I'm still riding high on my experiences at the show. I've been mulling things over and trying to learn from this experience to improve my next one. Before I get into that let me share that I had the best ride on Carmen tonight. She was soft and forward and willing. It was magical. There was no troll corner, no scary zombie birds and no lions advancing in the grass. It took me a while to figure out what to do! I usually spend much of the ride getting her on the aids that when she started there I was caught flat-footed. But we improvised and it went very well. Leg yields- sure. Baby shoulder ins at the trot? Okay. Compressing and lengthening stride? That took a bit but man she tried.
Here's what I learned from the show:
1. I need to buy a watch.
Seriously. I don't own one- haven't for years but I kept bugging the ring steward 'what time is it?' So I need to pick up a cheap on to keep in my show kit.
2. Packing that extra pair of boots was smart.
My zipper came apart on Sunday in my first test. I had thrown my schooling boots in and I was glad I had. I got them out- cleaned them quickly and rode in them.
3. Carmen does better with more work.
I'm used to horses getting tired as the show progresses. I was even planning to scratch the last class if I thought it was too much for her. But she seemed to thrive on the work and, although tired, was not too tired to play the game.
4. I need to figure our my routine.
I am an organized person but it is very routine based. At the show I don't have my routine worked out so I kept walking back to the truck or trailer looking for things. At one point I was convinced I had lost my cell phone (in fact I was convinced I must have dropped it in the port a potty). I found it in the spot I had check 4 times. Sigh. I had rips in the space-time continuum.
5. Carmen is ready for me to up the ante.
I mean we were in a ring surrounded by a moat, trees, waving cat tails, machinery and was fine. We rode up to into the show ring by ourselves. She was hesitant and fine. So there's no need for her to be worried about my ring. This may be why my ride tonight was so good- I was expecting her to be good not scared.
6. I ride better when I'm focussing on supporting the horse than in trying to look 'pretty and perfect'.
I was able to be proactive and work with her issues. I believe this was what allowed her to improve.
And last- I still enjoy showing and can't wait to do it again!