Although I am actually writing this blog a week and a half removed from the actual day it happened (it’s been a busy week and a half!), I am still mourning over the end of my winter showing. It is also possible that I have the shakes, the sweats, and other general symptoms that can only come with withdrawal from a serious addiction. For those of you wondering (there were at least 3), I absolutely plan to continue to blog, about horse shows, horses, things related to horses, and horse things. I’m currently on vacation in Vegas, I’m sure that too could make for some entertaining blog material. As a note, I packed 6 bikinis for 5 days. No one can rival my packing abilities. I thank everyone for reading, and all of your kind words over this fun and adventurous 6 weeks, and as they say on television…. “stay tuned!”
I started day 6 with that extreme bittersweet feeling that can only mean things are coming to an end. On the bright side MY MOST FAVORITE BRAIDER IN THE WORLD was still there braiding DC when I arrived. Braiders have a tough job with all of the pain in the legs/back/neck/fingers and none of the glory. They braid all night just so our horses can look pretty bright and early in the morning. DC’s main braider and I are close friends, though I rarely see her as we are like two ships passing on different schedules. I was so excited to see that she was still there, and we got to spend at least 20 minutes talking in the flesh.
The only downside was that she reported that DC was VERY grumpy and was sleeping with his head in the bucket when she got him out to braid. Sleeping with a head in the bucket might not seem like that big of a deal, unless you know DC. He only sleeps that way when he is so exhausted that he doesn’t feel like holding it up on his own. I think it's kind of genius myself. And grumpy? I think I’ve only seen him grumpy one time in the entire time I’ve had him. He’s so boisterous, outgoing, friendly, and in your pocket all the time.
When she was done braiding I spent some time in his stall feeding him treats and scratching on all of his favorite spots. Although he slowly chewed the treats, he definitely was not his normal happy go lucky self. This was a red flag to me for sure. I whispered to him, only a flat and two jumping and we go home, sadly, he doesn’t speak ‘merica. Grumpy does not a good show horse make.
With that “exciting” piece of knowledge in hand, I tried to make the most of my last show day in Gulfport. I once again walked with the jr/ams for their classic.
|These always makes me giggle|
I had a chai smoothie, I watched as much as I could, and I hung out with DH, who once again was having the time of his life. Oh wait, maybe that was me.
Same as the previous Sunday, my day started with the hack. Also similar to the previous Sunday, there was a small panic as the divisions were running much faster than thought, and I was in a huge rush to get down to the ring. So, instead of a nice relaxed mosey, it was more of a rattled speed walk.
The resulting showing really can be displayed by a simple math equation:
Grumpy horse + Tired horse + flustered rush to the ring != Good flat class.
There was nothing particularly wrong about it, but absolutely nothing particularly right. I didn’t have time to warm him up and get that long and low feeling that equates to hack success, and the results were somewhat as expected. He trotted around in a plain way without suspension, hind end impulsion, and a plain face. We ended up 7th.
When Matt came down for our jumping, I told him we had an irritable horse. His response? “Oh good, because we know how emotional this horse is.” I had actually never thought about it, but he’s right. Once again the yang to Tj’s yin, DC is an open book on how he’s feeling and it absolutely affects his performance in the ring.
We warmed up in a very nice way, and I had hopes that we could put in some nice trips to finish off our show series. I am sad to announce that my hopes were dashed with a horse that just generally was not agreeable. Again, quite simply nothing was going right. He was not listening to me through the corners, not wanting to balance up to the jumps, riding around on the forehand with no response off my leg, and pulling and heavy though the bit.
That description alone is enough to know that the resulting ribbons were not fabulous. Our handy trip was actually not awful, and we were 5th. I don’t want to pain the picture of a sullen horse, because that wasn’t the case. He just simply ran out of DC gas, and as a 7 year old still greenie I honestly can’t blame him.
The day concluded with the 77k grand prix that Matt and Caronline were both doing. Woodhill had a table in the tent, and much fun was had.
|Search and Rescue demonstration|
|Stephen found a jump he can understand|
|Wow, DC has a new career!|
And with that, I said goodbye to Gulfport knowing that I had my worst fear to face, the dreaded bridge in Baton Rouge on our way home.