Saturday, I entered a schooling jumper class and two open jumper classes. The jumpers go at the end of the day on Saturday, but I wanted time to get Eli out and walk him around, check his legs, see how his nose was doing, hang out with people, watch barnmates ride and all that type of horse show stuff.
I should also mention my trainer and I discussed earlier in the week that she would not be at the show on Saturday because of lessons back at the barn, so another trainer would set jumps for me in warm up. This turned out to be a non-factor since everyone was well-prepared and expectations were made clear. Boarding at a barn with more than one professional is a must in my book, especially if you plan to show. Then there is always someone around to teach at home and train at shows and look after the horses in both places.
I got to the show around 10am and the indoor arena was still on the first division of the day. I took Eli for a walk and let him graze a bit, then put him up and wandered around the show catching up with folks and watching some hunter trips in the indoor arena. I also noticed walking by the big openings to the outside that the sky had darkened quite a bit.
And then it rained.
With lightning. So there was a lightning delay to the classes being held outside. Everyone checked radar on their phones, and it did not look promising. Flash flood warnings popped up, but the showgrounds were on high enough ground and not anywhere near water, so that we didn’t have any flooding to deal with, just a lot of rain, thunder, and lightning. Lightning stopped long enough for a few classes to resume outside, but the footing turned slick and a lot of people scratched. Classes continued inside, and a division set to run outside got moved inside into the area where the cross rail divisions go early in the morning, and the outside divisions use as their warm up ring.
By this time I had tacked up and started walking around on Eli, letting him stretch and seeing whether he’d handle lightning and thunder claps. With those, he did fine. Also due to the weather, I wound up wearing a plaid flannel shirt to show in because I actually got cold. I had an Icefil show shirt, not thinking I would freeze to death in May in Texas, except that now I might. So my show attire lacked a bit of panache where it worked in practicality.
But you know how I mentioned the outside division moved inside? So where the outside divisions had been warming up was now where they were showing? So the outside divisions now had to warm up with the jumpers? Do you understand?
PONIES IN THE WARM UP.
I don’t really need to say anything else, do I?
Eli got really good at pony-dodging and really frustrated with having to pony-dodge. We did our schooling class, went double-clear, and I told the trainer–as she looked at me and said, “Opens, now, yes?”–“SCRATCH ME.” My brain burnt to a crisp after the ponies because I can’t handle that kind of chaos very well with no advance notice. I had to do it once before a long time ago at a rated show on a horse that thought ponies were chew toys. Never again. Eli handled it much better than I did, at least! He had not been in this type of environment before and there was a lot going on for his brain to process. Once again, he showed me the jumps are the easy & fun part for him. He didn’t even offer an in-gate meltdown and he walked right in the ring without ground assistance–my guess is he knew he’d have it to himself, away from ponies. He did well and I knew we could end on a high note on Saturday, having gotten into the show ring, which was further than I had set my expectations. Two more classes on Sunday sounded great, and I would be better prepared to handle the now-shared warm up ring.
I have video of our class from Saturday, courtesy of JK Videography, a local videography company that travels to horse shows around Texas to video basically everybody showing. Digital downloads start at only $15 per class!
I would also like to mention I think show management did as good a job under the circumstances as possible in trying to keep people and horses safe and giving as much opportunity to show as possible. It meant schedule changes on Sunday due to footing concerns, but the jumpers would still go first inside, so my day would start a bit earlier … but you’ll have to wait until Thursday to read about Sunday. You can’t possibly expect me to preempt Weenie Wednesday.