I think every single one of us are in a similar boat right now. 2020 was not the year we planned or expected…but we’ve had to make the most of it as it is. Though some of you have made it to regionals, medal finals, and various championships…a lot of us didn’t. Jax and I didn’t.
So I will start off by saying that 2020 was better personally for me than 2019. I made it to 3 shows in 2020 vs 1 show in 2019. Remember I had a baby in 2019…and Spice died…so 2019 was quite difficult for me. This year Jax and I were ready to go out swinging after our first few months together. We showed twice early in the year and did really well.
Jax had is first recognized show ever in February and he was a champ. I mean…serious superstar. We had insane straight line winds that day that destroyed the round pen at home and caused a tree to fall during one of our tests (Jax barely flinched). We came out of the wind storm of the year with two training level scores above 65%, one solid 1st place and tying for 1st in a large class as well!
In February we went out at training level and 1st level. The 1st level may have been a bit early…but we managed over a 60% anyways. He scored a huge 69% in his training level class however. Little did I know, it was to be our last show for months.
We skipped our Regional Adult Amateur Competition despite qualifying (due to personal reasons/Covid discomfort). I just decided it wasn’t worth it. We also qualified for regional championships, but decided that a 8+ hour trailer ride each way just wasn’t worth it either.
We finally made our last show of the year in September in literally 110 degree heat. It was miserable as you can imagine, but Jax jumped to 1st level Test 3 like it was easy and we walked away with two decent scores (just short of a 62% and just short of a 65%). No surprise, the judge was not feeling generous that day and our almost 65% was one of the higher scores of the day so I was thrilled.
I called it a year at that instead of trying to do any further shows this fall. I didn’t see any point. He’d proven himself to me.
Things learned showing this year:
Jax is solid as hell. I mean…massive wind storm to horrible heat…and he was a champ through it all. No major disobedience, spooks, or tenseness (under saddle). He is a really good and reliable boy under saddle. On the ground, slightly different story…lol.
You can get a lot done when you’re not worrying about making a show. Jax went from dicey at 1st level (last place in a huge class) in March to really reliable (and one of the higher scores at any level for the show) at it in September. It’s amazing how much you can get done when there’s no pressure.
Jax is smart, works hard (when you can remind him that going forward feels better) and has a REALLY bright future. Honestly, after losing Spice I felt like getting my Silver Medal was going to take a decade to get back to since I can’t afford to buy myself a schoolmaster…but now I’m not so sure it won’t be in just a couple more years with Jax. I feel that pirouette sometimes already might be there. And it will feel incredibly rewarding to get him there if I do since he is not already trained. Hell…he doesn’t even have a lead change yet. I think that’s not too far around the corner once I actually ask him for it. We shall see!
This year backed up again that awards aren’t everything. Jax and I didn’t really win anything this year. We won some classes sure…but no prizes, no coolers, no USDF awards, no CDS awards. It was a pretty boring year. And I’m okay with that. I don’t need more crap in my house anyways.
I’m SO lucky to have had Jax (and his mom) find me not so long after Spicey left. While he’s not my great love (lord…I’m not sure I can ever love another one like Spice…), he’s certainly an extremely fulfilling horse to work with and I appreciate how willing he is to work with me and learn. And I’m thankful to his owner for giving me the opportunity to lease him and show him!
I’m looking forward to jumping up to 2nd Level in January and seeing how far we can take it in 2021! What I’m hoping for is solid, qualifying scores at 2nd level and a trip to regional championships simply for the experience (which would be my first). Maybe another trip to RAAC. Teaching him his flying changes and looking forward to the fun stuff (3rd level) will be a bonus. Hell, maybe we’ll even get in a 3rd level by the end of the year. We shall see! He is quite talented.
What about you? What did you learn this year? Did an abbreviated show season help you come to any conclusions you may not have realized otherwise? Sometimes taking an unintended break is just what you need!