Rio will always be a hunky Hanoverian in my heart, but in our lesson last Saturday we had many majestic moose moments (partially illustrated in our Monday Miss post). It was our last lesson before our first show in 5 months, so of course I was hoping it would go really well to give us that extra bit of confidence going into the show.
Instead, I think I got a bit of a reality check in where we are in our journey together. Sometimes Rio resembles a large, gawky moose, and I do a really good job of taking the directive to “sit still” to the extreme by actually freezing. Trainer Stacie really had to get after me a bit on Saturday, and remind me that I CANNOT just freeze up (even if it’s in a pretty position) and expect things to go smoothly. I have to stay elastic, and actually riding. I have to regroup after fences and re-balance the canter. You know, all that stuff you do in between the actual jumps- I gotta do that stuff.
Apparently last lesson before the show sent my brain into “SIT STILL AND LOOK PRETTY” mode. This resulted in some super awkward distances and missed lead changes (you mean we actually have to cue for those?!). And Rio, bless his heart, is just never going to have the world’s most balanced canter. He needs me to help him regroup and get him back together between fences, otherwise things start to deteriorate.
I still try to manufacture a shorter stride sometimes and we end up breaking to the trot right in front of the jump. Rio is a saint and always still jumps it, but that is obvi something we do not want happening at the show (breaking gait results in an automatic score of a 50, aka no bueno). I also haven’t mastered the keeping him straight for the lead change once we are a few jumps in, and we don’t always get the change behind. Also not exactly something I want happening at the show, but it was a good lesson for managing my expectations.
Horse shows do not majikally make you ride better, or your horse go better. In fact, as we all know, quite the opposite tends to happen. So what should I expect at our show this week?
I want to build on our last show (which was our first A show together). We had some pretty awkward distances at times at that show, some spooky moments, a rail or two, and some missed changes. Overall, tons of great moments, but also lots of room for improvements.
I will be ecstatic if we decrease the number of bad distances, even if that simply means minimizing them when they happen. I am hoping that the occasional deep spot will ride better now then it did last December. I am also *hoping* we get lead changes more consistently, but I am not going to get hung up on those since we are not getting them 100% at home right now either. I am hoping we maintain Rio’s record of no refusals at shows, and that I am able to put any mistakes behind us and continue riding confidently. I am also hoping we don’t break gait anywhere, but if we do I am not going to beat myself up. Again, we are not 100% on that at home so if it happens at the show I can’t be upset, since that is just where we are right now.
Most importantly, I hope the build on any mistakes, and learn from them for the next round. My favorite part about showing hunters is that you have multiple chances to get it right. Your brain falls out of your head during
course one and you totally biff it? You get some time to regroup, and try again. I love that.
So who else has a show this weekend?!