2017 Tryon Riding & Hunt Club – Stadium

After successfully getting around XC the day before I was not all worried about stadium. In fact, the jumps looked a little on the soft side height wise though definitely decorated to the 9s.

And then I promptly had a stop at the baby cross rail in warm up. Go figure.

However, except for that little bauble, we couldn’t have had a better warm up or a better round. For the first time, I felt like I had a horse that was responding and adjustable.

Was it perfect? Hell no. But it was the best stadium round we’ve had to date. Gus only barely looked at the decorations and if he jumped over his shoulder it was because I burried him too deep to the fence.

We jumped clean though and managed to hold our sixth place spot.

I loved being able to do the victory lap versus picking up my ribbon in the office. It felt like much more of a celebration.

I also have to give a shout out to The Farmhouse which supplied prizes for all top eight finishers in every division. It’s not common around here to even have prizes for the top places so this was extremely generous. I won a schooling helmet which is always helpful!

This show was full of ups and downs but it ended up being the perfect introduction to the novice division. I can’t wait to get back out there!

2017 Tryon Riding & Hunt Club HT – XC

I had just about two hours between dressage and when I had to be on for XC. Two hours to cool down, switch up my gear and get back on. 

Two hours to work myself into a panic. 

As I tacked up Gus, I could feel my stomach tying into knots. My hands were clammy and slipped on the zipper when I pulled on my vest. By the time I made my way to warm up I was shaking and pale and the only reason I wasn’t throwing up was because there was nothing in my stomach. 

I think LT was actually a little worried when she finally saw me. I rode up to her, sucking in deep breaths to try to calm my panic and told her I didn’t think I could do this, that I was having a panic attack. 

We talked for a few minutes but I honestly couldn’t remember what was said and then I started warming up. It was not a good warm up. Gus was fine. I was not. I couldn’t make myself ride boldly and the fences weren’t even that high. Before I knew it, they were calling me on deck and I hadn’t even gone over the oxer. Great. 

I rode back to LT and she said, “Just go out of the start box. Just go over the first fence.” I nodded, my heart in my throat and trotted off. 

The starter counted us down and we came out of the box boldly towards the first fence. And over we went. 

Then we went over fence two. 
Then fence three. 

And all of a sudden, I realized I wasn’t afraid anymore. I was having fun and Gus was having fun. Somehow LT had known. 

Gus flew over the big brush jump without blinking and we soared over the weird horse fence.

And then before I knew it we were through the water and up the hill to the ditch. Gus looked at the ditch so hard he almost didn’t realize we had another fence. But he pulled himself together and gave me a huge leap over it to continue on. 

Gus was flying over these fences like they were little logs on the ground. His ears were pricked and he was having a blast. I was even doing well enough on time that I could open him up and let him gallop through the end of the course.

When we crossed the finish I let out a little whoop of delight and threw my arms around Gus’ neck.  And then I let the tears come. That had, without a doubt, been a test of courage and my emotions were shot. 

Gus didn’t have a care in the world and he strutted back to the barn like he had just won the Kentucky Derby. He didn’t know how hard getting out of the start box had been for me. 

This go around XC taught me more about me and my horse than I had thought possible. It taught me how to find my courage and taught me to trust in Gus. 

And really, I was thrilled I hadn’t packed up my ball and gone home the night before. 

Tryon Riding & Hunt Club HT 2017 – Pregame and Dressage

You would not believe how excited I was when we left for the horse show. I was confident and excited if a bit frazzled because I am still trying to figure out how to manage my time with new job . I could not wait to get there.

Gus had even been an angel on the trailer. Usually he’s pissy and likes to stomp and scream at stops despite the fact that my husband is an excellent driver and he’s got a full hay bag. This time, nothing. Everything was going right. 

So after unloading in had a good hour and a half before I had to be on for my flat school and decided to walk XC. That’s when things started falling apart. 

When I decided this horse show would be my move up it was mostly because my trainer told me it was typically a soft course and that I would be bored if I went BN. Well, when walking the course, it didn’t feel that soft. The first four fences were fair but then we got to five which was a upright fence in the shade with brush. We shared it with training and it said the middle brush was going to come out… but still.

That was my first moment of panic. 

My second came a little bit later after seeing the half coffin. A ditch to a huge roll top and then down to a big red house that on one side, due to terrain, came up to my books.  

Full on freaking out. Plus the course was uphill the entire way. I wasn’t sure if Gus was going to be fit enough. 

But I went back to the stabbing area and got Gus ready for my flat school. At least I could get though dressage. Nothing crazy about that. Only dressage schooling was crazy. Gus was acting like he had never been off property before. I was so angry. This wasn’t fun at all.

I was so annoyed, I told my trainer that I was scratching and going home. 

Thankfully she didn’t let me, worked me though the flat school and left me alone until our course walk. By then I had cooled down a bit but was still worried about the fences. 

In the end, I’m glad she didn’t make a big deal of my panic because the next morning we had the best dressage test we’ve ever had. We got three 8s! Three! And okay we got one 4 as well but we’re going to ignore that. 

Now I just had to get through XC.