This past Sunday, Louie and I competed in our first show together. The fact that it was a schooling show made the event somewhat less daunting. Just think of it as a lesson, my riding instructor told me more than once. I dont have a lot of showing experience and I havent ridden in a show since I leased Edoras last Summer, so I was nervous. Really nervous. My lesson on Louie two days earlier had not gone particularly well, so I really just wanted to get through the show without embarrassing myself.
I arrived at the barn at 10am and my first class didnt get underway until about 1pm. With each minute that passed, I became more nervous. Why am I doing this to myself? I wondered. I could be sitting comfortably at home on the couch eating donuts and watching the Olympics. But as the old saying goes, Nothing ventured, nothing gained. So, after reviewing the courses in my head five hundred times and taking almost as many trips to the bathroom, it was game time. Now that its all over, I can honestly say that Im so glad I took the risk. Louie was wonderful. He definitely knew it was a show and he performed. I was happy with my riding, with the exception of a few minor mishaps. Ive decided to look at those mishaps as learning experiences. The blue ribbon eluded us, but we did take home second, third, fourth, and sixth place ribbons. I rode in my first medal and was invited back for round two. The video of our first round ride is below. (I apologize for the poor quality it was taken through a window.) If you watch closely, you can see Louie coughing throughout the course. This messed up our rhythm a bit, but I think we came out pretty well.
Competing in the schooling show was a valuable experience for me. I now have one show on Louie under my belt. I realized during the show that everyone makes mistakes. I did not see a single horse and rider team perform flawlessly. This realization that we are all works-in-progress alleviates some of the unrealistic pressure that I often put on myself to be perfect. Ill continue riding Louie and practicing in preparation for the two shows I plan to compete in this Summer. The schooling show was a big step in the right direction. Now I hope you dont mind if I pop an advil, sit on the couch, eat donuts, and watch the Olympics.
Happy riding and writing, everyone!