We drove home through some of the worst rain and lightning I've ever seen, the storm dumped almost 3 inches of rain on the showgrounds but the facility owner really put a lot of thought and effort into the outdoors so each ring only had a small spot holding water the next morning. Unfortunately the ground was too slick to run the hunter pace so that was cancelled. Better safe then sorry.
I have terrible show nerves (nausea and tingly feelings) and combined with a crisp breeze and a rather fresh Annie our warm up morning of started off rough. We got it under control and when we marched slightly crookedly into the dressage arena we put off our best test to date, good enough for 4th place. We really lacked a free walk but since this has just been developing at home I wasn't expecting much. What we did have was a prompt left and right lead canter transition and we held the canter the entire way around. A huge difference from shows past was I was able to look at the 20m circle figure and ride it as "points" counting the number of steps in each quadrant of the circle to make it rounder and more accurate. GO ME!
Moving on to show jumping my butterflies were more like Olympic level trampoline gymnasts and Annie steaming around the grass warm up like her tail was on fire didn't help. I had to draw deep and rely on my own internal coaching monologue. "jump the damn crossrail" "now jump it again and try to look up"
I even, bless my heart, jumped the oxer. There's something about that lonely oxer in warm up that makes me spazz out, but this time I had enough confidence in me and in Annie to jump it. TWICE.
Trotting into the stadium ring my plans to confidently canter most of the course went out the window as Annie Arab Snorted her way around spooking at various things. We squiggled our way over fence 1 but I was discombobulated and Annie almost ground to a halt over fence two.
One of my issues is that if I think my horse is going to jump big I sit back and don't do anything so I don't make them jump bigger (why yes, I am aware of the faulty logic). So I was sitting like a lump on approach to fence 3. Which she stopped at her first time over in a lesson. So I should have known better. Eventually (I'm a slow learner apparently) I realized that my good ol right rein was flapping in the breeze.
I circled back chanted "right rein legs right rein legs right rein legs" No really, I actually did. Out loud. And poof we jumped it. The rest of the course rode well and I cantered down one of the more difficult bending lines with ease. The correct tract for the last fence was under water and I had discussed my options while walking. I could try and go through it, or I could go around it and come in at an angle. By then I was good and mad at myself and I had finally gotten my stadium legs on so I decided that we were going through the water. Damn it. So we did. So there.
Reflecting back I still need to ride more confidently on course and I need to work on getting and keeping Annie's attention when she's looky. My instructor suggested that I not stand around waiting to go in letting her get lazy and sleepy and instead school some dresage while waiting in the cue. So I'll try that next time. I also need to fumigate my show nerves.
Here's a video of our dressage test