I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. –Michael Jordan.
So, my show recap is mixed. It was at once a great success and good memories, overcoming challenges, and at the same time kind of a bummer and a disappointment. So, with my quote from the great MJ, I’ll start with the recap.
We trucked up-Island on a rainy Saturday, leaving late from the barn. I had butterflies in my stomach ALL day- ones that barely abated even when I ran 14km with my husband in the morning. Too much time= a problem for me. Oats loaded up great, we packed everything up and headed out. The Malahat was rough going and absolutely pouring rain. It looked pretty grim…
There was kind of a negative energy rolling around, some people had some personal things on the go that were troubling them. I feel like I can be quite sensitive to that, particularly when I’m feeling on-edge as it is. Nevertheless, we got there fine despite the hard rain.
We tacked up, it was a monumentally confusing warm-up for us–we had a newcomer to the grounds with us, it was raining, wet, late, and we were very confuddled. Finally, things started to resolve and we headed out to the field. Oats was up up up! But, he settled pretty nicely, the rain started abating a bit, and we jumped. He was fabulous up until the log jump, when he slammed on the brakes. Ok, so that surprised him. We worked back up to it and he was lovely!
We then moved to the other field- it was a loooong course for me at 12 jumps and long flowing approaches- and I had some more trouble with him stopping at a brightly coloured fence with flowers. Not gonna lie, it really rattled me. We worked through it and after hanging out for a bit, Nicole encouraged me to go try again to really ‘cement’ the jumps in my brain and Oats was 100%- which made me feel way better. I felt like effing Ian Millar!! Whoop!!!
And then we were camping, and there was some sad horse drama….Oats was being a dink to the other horses penned nearby, which was irritating…But the really bad news? My fellow rider’s mount (my trainer’s horse) had a cut on her leg that developed back into her chronic lymphangitis…She was pawing at night, and we didn’t realize how bad things had gotten. Shit!!! In the morning, her leg was blown up, she was exhausted and not sound. My fellow camper/rider had to scratch. How terrible, given her lovely and very competent warm-up. I was sure her first Derby experience would be a great one, and then this happens? UGHHH.
So, the morning sure did not start off well…But the show must go on.
Sunday our first course at .70m- I was really nervous, eek- was fantastic! It wasn’t perfect but Oats was totally honest, I was feeling good and for awhile we even held the high score (at 78) for the round! It was a real thrill to hear my name as the leader for a few rounds. The classes were really big- over 16 riders? So I eventually got bumped down to 4th and finished in that place. I was beyond thrilled! I believe the winner had a good 10 points or more on me at 88 I think. I did miss an opportunity to get a score of 80…sigh.
Here is the link to the photographers: I LOVE the ones of Oats and I will be ordering some prints!! Maybe this one?
Of course then I kind of started not wanting to ride my second and third courses, and mentally started backpedaling a bit. My second round, I started out pushing Oats quite hard- one of my biggest struggles with him is getting more forward, and I lost the plot at the 9th fence- the smallest one on course, and jumped up his neck- he refused the jump and I fell over his head (again!! ugh!). I was totally fine, but really bummed…
I knew that I wasn’t feeling mentally prepared to go out and make it happen with Oats – for some reason it was taking a lot of energy from me to be focused and ride well enough to get him going. So, Nicole suggested my friend, who was just there to watch, handle my 3rd class and get Oats really revved up and through to the jump-off. She put on our fellow rider (who’s horse scratched) breeches, boots, helmet and my number and was ready to rock!!
They did so well too! They achieved the jump-off goal- with Oats, who is NOT fast, a feat in itself! Sadly they had a stop in the jump off so out of the ribbons, but I was so happy to see Oats end on that note too.
So there we have it–a day of many mixed emotions. I have to give great kudos to the young rider who had to scratch. She handled it with great maturity, when I would have pouted like crazy. Even after I fell off and was feeling sorry for myself, she said hey, at least you get to ride! And that made me realize how lucky I truly was. She was 100% right.