Today’s caveat is to state that these blogs are running a few days behind. With all of the travel, work, and riding all going on at once I’m just a little late in posting them.
Also, I added a facebook page to my blog! So go like me already!
Gulfport Day 1 may go down as one of my longest horse show days ever. Considering how long I’ve been doing this, and how long the days can go, that is quite an impressive feat.
I started my day with a 6:30 am flight. 6:30 am for a flight means a 5:30 am arrival time at the airport, which in turn means a 5 am departure from my house. I had to get up early. Very early. Usually I do not need or use an alarm, Iwake up naturally before it would ever goes off. Since I was working well into the night the evening before, I went to bed way past my bed time. I was full on in snoozeville when that alarm did go off, interrupting some awesome dream about me winning in indoors or other such unachievable accomplishment.
My 3’3 A/O division wasn’t scheduled to start until Saturday, but since Matt knew I would be riding with a boogeyman on my back (WMD PTSD), he suggested I do the 3’3 non pro classes on Friday. Essentially it is ticketed warm up run as red/blue hunters.
This means I head to land from the airport, rush to get my rental car, wolf down an entire Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich whole, and get on my horse. I am not exaggerating when I say I pulled up to the horse show only to hear “4 rounds left of the 3’3 no pros until we move on to the 2’9 section.” Crap.
Thankfully, in one of my more brilliant moves, I traveled in my breeches.
Though I did get several stares in the various airports, the guy at the rental car takes the cake as he asked me “you must be mighty cold to pull your socks up over your pants like that.” Yes because someone being cold equates high socks over pants?
I jumped on DC (almost literally) and took my long hike down to the hunter rings. Given that I showed in Gulfport last year, I was feeling very confident in my ability to find my way around, and did not even get lost a single time.
Gulfport is laid out in a very long and skinny way. At the top of the facility by the road is the grand prix jumper field which is flanked by the grand prix jumper field warm up ring, and several other sand rings which act as both hunter and jumper rings at any given time.
The main hunter rings are at the very bottom of the facility at what feels like a mile away from the grand prix field. Woodhill is stabled at the top of the tents, nearest to the Grand Prix field. The location is great for those numerous jumper riders in my barn, but for me it’s another horse show where I have to hoof it to the ring for my hunter trips. <side note> heh hoof it, heh </side note>
In the warm up ring, DC felt fantastic really very awesome. However with WMD fresh on my mind, I approached the show ring with pause and a bit of anxiety. As it turns out I was fretting for naught, as it seemed I had my reliable, adorable gray horse back in full action. We certainly weren’t perfect (mostly because of the aforementioned fretting), but walked away with a red ribbon in my first trip.
The Gulfport main hunter rides on a hill sloping away from the in gate. Mentally I find this challenging, as typically a horse rides more forward coming home (towards the gate) and more easy going away (from the gate). The hill somewhat negates my normal ride, and I have to push towards the gate, and be careful not to over cover going away. None the less, it was a decent couple of rounds, and I gained at least an iota of my confidence back.
After I rode, it was time to watch the 25k Grand Prix in the grand prix field. Both Matt and another barn mate of mine were riding in it. Though it walked like a fairly straightforward course, with many riders saying it was a simple set up, the course designer had other things in mind. It turned out to be highly technical, with only 3 riders going clean to make the jump off. Matt was the fastest 4 faulter, and came in 4th, which is awesome.
Since we had some down time between the Grand Prix and the exhibitor party, CWD had an impromptu Woodhill party.
|Woodhill koozie that's right.|
I have to say, there are some serious hula hoopers amongst the Woodhill crowd. They are a talented group of hysterical people.
One of the best things about the Gulfport shows is how they treat their exhibitors. They go to every effort to be above and beyond other shows, offering great exhibitor parties, pizza at the rings on Saturdays, and in general a fun show for everyone. The exhibitor party for this week was the annual crawfish boil. The county Fire Department gets together and boils about 8 million pounds of crawfish, and serves a HUGE buffet of all kinds of food. Between that, the bar, and the band, it’s a good time.
Per usual, Woodhill had a great turnout. I think the other barns must be intimidated by our amazing dancing skillzzzzzz. Nothing says awesome like dancing in day old show clothes, in a storm shelter, in Mississippi.
|It's like a bad boy band, in riding clothes|
I finally headed back to the hotel and crawled in bed much later than what was probably a good idea, but hey it was worth it.