Today is Saturday and I’ve been here since Monday when we hauled in early to set up and settle in. I was able to grab a partner for Ranch Sorting on Wednesday – we only penned one cow in the time allowed but placed 5th in the Amateur – most of all it was fun and Grace loved it!
Wednesday night I rode in a Trail Class Clinic, the clinic was great – tons of information on how to ride a trail course at this level, many technical aspects that I never thought about. The riding part did not go so well. Grace was running at the poles and by the end of the night she and I were both incredibly frustrated. Once again this year I am having a hard time not comparing myself to the well-schooled horses and riders that are my competition. Ranch Horse Pleasure on Thursday morning was another fun class. I am upset with myself for not having higher scores, I know I can do better at home; still Grace was relaxed and really flowed on pattern. We fell apart in Trail that night picked up the wrong lead and never recovered. Grace and I were tense for the rest of the pattern and I was so pissed at myself. When I came out of the ring my trainer made me continue to school my horse until I got her to settle. I wanted nothing to do with it. I had already embarrassed myself enough, but Sarah forced me to not leave the ring until I had ended on a good note. I had that overwhelming feeling that I didn’t belong here at all, really not cut out for the Big Pond. This was all taking place at 11:00pm at night when Trail ended.
The next morning Sarah wanted to talk about it. She said I could go home if I wanted to and not show at this level but she feels that I do belong here and reminded me of all that I have accomplished in the last year with my horse. With that said she reminded me that for some reason I ride differently at these bigger shows and it is something that I am going to have to get past. I had planned to go home today but went ahead and signed up for Horsemanship on Sunday. Western Riding and Showmanship were held on Friday. I thought my Western Riding patterns were good, had a bobble over the pole at the lope in the Novice Am class but put together a nice pattern for the Amateur. Still not near the level of my competitors but I wasn’t last in the class either. For the first time maybe ever I enjoyed Showmanship. I even placed under one of the judges in my Rookie class. I should really consider practicing that class – I might have a chance to be competitive!
I still feel like I am at the bottom of the competition here and I question why I am here. Then again if I don’t push myself to a level outside my comfort zone I’ll never have a reason to push myself and improve. I’ve really enjoyed spending time getting to know my fellow riders at this show. Today is English so no classes for us but I will school today to get ready for horsemanship tomorrow. The classes are huge- 30+ in the Novice Am so I will plan to just go out there and put together the best pattern I can.