Friday, July 29, 2016

Another One To Cross Off The List

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. 

The driveway of USET Headquarters.

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." 

*record scratch*

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. 

"There's grass? I'm cool."

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 view was pretty cool, though.

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. 

This is the nicest place my horse has ever shit.

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. 

Sweaty, filthy and disheveled, that's how we roll.

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.

"Wait.... we're not doing this again, right?"


  1. That IS a gorgeous barn, and literally running into famous people and famous horses is a personal goal of mine so I'm all down for that! I am also in awe of your persistence, riding through the heat of Satan's taint and coming away alive and with satin!

  2. What a sucky day. That barn is seriously gorgeous though. Sorry the traffic and show organizers ruined everything for you, but I'm glad you got some fun out of it.

  3. Hey, breaking 50% after all that nonsense is pretty darn good. I've been there and know it is definitely survivable. Love your determination.

    Had a time change like that once myself. The show secretaries do not consider people who are shipping in and might not be there at daybreak to check the new daysheets. We "commuter" competitors can be at a decided disadvantage. Glad they accommodated you.

    Love the Gladstone barn. It is a beautiful place and always fills me with a sense of awe thinking of all the famous horses and riders who passed through.

    Bless you for handling the traffic and the heat so well. Good going.

  4. I think that you did very well with all the things that went wrong! Wow.

  5. Ugh, that sounds terrible. I recently had a show do the same thing to me, 24 hours before the show they changed my ride time. The only way I found out was when I went to print the schedule the morning of the show. I was pretty mad, and ended up having to really hustle to get there on time. I ended up having about 30 minutes to get tacked up and warmed-up. It was intense. BUT at least you got to see and ride at a really pretty farm!

  6. OMG you got to show at Gladstone!!!! seriously amazing, in spite of the shit storm that life dealt you that day.

  7. Wow! Great to be able to cross it off and to have survived what sounds like a very trying day!!!

  8. Haha and you still got a satin picture. NICE.

  9. If you're smiling after all that, I'd call it a win. Love your tenacity.


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