It’s a new feeling for me. Excitement has replaced fear. Eeyore and I are ready for this show. There will be bobbles. There will be mistakes. We may not even complete. But I don’t care about any of that because for the first time since starting this journey in 2016, I don’t feel like an imposter playing at Eventing. If the wheels fall off completely and we crash and burn, I know I’ll be disappointed but I also know that it won’t mean that we shouldn’t be there or shouldn’t be trying. It will only mean that it wasn’t our day. And that folks is a huge shift in my perspective on this.
The jumper show I scooted off to a few weeks ago laid aside any lingering doubts about stadium. Having done three courses at height that day I know we can go in there and get it done. Again, it may not be pretty and it certainly won’t be fast but we can do it. Check.
Dressage and cross country were still plaguing me with doubts though. Last weekend was it. No more chances to work out the kinks and uh….it was worrying me that I had yet to ride Eeyore in a dressage arena except for one time in August when we left the arena accidentally…twice.
Saturday afternoon I drove up to her facility to work in the grass dressage arena there. Friday night I spent going over the test again and again until I had it down pat. We started by warming up in the derby field and other than the constant reminder to sit up and not to let him pull me down towards him, it went fine. He is really starting to have a better balance about his movement and that is translating to a slower and easier canter to ride.
She wanted me to work in the arena at the trot and canter both directions to get a feel for the size and shape of the 20 m circle. Eeyore was relaxed and willing to play along which was a bit surprising since the nasty weather and family commitments had meant his last ride was Tuesday and the one before that was 10 days prior.
I exited and then circled to enter at A, working trot.
Really the first run through went pretty well. We hit all the proper transition points, got the correct canter leads and nailed our final halt. Trainer AB screamed out “that’s a 10 halt!!” I made some bobbles and we were a bit tense but I think it was a worthy test.
Then she had me exit and do it again and uh….Frat Boy was pissed. Typically after we do that much dressage he gets to jump and there we were in the jump field trotting past all the jumps. When we entered again at A, he got incredibly tense, had angry Appy ears and was swishing his tail the entire time. He was not happy.
Still he gave me what I asked for if with a bit of Appytude. The only major bobble was his bucking leap into the right lead canter. Trainer got on me for not setting him up by slowing down his left side and encouraging the right side to get a little ahead before asking. She thinks I startled him. I think he was being a piss ant.
Either way he still gave me the correct lead so while it was exuberant it still counted. By the time we halted at G he was giving everyone in a 5 mile radius the middle finger and I burst out laughing after my salute. What else are you going to do? Homeboy does not hide his opinions well.
She asked if I wanted to run through it again and I didn’t really see the point. He was over it and had done well enough to not get us eliminated and that’s my only goal for this show. Plus we still had cross country to do and I didn’t want him to be too worn out.
After we talked a bit and she sent me on my way I felt pretty ok about the dressage phase. I need to work on preparing him for what is next instead of going “surprise now we trot!” and hope that he holds it together in the crowd and noise. Honestly right now the weather looks awful for the show. 50s and raining. I’d rather it snowed. Maybe it will keep a lot of people away and the atmosphere will be more subdued.
Either way I was two phases under control as we hacked over to the cross country facility!