Monday, October 31, 2011

Winning on the Inside

Are we there yet?

Well, we are home from Kentucky and it was a wonderful trip! Eddie seemed to know that we were back in action, and he loves the horse park, so he was in a good mood all day Sunday. I handwalked him around the barns and out by cross-country on Sunday morning, and he was about a mile high and so excited (he knows what it is that we do!). I was worried he might get irritable doing all the dressage, dressage, dressage, and no jumping, (since dressage is not typically what rocks our world). But, he knew that I meant business when I picked the burrs out of his tail, scraped the mud off his hocks, and took the scissors to his mane. We may not arrive looking sleek and stylish, but I do what I can when the clock is ticking! 

As we made our way down to the dressage rings, the sun was shining and there were horses and riders milling around everywhere having a good time. The dressage-only classes were scheduled for the afternoon, so things were not as crazy and warm-up was pretty quiet. We warmed up for about 30 minutes and I was really proud of how well Ed was moving. Based on past history, I self-consciously stayed over to the side and we kept to ourselves. However, I got the strangest feeling that we were being watched.....and, we were! I noticed people looking and smiling as we floated past and it was such a shock. I'm not used to people observing us warm-up, and smiling. I took this as a good sign and walked over towards our arena and waited for the rider in front of us to finish her test. I was momentarily rattled when I realized the girl in the ring was not riding USEA Beginner Novice Test B, as I'd assumed (oops!), so I quickly pulled USEF Training Level Test 1 out of my breeches pocket and refreshed my memory last minute. Nothing like reverting to my former scrambling-ness to remind me that we haven't come that far!

We had a nice little test, and I was very pleased with Eddie's stretchy-trot circle (we got an 8 on it!). As we finished up after our final halt, the judge stopped me and told me what a "lovely horse" I had and she commented on how light and forward he moved after I let him go into the stretchy trot. She told me to let him go more and not try to keep him up and lofty, and I thanked her for her kind advice (I don't have a trainer, so the judge's feedback is really why I was there!). She complimented me again on my nice horse and my good riding, and we went on our way. The next test was the Beginner Novice Test B in another ring, so I headed that way, feeling pretty positive and capable. We haven't ridden a dressage a legitimate over 2 years, so this was all coming back to us in a rush. I felt much more confident about the BN test, since we had already ridden one test, so we went into the arena and performed very decently in a percentage class (with most everyone else riding USEF tests, not USEA tests). I was happy with Eddie -- no matter what the results ultimately were -- and I left the arena thinking we had gone through a low spot the past year or so and we have come out on the other side. We're back! 

As we hacked up to the barn, Eddie walked along softly and contentedly on the buckle, and I closed my eyes and felt the warm sun on my face. As I listened to the clip-clop of horse shoes on pavement, it felt like there wasn't another soul in the world; it was just me and Eddie. I smiled and I thought to myself, "This is what I've been missing. This is what I live for. I am a winner on the inside, today."

1 comment:

Renee said...

Sounds like a really fun time! :)