Ever have one of those days where everything that can go wrong does go wrong? That was my show day.
It started at 6:30 am, shortly after I left my house. See, I was not aware that, because of the Democratic National Convention, all traffic over 5 tons had been re-routed around Philly. Into NJ. Right onto the highway I needed to take to get to the show. It took over an hour to get 5 miles. My two hour ride turned into nearly four hours.
I arrived at the show grounds seriously, seriously late. With barely 30 minutes to get on and warm up, I opened up the trailer to find that at some point my horse had ripped out all his braids and also ripped the hay bag off the trailer wall (he actually broke the damn thing, something I've never seen before). He was also covered in sweat and looked like a wreck. But, whatever, I've got to get on and warm up. I fixed the braids as best I could, sprayed some show sheen on him, tacked up and headed to the warm up.
The warm up ring was an indoor, packed with FEI riders. Spider decided to be Spider and careened around like an idiot, bouncing off several BNTs on their fancy horses. Luckily, they were all very nice and/or felt sorry for me. Eventually, I decided to just make my way up to the ring. Then the ring steward stopped me and said, "287? Your time passed, we counted you as a no show."
With less than 24 hours notice, they had changed my time to an earlier one. I was not amused, but after a brief argument with the secretary via the ring steward's walkie talkie I managed to get back in the show with a time an hour later.
This, however, presented a new problem: what to do with my horse? I had rented a day stall, but through another unfortunate mixup it had been double booked. I was by myself, because my friends were in the same traffic I had encountered. Well, technically, I wasn't by myself. I had my two kids with me. It was also nearly 100 degrees with no shade and no water if I couldn't get into my stall. This was not an ideal situation.
I went back to my trailer, gave Spider all of the bottled waters I'd packed, tried to spruce him up a bit, then immediately got back on to warm up for the second time. I did find an outdoor ring no one else was using to warm up in, so no one else got run over. That was nice. We warmed up OK, but I over did it. Two warm ups was too many, and by the time I got into the ring at noon I had no horse left. And no me left, either.
The test is a blur, I may have blacked out a couple times. I went off course in the first movement, so that was two points off. I didn't even try for a half pass, we straight up leg yielded (for a 4.5 and 5.0, respectively). The changes were completely late behind (4.0 and 4.5). My turns on the haunches ended up being reining spins (4.0 for both) and he jigged through most of the walk work. We managed to save ourselves in the halts (7.0 for both) and the extensions and mediums (6.0 for all). The judge's final remark: "Good try of a difficult test in the heat- overall needs much more impulsion to excel at this level." Truer words were never spoken....
Final score: 51.97. It's officially my worst score at Third Level.
After the test, I finally got my day stall, got Spider settled in, and was able to enjoy myself. (I was sticking around to help my friend with her horse later in the day.) Gladstone is gorgeous, and the stone barn is nice and cool. If only I had arrived on time, I could have taken advantage of all that for my test. Oh, well. There's always next time.
Considering that I knew I wasn't prepared going in, I spent nearly 4 hours driving and it was hotter than Satan's taint, I think we did pretty well.
Plus, I got to ride at Gladstone and run into famous people in the warm up ring (literally). So, I can cross that off my bucket list. We'll get ourselves back into a shape and have another go at it in September when the weather cools off, but not at Gladstone. I'll pick a closer venue next time.