So Lego and I went to Fair Hill’s starter event this past Saturday. He finished third, with a dressage score of 32.9 and a rail in stadium. I finished at 8:00pm and was a zombie on Sunday.
This show definitely served as a learning experience for me. I used to think that I didn’t get nervous for shows. I was always the cool cat watching everyone else getting nervous thinking, “I’m glad I don’t get worked up like that.” I never felt nervous or pressured because I made sure to remove any expectations of me doing well. But I do get nervous. I show my nerves by backing off. I lower my expectations. I say “that’s good enough” to my horse when I should say “give me your best. Now!” We will never show our best if I continue to settle for less than our best. I need to hold Lego and myself accountable for what we can do. Which is pretty darn good work.
To overcome my nerves, I need to make a plan and stick to it. Right now I make a good plan, and then as soon as we get ready to go, I forget it and just ride by the seat of my pants. Riding by the seat of you pants is what you do when the plan goes wrong. It is not the way to make it to a Novice 3-Day. Sometimes I don’t make a plan at all because it takes the pressure off me. If you don’t have a plan, then it doesn’t matter if you don’t stick to it.
Our dressage went better than at Olde Hope’s trials, mostly because he’s had a month more of intense training since then. But I need a plan for my ride. My test went well only because we were more schooled. I rode reactively; I need to ride proactively. I need to look farther ahead than just we’re cantering now, we have to stop after B. I also need to be sure that the warm up prepares him for the test, even if it means finding my own warm up area so that I don’t have to worry about running into anyone. That should help us get better scores… I’m still going to chat up the judge, just in case.
For show jumping and cross-country, I had good plans. But I didn’t hold him or myself accountable in our warm up. I let him pull me around and lunge at fences. So on course, I just let him pull me around and lunge at fences both times. He was long and flat, and I was waterskiing.* That is why we had the rail in stadium. I let him get too flat and strung out. I think the key is to warm up well and really get him paying attention to me. Brianna Hampton, Drill Sergeant.
So after our performance at Fair Hill, Lego and I are going to take a stab at Novice at Plantation Fields starter on November 2nd. In the meantime, we have a lot of training to do. I need to start running again, and Lego needs to put on some more fat. Also I need to strengthen my core. QM anyone? I’m going to start Spidermaning up and down the barn aisle. My goal is to be able to make it down the stairs head first.
Plan on seeing a fitter, well oiled machine at Plantation Field.
*I’ve never actually been waterskiing, except on Lego. I’d like to try it though. As long as there aren’t any sharks.