Today was day 64 of Project Fiona.
First things first. I completely understand that horse shows need to start early in order to get done while the sun is still up, I really do, but I had the overwhelming urge to fling my alarm clock when it went off at 4am this morning. I think I got a total of one hour of sleep. I spent several hours staring at the ceiling and thinking of everything that could go wrong at our first three phase, dozed off, got woken up by my husband coming home, dozed off again, and the alarm went off. These early mornings are ridiculous, I don't know how my trainer does it nearly every weekend.
If not for 24 hour Burger King, horse showing would not be possible.
Yes, I'm still psyching myself out a bit for showing Fiona, but it's getting better. I didn't stress to the point of feeling sick this time. She, of course, was a good girl and got a 36.7 on her BN Test B. We got knocked for her overly-enthusiastic canter (and one rather explosive canter depart), but got some good marks in her trot work. That got us into first place after dressage. We had a little over an hour to swap tack for the stadium and cross country. I should have eaten, I know I should have eaten, but jumping is still a bit spotty with her and I was nervous. I just pulled on my jumping vest and headed back to the rings.
She actually sat and chilled, watching the stadium rounds and letting everyone pet and fuss over her. Her jumping warm up was a bit interesting, with plenty of head shaking and skittering about, but she jumped everything without hesitation. Our fences were only 24" and didn't have a lot of decoration, so she was more than able to handle this. Our only dicey moment came when I heard that we had a loose horse on cross country, which was starting next to stadium, and I turned and looked away from my last fence to see if I needed to bail. Turned out that the horse was already caught. I looked back to my fence and realized I was practically on top of it and Fiona was wondering what I was looking at. At least she's honest and she popped over it despite the lousy ride I gave her.
From there, it was straight to cross country. Good, no time for nerves, but I was feeling a bit woozy from not eating since 4:45am. Off we went for our 9 fence introduction to cross country. Despite a slight loss of sanity on fence three when she realized she was all alone in the field, by fence four she was in the groove. By fence seven, she was cantering beautifully, light in the bridle and ears pricked.
Fiona got another pretty blue ribbon for her collection. I got a clear demonstration of just why I ride through her zany days and her little quirks. Some days I have to wonder why I do this. The sport is expensive, time consuming, and could get me killed. I have a hot little chestnut thoroughbred mare that can move ten feet laterally with little to no warning for almost any reason and is far from easy to manage when she's excited.
Then we went out for a nice little run in a field in beautiful weather, locked on to our next fence, and it started to make sense again.