As I've said before, horseback riding is full of highs and lows. When things are good, they're very, very good, and when they're bad, they're rotten.
Today was one of the highs.
The princess made her show debut at a schooling 2-phase held by a nearby barn. At this point, we've had three jumping lessons total (and I'll admit to not having run through my dressage test at all beforehand). Keeping in mind her complete lack of jumping experience, we signed her up for the 22" division which meant that it was a walk/trot dressage test. Nice. Our canter is still a bit . . . dicey.
Of course this means a 5am wake up call to go help feed before the show. Thank you, 24 hour Burger King, for providing me with a Whopper at that hour of the morning. Not that my stomach was thrilled by me eating before I was fully awake, but it did make the first half of the show much easier. We popped her shipping boots on, wrapped her tail, and headed out to the trailer. At least, we tried to. Fiona stood there with this perplexed expression, trying to figure out how to walk in her shipping boots. A lot of horses will pick their back legs up after boots are put on, but Fiona did a lovely impression of a hackney pony all the way onto the trailer.
Aside from her rather dramatic hop down the ramp when we arrived, she shipped well. We tacked up and headed over to warm up for dressage. We're walking along, she's checking out the sights, and all of a sudden she just stops and stares. Straight ahead. She's even considering spinning and heading home, and for the life of me I can't figure out what she's looking at. Turns out she doesn't like large groups of people standing around. Funny, considering how people oriented she is. We eased her past it, and she warmed up very nicely. The dressage was in an indoor, and I was very proud of her for just walking in, having a look, and settling in. By the second half of her test, I was able to push her for some good stretching over her back. It was enough to get us a 36.0, and I was thrilled with her. A tie for third place!
She got some time off (and a lot of grass) before we headed back for the jumping. The warm up was a bit rough with two stops. The rainbow rails were just not okay with her. We had a bit of a scary moment when she jumped and suddenly decided to drop her head and bolt. I think that's the first time I've used a sharp correction with her, and it seems to have done the trick. She was very ladylike after that, but I was a bit worried about the stops. These jumps had very colorful standards, lots of flowers, some planks and fill were in use. How would I get her around if she stopped at the rainbow cross-rail in warm up?
Turns out that if you kick? Fiona will close her eyes and leap, even if she really doesn't want to jump that jump. I swear she actually closed her eyes over the third fence, which was a very looky one with wishing wells for standards and the walls that would be used for later heights set to the sides like wings. It looked like a fortress with a 22" vertical in the middle. The princess wanted nothing to do with it, but I gave her a bump and she just went for it. I grabbed a lot of mane for that launch, but she got big pats on the other side. By the end of the course, she was just rolling along and I let her canter the last three. A ten jump course, and by the halfway point the lightbulb went on. 'Oh, I go over these! Got it!'
No faults, and that bumped us to a pretty blue ribbon. I'm so thrilled with her, there are no words. She was very brave on a very looky course. She got a lot of treats and put to bed. Of course now I'm ready to crash out. Show days are always so horribly long, and I had the worst show nerves I've had in a long time. Turns out that I didn't need to worry that much, the little girl is still willing to work. So long as the crowds aren't staring at her too hard. But they are allowed to clap for her, she likes that.