We have all been there. We train and practice and show because we went to better our riding and better our horse’s level of training. We’ve also all felt the frustration of feeling like our training isn’t progressing forward, or that we are continually taking steps backwards. I am not going to write a long post droning on about how linear forward progress, without any regression, isn’t realistic in horses. We ALL already know that.
But what I want to know is- when will it get through my very thick skull?!?
Rio is doing amazing post-Houdini escape and fall, better then I was expecting actually. So why am I bitching to myself about not making progress? Going into our next show (1 week!) I don’t feel like we are super ready to improve on our last show experience. Our last show in Waco went really well. We had some missed distances here and there, and some trouble with lead changes, but we got it all together for one class on Sunday and it was awesome, we even pulled 3rd in a competitive division which I am still proud of.
But, I don’t feel like this summer went 100% to plan (does it ever?), and going into the show I don’t feel anymore confident about our lead changes (haven’t really practiced them), and not as strong over fences as I would have hoped (due to the time off from his minor injuries). His canter is much better overall, and I think that we are going much more correctly now, but I am not sure that that will translate to the show ring at this point. Let’s be real- if you blow a lead change you aren’t ribboning, no matter how great the rest of the course was. If your course if 90% awesome and you chip the shit out of something, you are also likely not ribboning. That is part of what is so hard about hunters- you have to 100% have your shit together. With a green horse still in his first year of A shows, and an ammy rider who makes plenty of mistakes, it can be hard to see the incremental progress that is going on beneath the surface of “ribbons”.
Of course I do not show for the ribbons- but since we don’t get scores like in dressage (unless in a medal or classic round), ribbons can sometimes be a bench mark for progress. If we hit every distance, get every lead change, and get a 6th place I will be THRILLED, because I would be very proud of that round. But, so far in our showing, our ribbons have been a decent indicator of the round we laid down. Get everything right, or pretty close? Here’s your ribbon. Totally blow one of the elements? No ribbon for you! My point being- I am not hung up on the actual ribbon or the color of it, but I do show in order to compete, and it can be a way to mark progress in our training (which is the real goal!).