No Regrets

Half the battle is just showing up.

Right..?

Of course riders won’t do well if they don’t even show up.  Also, they can’t do too terribly bad, either.

Just days before registry-closing for the next show, it really didn’t feel right signing up for it.  At all.

A simple schooling ride in the outdoor went haywire.  No reason;  no excuses, no distractions.  Easy transitions from free walk-through walk-trot were ridiculously complicated.  Canter on diagonal, transitioning down to trot for a smooth corner was tense and hurried.  Not pretty.

straight leg yield
Little relaxed leg yield in the dusty outdoor like this? Forget it.

Who wouldn’t wonder:  All this training and we’ve got THIS?  Basic understanding of the aids wasn’t even there.  Extremely humbling.

Really, who’d feel up for spending a small fortune on a long 3-day show, with all the time and energy wrapped that goes along with it then?  I started to think that it’d be better to just continue schooling on our own, without showing.

Forget the stress.  Forget placing ridiculous demands on us as a team, since we don’t have it together right now.

And then the other reminder; – “It takes a village.”  And you don’t have a village.  It’s you, crappy aids, and a crooked horse with a big heart trying to figure out where and how she’s really supposed to be.  Showing 6 tests, three days in a row on your own, whose idea of fun is that?

leg yield at first level

Only way to handle it – hurry up and enter online really quick, late at night, before there’s time to change your mind.  Show coming up Friday.  No regrets.

24 thoughts on “No Regrets

  1. Hi Elinor, your blog has an off beat topic all together. Will be great to read more from you… do you ride horses for leisure or as a sport? and btw where are you from? 🙂

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    1. Hey, I’m glad you like it!! Welcome to the blog!
      This is both a sport and a leisure. Trying hard to compete with my mare that I train on my own, but it’s a hobby and a passion more than being a sport where I try to go out and “win.” (Because we only win occasionally…)
      Enjoying it all, while still being driven crazy by it. Good times 🙂
      I’m from Sweden originally, in California now for many years.

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  2. Brave girl. It takes COURAGE to get out there and give it a try. I am with you in spirit and completely relate to your experience of having everything fall apart (usually just after you’ve sent in the huge non-refundable entry fee). It may well come together again just in time, but if not, there will still be good lessons to learn from the show experience. Try to focus on having a good time with your mare and teaching her that showing can be Fun and Happy. I always try to give a treat and lots of praise after the test, make it a positive experience for them, yay, aren’t horse shows fun? Even if it was a disaster, hey, the horse probably tried but was stressed about something. Give yourself a treat, too, and some praise. You are getting out there and just showing up is half the game. Well done, you! Looking forward to the report!

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    1. Aww, thank you so much. It means a lot to have you cheering us on – I know you’ve been there many times. I don’t stress out too much, but since I feel it’s “redemption” time for Valiosa, the pressure is on to do better than last time.
      Yes, time to have fun! Bringing apples for her is a good idea – carrots, which everyone else does, never mix well with her slobber mouth 😉

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      1. Your mare is a ROCKSTAR! And so are you. It is really hard to do so much on your own, but you are doing it, making progress, learning, developing your mare correctly, and having fun along the way. Really, this is what it’s all about. I hope they reward you with good scores, but the pictures tell me: you are doing this right.

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  3. I always have to keep reminding myself on the “uncooperative” days that my horse is a living being too.. And has her opinion about how she feels on any given day. Which can rapidly change from day to day, or even within the same day. “Ride the horse you have”. (And maybe try to figure out when she’s coming into heat…LOL)

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    1. Yes! That’s extra trickiness with dressage, having a different horse every day 🙂
      She was coming in full heat Friday/Saturday, rested Sun/Mon, and seemed to be going out of it yesterday. Yay! The cards are in our favor!! 🙂

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  4. Lots of people sit in the tackrooms and natter on about how they do this and how they do that. But they never actually get out there and go down that centerline in front of a judge! So carry on. Every show can be a learning experience with or without being in the ribbons!

