Friday, July 15, 2011

Moving Up

So much for resting on my laurels.

Fiona after having her braids out at UNH

Less than a week after my great accomplishment of completing my first sanctioned event with Fiona, I have some new goals to work on. Like many things involving horses, this all starts with talking to my trainer. This entire blog is based on a passing comment made to my trainer, suggesting I was ready to buy a horse. There's a profound revelation in that somewhere, I'm just not sure what it is.

Back when I took the princess to the Scarlett Hill derby cross, my trainer made a passing joke about me moving up for Huntington since they weren't planning on being at the show for Beginner Novice day. I panicked a bit, but she later assured me she was just joking. Fast forward to last night, when we were e-mailing about my schedule for the rest of the show season. For King Oak they're not planning on going for the Beginner Novice day, and again she said 'so you'll just have to move up!'. Again, I had a minor panic attack. A much smaller one, now that I've cruised around at Beginner Novice, but it still happened.

Today I asked if she was joking. She said no, she's not joking. We have two months before King Oak, and the princess already does the Novice dressage test and schools at Novice for stadium. We even do the Novice jumps for cross country schools. Why not? It seems so simple and logical when you say it like that, it's just taking me a moment to shift gears. I'm still giddy from Beginner Novice, and we get to move up already?

Moving up is something universal across equestrian disciplines. I've had that moment of staring at my trainer all wide eyed as a hunter, as a jumper, and now as an eventer. I'm sure this conversation takes place in dressage and western pleasure barns, too.

Trainer: You should move up next show.
Student: You think I'm ready?

Trainer: Absolutely.

Student: *smiles, nods, disappears to bathroom to throw up*

Possibly less throwing up in disciplines that don't involve galloping and jumping things that don't fall down, but it's the same idea. I know I was pretty nauseous when I moved up in the jumper world. It's not even really about the change in difficulty, or the bigger jumps, or the possibility of having to face a real ditch on cross county. Moving up is almost as much about the label as the test. I'd be a Novice rider, and my horse would be a Novice horse. If nothing else, that's faster to type than Beginner Novice.

We're putting together a plan to make sure that in two months, the princess and I are ready to tackle the fearsome world of Novice. I have a stadium clinic with Bobby Costello on Aug 2nd (and rumor has it he likes to jack up the fences, so that should be interesting), I have some schooling two-phases coming up that I'll do at Novice, and some cross country schooling trips that will be going up to Novice. I have full faith that when my trainer is done with us, we won't bat an eyelash at King Oak.

Once I'm done throwing up in the portapotty.

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