Last year was a successful year for Faith and the Little Monster, Tonto. They worked through the local circuit, and both rider and pony improved throughout the year. This year she had a plan...Show Green Pony Hunter at rated shows. This meant a higher height, one that neither rider or pony has jumped
before. And of course, let's start early in January! I will chronicle the ups and downs of our journey through Green Pony Hunter.
Shaking Out the Cobwebs
Winter show selections in Virginia are slim since we tend to be a little cold. The bulk of rated shows are in Lexington during the winter. It's a great venue, but I have a fear of trailering up and down an mountain in winter, but that's my own fear I may need to get over some day. So we find a show not too far away and no mountain to drive over.
Getting there was easy, but navigating your way through the grounds of a new place is always tricky. Que first argument with better half because I am not an expert at where we need to go at a place I have never been. We finally find our stalls and begin the laborious task of unloading. Faith gets the little monster out of the trailer and starts getting him ready to exercise a bit after his trailer ride. I get the best job of offloading the other things. These "other things" are the mobile stable you must bring to every overnight show. I don't need to exercise today because I will be making multiple trips to and from the trailer to unpack everything we "need". One would assume you just need your riding clothes and tack form the horse. Its starting to get chilly as I offload the buckets, wraps, blankets, saddle pads, shelving unit, hooks, tack box and the other million things we must have for the trip. It was a bit easier since I did not bring our "barn decor" since it was only Faith making the trip. Usually we would decorate our stall area with stall drapes, a sign, a table, and some plants. That was a small win for me.
She starts the show week on Friday. We entered into a flat and over fences equitation class age 12-14. For the novices out there, this is where they are judging the rider and how they ride vs. the horse. We've done these at local shows, so I figured it's the same. Well I learned quickly it is not the same. Her first ever trip in a ring to jump 2'9 also has 3' jumps scattered in it AND she was the only pony. Apparently at this show horses mainly do these classes and ponies tend to stay in the other ring. Whoops! Her trainer says, well we know for next time. The good news was he made it over the jumps. As soon as she was done with her eq class, you could tell she was already focused and thinking about Saturday, her 1st time competing in Green Pony.
Saturday came a little early as I had seen a big bug in our hotel room. I hate bugs!!! So I wake up Mike to kill the bug and proceed to wake everyone up as I am screaming about the bug. Already starting out rough. We head to the barn to start preparing for the day. In the schooling ring they look good and are ready to take on the day. They take their warm up trip, it was a little rough to say the least. I'm think ok, we got the jitters out of the way, so we should be good. Let's just say both trips had a refusal at the same jump because of how she approached the jump. There were some tears because she had some lofty expectations, but it was a learning experience. I know better than to go talk to her, she has my competitive nature and just needs time to process. We go see some sights and grab some food to get her mind off the not so great day they had. But that evening we go back so she can work on keeping him out on the rail longer and using her corners.
Sunday is now here and the last 2 classes of her division are today. It's cold and raining like crazy. We are all soaked and cold. Even though the rings are covered, you still need to get to and from the stall areas. I am also dreading the fact that I have to pack up all those "other things" in the rain. Their warm up trip was less to be desired, but she came out of the ring an knew it was her fault. For her last 2 trips she made it around the ring and landed his leads, so this was a win. They may have not been blue ribbon worthy, but they were improving and this is what the entire journey is about. We didn't come here with a made pony or experienced rider. They are here to learn together and gain experience together and that is the biggest win of all! Stay tuned for the next adventure!!