I woke up at 6:45am and felt pretty much ready to get up for the day. That's fairly unheard of, for me, you know, being the late night owl and all. And I had stayed up late last night; Ashlee stayed over, I was doing laundry, getting ready for today's show. So I went ahead and got up, went out to the barn and took Gallery out for an early morning ride. I do love it when it's quiet and still, nobody is around, not a voice to be heard, just the stillness of the morning and the sound of the horse breathing or the steady rhythm of her hoofbeats. She was great, as is always the case. I love schooling her, she is one of the few horses I've ever worked with that just "gets" stuff without fuss, without question, without anything besides straightforward education. You show her, she goes "aha!" and then does it. And she's lovely, I love riding her. I can't wait to see what she will eventually become.
Then Eryn and Gabby arrived and started on chores. I went inside and changed from my riding clothes and Ashlee woke up and went out to help with chores. Magdalene arrived and they all just went to work. Rhonda had brought me a coffee, what a great way to start the day with a lovely ride and a great cup of coffee. :) Yes, I love my job.
We spent the earlier morning getting the horses tidied up and the tack packed into the trailer, Jeanne came to help with things and to watch the show, and then we left at 11am, all piled into the truck. When we got to the grounds, Eryn went up to see what class they were on and it was the class right before ours, we had a good amount of time to tack up and warm up. However, the class moved along much quicker than we anticipated, and when the girls all walked up to the arena to start their warm-up, their class was being called in!!
I was impressed with how well both Eryn and Magdalene did on such short notice. Normally (if there ever is such a thing as "normal" at a horse show) we have a long warm-up to get the horses settled, their bodies loosened and working, and their minds relaxed. This time, however, bang, they were in the arena. Eryn had Raz working fairly quickly in a more relaxed and free-flowing position, and he is quite the nervous thing when away from his home. That was something in and of itself. Those old bones of his, and his established way of thinking/processing do not move or change quickly, yet, despite this, she had him in a good place within just a minute. Although the situation was hardly ideal, all was well for everything until towards the end on the canter on the second lead, Drama got spooked over something and scrunched himself in anticipation of bolting and carrying-on like he does, and Magdalene immediately took a shorter rein and a more defensive position to ward off the imminent bolting and bucking fit that would have happened, but she also did something that she has not yet done before, yet it was so instinctual... she reached down and gave him a rub on his neck. He did not settle, however, but still she remained in control of him for the remainder of the class and insisted throughout what was left that he remain under control until she could have him back working with her again. Yes, the class was blown for them and they placed last, but still, I was stricken by the change of behavior in her and I know undoubtedly that it will pay off. And me, I'm all about the long-run. Eryn, she placed second, which was thrilling and even moreso considering the circumstances. :)
Both girls went right out, back to the warm-up arena and had what could be had of real warm-up before they had to go in for the o/f part, trip one. Magdalene went in first, and her round was well-put together, well-thought out and fluid. She utilized the size of the arena, they traveled from fence to fence, and line to line with ease and effortlessness. He was perhaps a bit sloppy over some of the fences and she had to do quite a few simple changes when he landed a line on the wrong lead, but either way, overall picture -- nice. Eryn went in right afterwards, had Raz moving nicely along, took the first fence and traveled to the second, which was the tallest one in the course, covered in baby-blue flowers with a brick wall. Raz, bless his old heart, politely decided he could not take that fence. They circled right back to it, tried again, but again, he politely said, "No, I can't take this fence." So time three, again! He didn't outright refuse or outright run it out, he was a bit nervous about the style of this particular fence and she could not make him go over it straight. They tried, though and of course she was disqualified and left the arena in defeat. Raz is no jumper, never has been, never will be, he does so many things so well, but this hunter over fences stuff is not his forte by any means. Yet, they tried, and for that, I was proud. Raz also behaved himself so much more quietly at this show than he has any other previous. Eryn had some tears, the emotions of that happening are admittedly hard to deal with. So I rode Raz in the warm up over a practice fence three times; we had hung a jacket and set a haybag down on the jump so as to 'spook-it-up' a little, and he went over the fence the first time with a big pop and then the last times without any fuss. It gave him a little more confidence, but they were also being called in and Eryn suddenly realized she did not know her way for her second trip, and scratched the class. And that was fine. Drama and Magdalene placed first in both their trips, and as a result, won Grand for the division.
Ashlee had brought Sammy to school him on the grounds and in the warm-up arena. She kept a smile on her face, stayed lighthearted, and just had fun. They both need that, and a lot of that. She took him over a practice vertical and did fantastic. I would catch glimpses of Sammy going by as I was doing my thing and he looked so bright and happy, which would make me happy.
I love watching the success that everyone wore today. That's why I love my job. I love the fact that I'm a part of each of these girls as they try, as they work hard, as they achieve, and yes, even along the way, as they sometimes have disappointments. However, I believe you only truly fail if you do one of two things: you give up and don't try again, or you don't learn from your experience. And that was not the case with anybody today.
So girls, if you're reading this, know that I am so proud of you, and so happy to be a part of your life and your journey that both may or may not involve horses. :)