzing dread and self loathing that comes with my fear and anxiety.
Sugar was herself - beautiful, athletic and powerful.  Our warmups are worth the price of admission.  One local trainer even asked me if we were doing the Grand Prix Freestyle test when my lil' pinto pony burst into one tempe changes and a capriolle.  Our test was tight, relatively spook free and with only one expression of upper level dressage.  We ended with a 40.5 in third place.
The Stadium course was a "sea of jumps" complete with gates and a brick wall.  Our course walk started a mere hour before my start time and I was impatient/antsy to move along.  This is where I missed the coolness of the Bestest Eventing Buddy.  She managed time like she was running NYC's mass transit system.

 Like a child at her first show, I ran back to the barn to get ready and arrived in the warm up 45 minutes early.  And like a kid in "time-out", the Eventing Trainer sent me back to the barn to chill out...  Ooops!
When I returned, the Eventing Trainer hadn't arrived so I warmed up with our lessons in my head.  Sug jumped a square oxer like she was on a Grand Prix jump course.  I wanted to finish on that but could hear Eventing Trainer's words, "Do it again and make her wait!"  (I had my big girl panties on.)

Last year, I had a serious and embarrassing meltdown... so bad that the Eventing Trainer had to talk me off the ledge and into the ring.  This year, I went into the arena and rode the best SJ course I've had in years...  no grimacing and, my Grrrr was a soft confident "Good Girl!"  Double Clear and in second place.

My Cross Country time was at 8:04am...  Now the Training Level riders and above have the early morning rides down to a science.  Us Beginner Novice and Novice riders usually have plenty of time to obsess about our courses.  My 8:04am time meant no coffee...  And, if you even know me a little bit, you know that my morning coffee is like methadone to a recovering addict.  I don't just want it, I NEED IT!
Best advice of the day - "Today you don't need to worry about Sugar jumping.  She's going to jump everything you put her at with your leg on.  You have to ride everything else like a jump because she is going to spook at everything else."

So, for the record.... My apologies to all the spectators, officials and jump judges that heard me call my beautiful lil' pinto pony a shithead at what might have appeared to be random places on the course.  If you heard me, it was because my lil' girl was propping and spooking while galloping...  a feat of great athleticism.
Happy, happy, joy, joy!
So we finished in 9th.  Lack of caffeine and a brain slow to react caused a runout...  Well, can you really call it a run out when the rider decides to stop a freight train to reposition her after a spook and ends up two feet to the left and in front of the jump?  I am sure that had I had that cup of coffee, I would have jumped that coop at an angle.  Sigh...

Seriously, who cares!  Yes, I want a nice ribbon... I really, really do!  In some respects, I really, really won because I had fun...  FUN, FUN, FUN!!!!  And the fun was in the moment!

{{{{Per my clinic with Daniel Stewart, FUN is both a feeling and an acronym - F*CK U Nerves!}}}


Amanda said...

Yay! So glad you had fun! That is a win!

(Love the acronym for FUN!)

T Myers said...

Good for you!!!! So happy you had FUN! I hear you on the coffee too..

Jane said...

This is a joyful, energizing and confidence-inspiring report on your experience!!! Love it and CONGRATULATIONS to you and Sugar!

Tracy said...

WOOHOO! Congrats on having an awesome show -- and sometimes (well, for me most of the time) it's not really about the ribbons, it's how you feel about your rides. And it's obvious that you got a blue ribbon in that regard :-D