Clay and I went to the NWDA Cooler by the Lake Recognized Show this past weekend. It is actually two shows in one weekend, but I chose to only ride on one of the days. Juggling a baby while showing is so much extra work, and I am not in great shape yet so I knew I'd be totally exhausted after the first day.
As usual, our local dressage association threw a wonderful show. So much work goes into these shows, and I am so grateful that we have a group of dedicated, organized, hard-working folks who are willing to do what it takes to make them happen. It would be pretty easy to deem our area too rural to deserve to have its own show series, and we'd all be forced to travel 3+ hours to the next nearest show. But because NWDA puts on such nice shows every year, we get good turn-out (some people even travel from as far as Canada for them) and believe it or not the classes with the most entries are usually the higher levels (occasionally I am the lonely Open rider at First Level)! It is so inspiring to see riders and horses from our neck of the woods going out there at 4th, PSG and GP!
I always try to volunteer at each show, usually either with setting up the rings or distributing shavings to all the stalls, but this year I had my hands full and didn't do a darn thing to help. It made me feel guilty but I had too much on my plate already. As it was, Clay's legs weren't clipped and I didn't have time to obsess about his socks being WHITE WHITE WHITE or his braids being perfect, etc. We definitely went into the ring looking less polished than I would have liked. I kept telling myself that it's the ride that matters most. Regardless of our somewhat sloppy appearance, it was a super fun day and memory I will always cherish: Pehr's first horse show!
Talk about a trooper baby! Pehr made the day very enjoyable by being her normal awesome self, plus napping better than she does at home!! My husband and my mom, who I could NOT have pulled this show off without, set up our little truck-top camper so that there was a comfy place to hang out with Pehr out of the sun. My mom has the magic touch–Pehr was completely content hanging out with her the whole day. It was really hard for me to not be with my baby as much as usual, but so nice to know that she was happy and calm with her Grandma and dad.
I nursed her in between my classes and pumped a bottle (in the front seat of my truck...people kept stopping by to say hi... :P) when she was napping. After receiving my first score, I stopped stressing out and realized–I'm doing it! I'm horse-showing with my baby! Not even four months after giving birth!
Clay and I also managed to beat our First Level scores from last year on all three tests. 1-1 received a 69.8% (first place), 1-2 received a 68% (first place) and 1-3 received a 66% (second place), which will earn us a Mastery Award at the end-of-year awards banquet for NWDA. That 66 is a qualifying score for Regionals for First Level. There were some stupid little mistakes, but I am very pleased with those scores, proud of myself and Clay, and have a clear idea of what to work on.
That day was a gift, given to me by my awesome family and friends who support and help me and my awesome pony who goes with the flow and acts like an old pro at shows. Thank you, everyone.