Ugly Sweater Horse Show

Apparently I do have magical powers, or perhaps God just took pity on us horse people because the morning of the horse show dawned dry and miraciously warm.  It was a toasty 40 degrees while I was tacking up, and even thought a slight mist started down a few hours later when I was actually mounted, it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle.

The weather man scared most of our entries away, and it ended up being a very small show, mostly competing against people I knew.  Which is fine, if not a little anti-climatic.  We were put in the 2’6” classes, and so our flats went first.  I got on only a few minutes before to stretch out Dee’s legs outside before meandering into our class.  It was pretty full, with maybe 7-8 horses.  We did our thing, and undersaddle snagged a 2nd place to start off the day.

Ugly sweater vest ftw

My trainer asked that I come out for equitation round.  So Dee and I wandered back out into the rain to get her martingale on for jumping.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed to not flat again.  (Don’t judge) Flats are not the most exciting classes-but she’s a cute little horse and I was eager to be in the ring.

I was the first back on Dee, so I was lined up and ready to roll into our warm-up.  Dee stood like a lady in the misty rain.  A little chestnut gelding came out, and in we went.  We were supposed to do the add step this round, and so I started out with a little pitter patter canter and headed on our way.  Considering how much I’m having to cram her step in, I think she jumps around nicely-if not a little under powered.  Coming down the bending line I half halted a bit too much, and we threw in an awkward trot step/tranter jump over the oxer.  I get awkwardly jumped out of the tack, but we land and canter on just fine.

After completing my courtesy circle, my trainer tells me to just stay in for the 1st hunter class.  I reverse and off we go again!  It’s much the same struggle of really keeping her step small and I then over-corrected to the single on the bending and we have to “climb” over the vertical.  But again, Dee is a correct and smart little horse and we make it around easily.

When I leave the ring after that class, my trainer mentions to me that she thinks we should be done for the day.  I just nodded.

I wanted to write all this last week when I was fired up about it in so many ways.  I was fired up because not only did I make it back to the show ring (abeit a small one), but that we took home a 3rd place in our one judged jumping round!  Yay?!

I also wanted to be fired up about how I have been dying to show since the day I stopped showing in March of 2015…yet only managed to get into 2 judged classes at my home stable.  But now I just feel deflated by it all.  Getting the stomach flu the week after didn’t help either, but I actually haven’t ridden since the show.  Honestly, I haven’t really wanted to.  Maybe my lesson tonight will help drag me out of my “blah” fest.


I adore Dee, that’s not really a question here.  I love riding, also not a question.  But I’d liken being pulled from classes at a home stable kind of like being benched during a home basketball game or something.  It really gives you a hit in the gut.

I don’t know.  Maybe I’m just struggling to see the good side of things?  Whatever it is, I’m glad I got to show at all, and am hoping to get back out there soon.  If anything to prove to myself I can!

17 thoughts on “Ugly Sweater Horse Show

  1. I’m a bit confused as to why your trainer “benched” you. I thought your round was fine. Sure, you had one bad jump… but very few of us ever hit 8 out of 8 fences perfectly! No part of the round was dangerous or made me think you were doing to hurt yourself or the horse. Maybe your trainer just thought you shouldn’t over exert yourself since you had been sick?

    Whatever the reason, I hope you don’t let it deter you. I have had MUCH uglier rounds than that but that is part of learning (or relearning) the horse show game! Here’s to better shows once it warms back up again!

    • I think she was just worried since neither of us had been showing for over a year and wanted to end on a positive note. Which I totally
      understand…but it’s still a hard pill to swallow when you’re a bit OCD about finishing things (like I am).

  2. i’ve been eagerly awaiting this post… but am sorry to hear that your feelings about how it all went got squashed. sounds like you and Dee killed it in your hack class, and that jump round definitely proved that you and Dee have built up a solid partnership. i’d be fired up about getting pulled from the rest of the rounds too.

  3. Understandable to be a little underwhelmed by the whole thing – but good on ya for getting out there! It sounds like you did great with two nice ribbons 🙂 If you’re really concerned, maybe try talking to your trainer about why she thought you should end the day early. There are so many reasons and it may not have had anything to do with you at all.

  4. Ugh, I find it so weird how the system works in the US. Here in Aus the rider chooses what to do, the trainer just helps them achieve it. Also I can’t help feeling like if you hadn’t done the add and had let her get forward a lot of the glitches would have vanished. I love how sweet she is though and well done on the ribbons.

  5. I don’t understand why your coach benched you. If you’re having fun and not riding dangerously you should get to do whatever classes you want. Sometimes I miss not having a coach, but I do like getting to make my own decision. I watched the video and you weren’t riding badly. The one jump wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t that bad. I’m honestly baffled and I don’t think I’d get along with your coach. But this is the time of yeah for feeling blah about riding, so I’m sure it’ll get better after the holidays.

    • I am one who does much better with a coach, and now that I have some distance from the show (and we talked about it face to face) I have a much better feel for the reasons. And number one is that my trainer will always think of the horse first. The mare I’m leasing is fantastic, but since she had not shown in such a long time, it was more important to my trainer to let her be done after being such a good girl. I get it. I hope to improve next time too!

      Ugh, winter/early dark is the worst. It’s supposed to warm up here for a few days and hopefully that will help life my spirits too!

  6. I think since it was your first show back your trainer probably wanted to make sure you had a good experience. And thats what happened, nothing got to hairy or weird and yes mistakes were made, we all make them, but its something to work on for the next show. Just there to knock some rust off.

  7. Would it be possible to talk to your trainer about it? I’m always of the “go to the source” mentality, but I understand that can be tough.. I agree with you that shows at your home barn should be the place to try to do as many classes as possible- your horse didn’t have to travel, you know the arena etc. Sorry you’re bummed. But glad your sweater won!

  8. I spent a few years partially leasing a horse, and it was always hard to not be making as much progress as others… or not being able to do as much. But, you know what? You have a lot going on outside of riding too, that I know you wouldn’t change for the world. It’s not easy, but keep working on seeing the bright side — and one day, that will be all you see ❤

  9. I too have been looking forward to this post and am sorry to hear that it did not end the way you expected. However, I think it is great that you got back in the ring! and before year end! I know how the blah fest goes and feels. I am there! Focus on the positive and be glad that you ended on a positive note…and had fun doing it. Now you can set your sights on your next show and to do more and better. Maybe it would be good to talk to her about it? For your own understanding and growth, to help set you up for success and progress for the next time out, and to deepen and open your relationship with your trainer? Just some thoughts…

    • Thank you 🙂 More showing is on the horizon for sure! And yes, it was first on my list after the show was to chat about it. We have a great and really transparent relationship, which I find really helps with everything! I have an update going up today about our chat. 🙂

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