I was standing in the Show Office at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and the show secretary was looking for my Intermediare 1 Adult Amateur division test results. There was a glass jar with with sweets and wrapped chocolates. I picked out a chocolate and had just popped it into my mouth when the secretary handed me my test sheet and …… a blue ribbon. FIRST PLACE!! I nearly choked on the chocolate , coughing and spluttering. “Are you ok?” the show secretary asked. “Yes,” I croaked. “I’m just so surprised to have placed first!”
C.S. Lewis once said “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” This past weekend I rode the Inter 1 test on two days. The first day’s test was a mix of good–not good–good–not good. So on the second day I knew where I was going to have to make an extra effort and remain completely focused on the job at hand. There could be no meandering about. My “failures” of the previous day were my “finger posts”.This was the fourth time I have ridden this test in competition and Biasini and I are still a long way from having a smoothly successful ride. But we are improving. A score of 64.4% gave us first place in the Adult Amateur division. There are some thanks that I must give for this success.
MY HORSE BIASINI
There is a video of my ride at the end of this post. You will notice the show is very busy. There was a Hunter Derby going on in the Derby field adjacent to the Dressage rings. The hunters were going back and forth on the passageway next to the ring Biasini and I rode in. There are also lots of horses going back and forth on the road behind the C end of the arena plus golf carts and it was a windy day. When I first got Biasini he would have been very nervous about all this and may well have had a spook during the test. But now he is completely focused. He does get very strong in some moments but we both know about that and it is up to me to ride prepared for that.
MY SUPPORT TEAM
My husband David is not a horse person but he comes to the shows willing to help where needed; changing water buckets, holding Biasini while I mount up, bringing a bag with the ringside essentials ( water for me and sugar cubes for Biasini) to the warm up ring and he videos my ride. I could not do it without him.
My coach Lou Denizard is there for the warm up with the energy and push to get on with the exercises we need to work through before going in the ring. He is there at the end for the debriefing ; praise if it went well, encouragement and direction for the next time if it went poorly. And…..something else….usually his assistant helps me with mucking out the stall and hand walking Biasini. She was not able to come to this show so Lou , my coach, came and did those jobs. How many coaches do you know who will come and muck out a stall for a senior citizen student? It is a life saver for me because as I am closing in on my 69th birthday I just don’t have the chutzpah to stay all day from morning to late afternoon at the show and do all those jobs.
My friend Nancy Kleiner. At horse shows you hear some pretty ridiculous stuff in the stabling area. Who else would I have to share some humorous chuckles with about all that if I did not have Nancy? That is how to keep perspective and a sense of humor about the whole “showing” thing.
Finally my coach from home Belinda Trussell who took time out of her own busy schedule to come and watch me ride on the second day. Lou was warming up another student so could not see my test. At the final halt I could hear Belinda cheering so I knew the test had been ok. I was able to see her for the debrief afterwards.
Here is a video of our ride on the second day. There is still plenty of room for improvement . The shoulder in on the center line is still a wibbly wobbly experience for us and there are some moments when Biasini thinks he knows the test better than me. But for the 4th time riding this test I am happy and I am looking forward to working on improving what needs to be improved.
*Featured photo by Kara Riley-King*