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    1. Absolutely – showing doesn’t happen all that often, and I try to make each one a learning experience to draw from next time.
      Proud of where we are so far, and yes, braving it is always better than playing it safe with the “expert” card at home in the tackroom 😉

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  5. Riding, like writing, like any creative enterprise, challenges us to bypass our inner critic despite how reasonable it/he/she sounds. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and I’m sure you and Miss V have much to gain from the experience. Cheers!

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    1. Yes, we will! It’s her first 3-day, and our first when we show at a home venue – where they tend to get extra tense – so I’m extra keyed up. But, fun, always!!
      Hope you’re feeling a lot better now Jan, I know it can take long to get over pneumonia…

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  6. Proud of you for going for it. Listen to the wise ladies who commented here…they’re all so, so spot on. It’s not about anyone else–it’s about you and your special mare; your unique journey together. Relish each moment, and try not to get hung up on being perfect. I know, that is SO much easier said than done! But by doing the hard thing, and pushing outside your comfort zones, you’re growing and improving (even when it doesn’t feel that way).

    Regarding you feeling alone out there, I can so relate. I too go to shows alone, and it can be a lonely and intimidating experience…Warming up all alone, while my mind spins its wheels, and everyone else seems to have a coach out there schooling them and an audience of friends and family cheering them on…it can suck. But I do my best to find the up-side of being on my own, and to make the most of it.

    When you only have yourself to worry about, there are fewer distractions! You can really focus. I have learned to love the quiet moments I carve out for myself at shows…Hand-walking Clay around the showgrounds with a thermos of coffee in the early morning, a little yoga stretch-out behind the barn, eating a snack in the shade and visualizing my tests while Clay grazes, or taking extra long to groom and braid in my stall while listening to music or a podcast (to give my brain a break from test-memorization and the anxiety surrounding that.) Moments like that *really* help me to feel centered, calm, focused, and grateful that I get to be there doing something I love with the bestest pony.

    Wishing you tons of luck…We may not be sitting in the bleachers, but you certainly have a fan club here online–we’re all along for the ride with you, and rooting you on!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. How can I NOT have a great weekend after comments like that! Tonia you’re awesome – and so is everyone else who cares to come in here and cheer us on!
      We’re going to create some fun memories and also get to see some fantastic horses in between. It’s a full show with three rings, but I still only recognize just a few rider names. Fun to see something all new!
      I fret some about the logistics in between tests etc since I don’t have a stall, or even a trailer to tie to since we live there, but we’re going to try it and see how it goes. You never know until you’ve tried! 🙂
      Many thanks for all the encouragement! 🙂

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  7. It takes a village to raise a child, but you’re no child. It takes a grown adult to go forward on a leap of faith like that and have courage in her own abilities as well as her partner’s. Besides, crappy dress rehearsals always lead to a great performance!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It is an advantage that you will have three days, that was a wise choice. I know it probably won’t feel that way at first but you have a chance to make a home from home for you both. It takes time to settle in to a competition environment and one day is never as good as two or three. Take some things from home that calm and relax you, the right music can help a lot. Develop your own competition rituals; I used to sit in the box reading and I walked miles listening to music (when the horse got sick of the human sitting in her box reading and wanted some peace!). Remember too that it is better to be at a show alone than with the wrong humans. I can’t deal with stressy excitable people around me, even if they are trying to be supportive. The third thing I’d say is to remember that you matter as much as anyone and everyone there. Be considerate in the warm up but own the space. Even if your work isn’t where you want it to be (and in the early days of competing it often won’t be) that doesn’t stop that ride on that day being a building block of future success. If I wasn’t on the wrong continent you’d have a groom/trainer there to support you for free. Good luck, relax and have fun!

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    1. Yes to this! The advantage is that she knows the place to where she won’t worry and fret in the barn and we can be relaxed together. She’ll be very worried with everything else going on around the rings, but that will give us good practice for any shows we trailer out to later again.
      Appreciate the warmup comments too – I tend to be much too considerate 😦 Warming up for Training level with riders warming up for Intermediare in the same ring last summer was rough… Time to own a bit of space! 🙂 I so appreciate your kind comment – what a fantastic reader group I have! Thank you so much for cheering for us!!

      Liked by 1 person

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