Don’t get me wrong…it’s wonderful to get a great score or a first place ribbon. But sometimes it is about something else.
Biasini and I were off to White Fences for a show this past weekend. Biasini into the trailer and away we go.
We did a nice schooling session, Biasini knows this show ground and is quite relaxed about the whole thing.
Saturday we were competing. We had one of those tests where the things we have been struggling with in training went quite well and the things that we normally can ace with ease had mistakes. But we got a reasonable score, good comments from the judge and placed 4th in the Adult Amateur division.
Sunday we were in the ring again. In our warm up my coach Lou Denizard told me that I had to get Biasini “off the bit”. By this he means light in the connection and not pulling downward and taking over which is what he likes to do. This phrase has something about it that translated very clearly into a feel for the connection. Lou told me that I had to use the short side of the arena and the corners to accomplish this so I would be ready for the next movement. We did this several times in the warm up and it worked well.
When I went into the arena and started my test my goal was to remember this “off the bit” and use it. And I did! And Biasini responded beautifully.
This was the 10th time I have ridden the Intermediare 1 test in competition. It was the 1st time I truly felt I was riding the horse and not riding the test. After the final halt and salute I leaned forward and gave Biasini a pat and a rub on his withers. “Thank you,” I said to him. “Thank you.” As we left the arena I felt that it was the best ride I have had at this level. Not a perfect test, there were struggles and there were mistakes. It would not be the winning ride nor the high point score. But for me it was the best. It was the best because I have so often struggled with Biasini when he has morphed into the Brigadier General Bully Biasini in the competition ring. But this time he was ‘listening’ to me and we were working together. The score wasn’t great, we placed 3rd in the Amateurs. But it was my feeling about how we had connected in the ring that made it the ‘best’ for me. This ride is now my rock upon which I will build toward our next time in the ring.
When I was walking him around the warm up arenas to cool Biasini out after our test I saw a lovely small horse with a young rider starting their warm up. The horse was a palomino, beautifully groomed and turned out for the the show. ” I love the color of your horse,” I said to her. The girl looked at me and smiled a smile that could light up the darkest of places. “Oh! Thank you!” she said. We chatted a bit and then went our separate ways. This young girl so clearly loved her horse. She was so happy to be there to show him off. Keeping a palomino sparkling clean, mane and tail bright and dapples showing on the flanks is not easy. It is right up there with grey and white horses. My hat was off to this young girl. And more than that….her love of her horse(whose name is Obi) and her pride in her horse was so heartening to see. My husband took a photo with my phone after asking her permission.
At shows I see riders of all ages and stages, professional and amateur but this young girl and her little palomino were the highlight for me. In the end this is what it is all about; the love of the horse and the joy of sharing time with them.
Here are a few photos of some of the amazing spring blooms around the show ground. The show organizer and owner of the property Adam Pollock is an avid horticulturalist and I enjoyed seeing the remarkable plants.
And, of course, I came home after the show and spent the evening sipping Dom Perignon and relaxing. NOT! #reallife. What comes after horse shows? Laundry!
I will have some professional photos of Biasini and me taken by the official show photographer Joanna Jodko later this week.