Monday, February 10, 2014

WEF Day 9 - Show Day 4 (DC Redeemed)

Need I say more????

Oh ok, who are we kidding, I have a lot more to say than that.

I have to say that this is another caveat dedicated to my Afghanistan reader.  Really, a rider deployed in the army is just about the most badass thing I can think of, and all my notions of grandeur came true!

My show day 4 started off as one that I thought was once again not going to go down in the records for the best day ever.  I was intending to arrive at the barn at 6:45 to get in the ring by 7 and have a nice hack.  It was a VERY foggy morning, with visibility probably down to half a mile at most.  About 10 minutes into my drive there was a police officer in a car blocking the road, with really no explanation as to why, just basically you cannot go this way.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m typically running 5-10 minutes late anyway, so this was not a good turn of events.  

I call Matt in a small panic, as I am pretty sure I’ll be late enough to not get in the ring, he dutifully ignores me.  Actually I can’t really say he was ignoring me, as he did text me and say “It’s fine, just do him when you get here.”  In other words, “calm yo self fool.”  

One of the things that WEF loves to do is move divisions around at the last minute.  I imagine they count the trips in each ring and then move classes around to make the rings run more timely and evenly.  It’s great for efficiency, not so great for avoiding last minute panic on my part.  I checked the schedule on my (very late) way to the barn, and saw that I had been moved from the Rost arena, to Ring 8.  This wasn’t even a ‘night before’ move, but a ‘day of’ move.  Note to self, always always always check the schedule before getting to the show, you never know what kind of trick they’ll have up their sleeves.  

When I finally made it to the barn, we started with our normal epic walk to the horse show, and then hack in our show ring (and made it in time!!).  DC was on his best behavior, which immediately made me wary.  

Ring 8 is located directly across from some of the horse show tents.  It is amazing to me how these barns turn tents into permanent 3 month homes.  They hang false fronts on the stalls to make them look like barns, create beautiful walking paths for the horses, rest areas for the humans, and landscape them to the max.  On my way back to the barn after our hack, I snapped a few pictures.

Yes, those are tent stalls.

As I didn’t show until later in the afternoon, I took this opportunity to A. eat one of those infamous crepes and B. finally do some shopping.  I was specifically looking for a black soft shell coat.  I tried on various brands of soft shells all over the show grounds.  I felt like goldilocks, this one was too big, this one was too short, this one didn’t fit quite right.   The last shop I finally visited, I found the PERFECT coat (and by perfect I mean it will be perfect after I take it to a tailor and have piping added around the collar), and it was on sale!  I SAVED money I tell you, SAVED.

While shopping I snapped some photos of some really unique boots that are so freaking cool looking.

Not exactly for hunter riders, but cool none the less.

When it was time to get on, I headed back to the barn, only to find this cute face poking out of his stall window.  At that moment I almost forgave him for Day 8.  Almost.

If I were to be completely honest, I was not approaching Day 9 showing with the best of attitudes.  I wish I could say differently, and that I’m a bigger person than this, but I can’t and I wasn’t.  I was still chagrined from my pony temper tantrum in the middle of my flat class, and puzzled by my horse’s sudden playfulness in the ring.  But alas, that was the day before, and I was here to show.

Upon meeting Matt in the warm up ring, I tried to regain my confidence and composure, but again it wasn’t happening.  After my third not-so-great jump, Matt yelled something along the lines of “COME ON ANNA WHAT IS GOING ON UP THERE, ARE YOU HERE TO RIDE OR NOT, MAKE A COMMITMENT AND MAKE IT HAPPEN.”  Matt really only yells when he’s disappointed in how much you’re trying.  He never gets upset about how you’re riding if he thinks you’re trying your best, so I knew it was time to turn that frown upside down (or face more yelling).  I cantered a few more (much better) jumps and headed into the ring.  

The jumps in Ring 8 were honestly much less intimidating than Grand Hunter.  It was less astroworld and more your typical flowers, box, gate, pole set up.  If you’re not a jumping rider it’s hard to explain the difference, but cantering up to a solid wall that is the full height of your jump is much different than cantering up to a small box with a gate and a few poles on top to make it 3’3.  

My first course started with a single off the left lead (really nice) followed by an inside line in 6 strides (really good, but a bit close coming out, we were really covering ground).  Next was a 6 stride line coming home off the left lead, (also somewhat close coming out), followed by a single oxer on the left lead (pretty good but a smidge long and on the end of his step). Around the end his stride got a little away from me, and he took a hard look at something on the outside of the ring as we cantered along.  We came down to a two stride in and out on the right lead with just a bit too much canter, going a smidge past the distance.  During our courtesy circle, my barn mates went crazy yelling and clapping for me, which I very much appreciated, but alas so did DC.  A celebratory hoppity hoppity ensued, but nothing terrible, DC’s version of OMG I WAS SO GOOD!

My second course started with a single off the right lead (lovely) followed by a single oxer on the left lead (also nice).  Around the end this time he just flowed, but still had a bit of the same problem to the two stride going a little past where I wanted to be.  The course finished with the two six stride lines which really we just nailed both of them beautifully.  No cheering and clapping until after we were walking this time, but I came out of the ring with a HUGE smile on my face.  

I was just really happy with how both courses rode, and although not perfect they were both honestly very good.  

Suzanne videoed my first course, but alas her phone ran out of space before my second one.  The second one was honestly better, with more room on the outs of the lines and a better jumping horse, but this will give you an idea.

We were fairly early in the class, so I had the opportunity to watch most of the rest of my division go.  Really nice horses and really nice rides is the sum of what I saw.  In essence it was a very competitive division.  One of my fellow riders commented that it was a tougher division than the juniors which she recently aged out of.  I find that hard to believe, but nice to know I’m riding with the best!  

When the jog order was called, I jogged second in both classes.  Honestly, I was very surprised, and honored to be called in that place. I wasn’t perfect, but I was pretty darned good.  In our first jog a bunch of people kissed to DC to get him to jog, at that moment I could feel his glee in getting to trot in hand (one of his favorite things in the world).  On the second jog, I asked that no one kiss to him when I start…..the response from the paddock master was “why?”  He then proceeded to cluck, at which time I felt immediately like I was flying a DC kite at the end of my reins.  He squealed, bucked and played LIKE THIS WAS THE BEST JOG OF HIS LIFE.  Oh to find so much joy in such little things.  At very least I know he enjoys his job.

Of course I tortured him when I got back to the barn with modeling his ribbons.

Yes, I am a 7 year old in an A/O body, what can I say.

To top the day off, the $370,000 world cup qualifier was running that evening, and Suzanne, Vanessa and I attended together.  I was celebrating (drinking) my most awesome red ribbons, and it was cool to watch the best of the best ride.  The jump off was unbelievable, with all of the riders really going for broke, and the standing room only crowd all yelling for their riders.  It was a crazy atmosphere complete with fire jugglers and a live band.

After the class I walked back to the barn to get my truck, and fed this much redeemed monster a few well deserved peppermints.  My minion status having been rightfully re-instated.


  1. WOOHOOO!! Congratulations Anna -- your round was lovely and DC is such a fancy jumper!

    1. Thanks! That wasn't his best form but he was so good!

  2. good for you Anna, really enjoying reading your blog

  3. That was a really lovely round and DC looked so relaxed while he was hunting the jumps.

  4. Wahoo - Wonderful result Anna - DC looks very fancy! Not so sure about those boots though... does anyone actually wear those (at ANY time) with the pink on the top...?!!!

  5. Very cool! Congrats! And I'm sure DC was happy to see his minion return. ;)