June 21, 2010

rodeo clown

cute in the cross-ties

the barn's annual horse show was this weekend. it was a great turnout -- we had over 100 people come to ride -- but it was a little disappointing otherwise, for most of us. for me: Cookie was very well behaved for the first half of my classes (the walk/trot classes), keeping herself in a pretty frame, steering well, standing (mostly) still while we waited during the breaks. but once we rode in our first canter class, she totally melted down, and I'm still not entirely sure what happened. the first time I asked for the canter, it was as if I had floored it, which was not surprising; she always wants to run and run and run. she picked up the canter incorrectly, "cross-firing," which is what we call it when a horse picks up the lead correctly in the front and incorrectly in the hind end. after that she was very difficult to collect, and each time I cued the canter it was as if a gun was going off. I sincerely could not tell if she was acting up because she was desperate to run, or because she was being naughty, or because she was tired, or because she was sore. after we went bucking down the rail in our equitation class, I hopped off of her to check my saddle and her legs, but nothing seemed particularly out of place. I had one more class to ride, and I hoped to end on a decent note. she had enough time to cool down beforehand, so the first part of the class went okay -- she managed to keep the walk (rather than bursting again and again into trot) and even picked up her canter without too much explosiveness. but in the reverse direction, I again went bucking down the rail. I heard the spectators in the bleachers gasp.

we won two ribbons in our halter classes -- a very exciting first place finish in the mare class (against a large number of horses), and a third place in the saddle type class. but no ribbons in the riding classes. it was no surprise during our meltdown classes, but I felt sincerely that I could not have ridden better in our first five or six classes, which was simultaneously frustrating and comforting. later on I found out that many competitors at the show were complaining about the inconsistency of the judge, and several people at different points throughout the day came up to compliment us on our riding; one person told me, "we thought you were going to win the class, and then you didn't even place!" the ribbons were not what I was there for (mostly), but given that my mare had such a breakdown, it would have been nice to have already walked away with a little something.

it was a typically exhausting horse show day -- I awoke at 5 to arrive at the show barn by 6, where I lunged and then rode Cookie in the arena prior to the main crowd's arrival; then I rode for five hours, untacked, repacked my car, and spent the rest of the afternoon watching the western classes. our kids didn't do as well as they usually do; the judge didn't seem to like any of us.

that mare sure is cute, though.

carousel horse

pay no attention to my chair seat. I could seriously use a saddle that fits us both better. I can't get my legs any farther underneath me in that thing.

now it is june 21. I have 19 days to find a new place to live. there's nothing more to say about my mental state than that.

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