Braided Up with Nowhere to Go

While the year isn’t over, the show season now is.  My last show was scheduled for Saturday, and it came and went without me in attendance.  Five hours before the scheduled trailer load, I found myself with crippling food poisoning and there was no way I could make it to the barn, much less ride my 9:00 AM ride time.  I was simply too weak.

I sat on the couch thinking, “Of all of the things that could have kept me from this show…vaccination records issues, colic, mystery lameness, broken down truck or trailer, locking keys in the car, etc…me getting sick never even crossed my mind.  Nice joke.”  When you plan for worst case scenario with everything you can think of…and then something you didn’t think of happens, you know someone is playing a joke on you.   All you can do is laugh, cuddle with your horse and look forward.

I’m out a couple hundred dollars for a show I didn’t go to, but it could have been worse.  The show could have gone badly, and that wouldn’t be a happy way to end the season.  Though my last test as an elimination back in September isn’t necessarily a good way to end the season…it could have been worse.  I could have tried to ride this show sick (which I did consider in my dehydrated, delusional state Saturday morning) and fallen off and gotten hurt.  I could have scored below a 50%.  I could have also gotten my 1st level score and won my division…but there’s really no use thinking about what could have been.

At the beginning of this year I planned on going to 6 shows; doing training level for half of the shows and then move to 1st (and my first recognized show) with Champ.  I wanted my 1st level scores done by year end.  Instead I found myself horseless mid-season and had to detour.  I was lucky enough to fall into the best situation I could imagine with Spice and was able to pick up better off than I was before.  I didn’t quite get my 2nd 1st level score I needed…since I got sick.  However that just means when I do get it next spring, it will be a higher score (theoretically).  High scores haven’t been my goal since moving to Spice (just getting above 60% has made me happy), so having a little more time to work on our partnership will surely improve our 1st level scores.  Serious work at 2nd level starts now.

Here’s what did happen this year showing:

  • 2 schooling shows on Champ at Training level with scores as high as 70% and all scores well above 60% (even the one with the goats).
  • 2 recognized shows with Spice at Training level and 1st level.  I got my two Training level scores and two 1st level scores above 60% for my CDS GEM award.  Since both 1st level scores were from the same judge, I have 1 of my 1st Level scores for my Bronze.  1 elimination.

What I didn’t quite do:

  • Finish 1st level for Bronze
  • Make it to 6 shows
  • Move Champ up to 1st level

I’m pretty happy with my season with all the challenges that occurred.  I had to deal with a flock of sheep/goats running by as I entered at A, a lame horse, 4 different trainers/instructors, a new horse that is so much more skilled than I am, locking my keys in the car while loading the trailer, showing on a new horse, bucking and an elimination, vaccination record issues, and food poisoning.  Life sure does have a way of getting in front of plans and throwing them off course.  Those don’t even include day to day challenges.

It looks as if Champ’s dressage career is going to be permanently on hold.  He’s still quite lame and not truly improved much as of last week.  I am a lucky girl that I found Spice and I know we’ll just continue to get better together as I learn more of what he already knows and break old habits.  I cannot wait to see what next year brings.  My 2017 goals are ambitious, but with a horse like Spice, hard work and a little good luck I think they are reachable!

2017 Goals:

  • Improve my fitness
  • Improve my feel/contact/aids
  • Finish my 1st Level score
  • Move up to 2nd level and get my two scores
  • Move up to 3rd level and get my two scores
  • Attend 5-8 shows
  • Qualify for and attend RAAC
  • Earn my CDS Ruby GEM and USDF Bronze
  • Take jumping lessons to improve my diversity as a rider
  • Reach goals: 4th level/PSG

Did you meet your riding goals for 2016?  If not, was it a lack of work, time, misfortune or something else that kept you from getting there?  What can you do to improve your chances of reaching your goals in 2017?  Are there any choices you can make now that will help improve your odds?  It’s not January yet, but it’s never too early to be thinking about your goals.