Honey Bunches of Oats does dressage!

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

I saw this quote in another blog (Medal Slut), and I loved it so much I had to use it~

“Find what you love and let it kill you.” – Charles Bukowski

And here’s the shocker-for a reluctant dressage-er, we did REALLY WELL!! Got our personal best scores of all time?! 68.47% in Training Level 1, and 69% in Training Level 2~ can you believe it! I can’t!

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The whole gang with their ribbons!!

Rewinding a bit, I had originally wanted to go to the Cowichan District Riding Club’s jumper show on the Saturday, when everyone was going but as I mentioned yesterday we had a packed schedule and no hauler to go up with, soooooo dressage it was!

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

I had avoided the dressage ring for a few years, because it was hard, we were’t good at it, and it tripped all of my high-anxiety issues for showing and Oats did not respond well to my nerves, at all. So, jumping it was. But then, my husband got me some fancy white dressage boots for Christmas, so I wanted to show them off…and well, I had a ride to the showgrounds with my friend and her horse, sooooo…

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

It was fated! We were doing dressage for the first time in like 3 years!

As you will note, we practiced a LOT in the two weeks leading up the show. Four dressage lessons, even? I was ready. I was still very nervous, but luckily we didn’t have a lot of time to fuss around at the show, as we were running kind of late, haha. I hopped on, did a pretty perfunctory warm-up (Oats was ok, but swapping his left lead for his right CONSTANTLY in the warm up and it as driving me nuts). Anyway, off we went for Training Level 1 and you know what? It went fine. I felt pretty ok about it, despite him spooking a bit in the warm up and getting a little silly.

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

Funny enough usually at horse shows, I can’t wait to BE DONE and get off. This time? I finished my test 1, and said I want to get back in their and have more opportunities to ride the test! Who is this girl? I was still anxious, but I felt like I could have more time in the ring and really focus on riding.

Cue super long hiatus where Oats got loose and ran over one of the girl’s finance’s foot. Whoops!! He did catch Oats for me though, with Oats pinning his foot into the ground. Yikes! Oats and I hung out for ages..My first test was at 9:50am, and my second one was at 1:50pm!!

I got ready at around 1:10pm and warmed Oats up for the second time. He was TERRIBLE in the warm up. Thundering around, swapping leads like crazy, kind of acting nuts. I had this awful sinking feeling in my stomach.

Nicole was like, hey leave it in the warm- up, and just go and ride your test!

Easier said than done…

But, we entered the ring, started the first half of the test, got whistled out (judge thought we were doing Training 3 mistakenly, so I got to go back out, re-enter and start the test over.) Despite the miserable warm-up, the whistling out, we DID IT. We entered the groove, where I was focused on my test, on my horse, and on my body.

Each moment was there for me, and I wasn’t thinking too far ahead. (I did worry about the canter, ha).

When we came up to the final halt, I just KNEW we had a rocking test. We aced it!! The judge called me over and asked what breed Oats was (a mutt, I said. haha) and she said she really liked him and he was a good size and a very nice mover! WOW!!!!! 🙂

That test? Highest score ever for me- 69%. Good enough for second place for us! YESSS. A great end to a good day. I was very proud of how we pulled it together, and you should have seen how great everyone else was riding yesterday- I wasn’t the only one coming away with some good scores!!

Kudos to my friends for their great efforts, and to the Cowichan District Riding Club for a friendly, welcoming and fun atmosphere.

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Photo courtesy of Makayla Hovey.

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Oats tries jumpers! (With some success!!)

Oats tries jumpers! (With some success!!)

So, this weekend I had overscheduled myself. Literally. Horse show at the Cowichan District Riding Club on Saturday in Duncan, and then the Times Colonist 10K run on Sunday.

Easy right?

Well!!! I’ll tackle this in two parts- 1 is the horse show (today’s entry).

Saturday we got up at the asscrack of dawn (approx 5:30 for me, probably like 5am for Nicole) and hauled our tired and confused ponies up to the Cowichan fairgrounds, the new site.

I entered in the x-rails and the 2′ ‘match the clock’ jumper classes. Warmup was quite tense, the loudspeaker BOOMED at us, and Oats was having mini hissy-fits when I got a bit too grabby at the canter- I had frantic visions of getting bucked off again, and I was like..help!!!

Warm up o/f was fine though, it’s the flat part we struggle with. And then blam, I’m the first one in the ring! Which wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem except for a few things:

– I have never ridden jumpers before. What buzzer?
– There are 9 jumps, not 8. I only rode 8. Oops!
– I can’t seem to remember my course for the life of me. Shit, where did jump #6 go? I thought it was on the diagonal?! No. It’s on a line. The outside line. ARGH.

So, I missed the buzzer, missed my final jump, and the second x-rails course, forgot where I was going. OOPS! haha. The 2-ft class went well though, and I sort of aced it!

Baby steps people, baby steps. Oats had another minor hissy fit in the warmup ring, and Nicole had to grab his bridle to walk him back in, as he was threatening a rear or two. Silly pony! His jumping did feel nice, and when I felt confident to let him cruise, he cruised. He didn’t pull ANY shenanigans in the show ring. He was honest and interested, if a bit too interested, in what was going on outside the fence….

It was a busy busy day! We did well, with a 5th and a 4th in our classes that I managed to actually complete. Hah, when I did I get so bad about remembering my courses? Ohh well, I guess that is what schooling is for eh?

Here is Oats wearing his silly travelling helmet and his ribbons from the day. Oh and it was SO BUSY on the fairgrounds. A cow show was happening at the same time (talk about exciting!! Bellows! Moos!!) and lots and lots of horses competing.

We are getting out there and getting it done though! Go us!