Clay and I are headed to our first show of the season this evening. We'll be attempting to beat our 1-3 score from last year and debuting Second Level...and apparently we'll be doing so in high heat, humidity, and possibly thunder storms. Goody!
I'm a little concerned because we haven't had any hot weather yet this summer, so Clay actually isn't fully shed out yet and hasn't had the chance to acclimate to working in heat. I'm giving him some electrolytes today in his feed, and bringing a fan, but the stalls at this particular show are small and stuffy, and my little northern-climate horse tends to wilt in the sun. Praying for a cool breeze and enough gas in his tank to get through 2-1 with an respectable amount of energy. Luckily, he's pretty good at sweating.
We've been training through all of Second Level for a long time now, but I still feel a little unprepared to show at this level due to my inconsistent riding schedule over the past year and my infrequent lessons with trainers. We have some rides where it all feels easy, and other rides where even just a smooth, obedient transition while staying on the outside rein is a battle. I know it's related to how much tension I'm riding with (DON'T TENSE UP YOUR LEGS, TONIA!) Clay always demands my best, or else. It makes me a better rider, and also sometimes a frustrated one ("You know what I want–even though I'm asking for it poorly–just do it!!!!")
I ran through our tests last night briefly (I try to keep our rides before a show pretty light), and there were some, um, interesting moments of embellishment on Clay's part...
Me: At C, halt and back-up three steps.
And a couple times I blanked on what the next movement was, even though I've had it memorized for weeks...
I'd really like to ride these tests from memory, because my friends at the show have *so* many people to read for already and I hate asking them to add me to their list at the last minute. I didn't even try to memorize them last summer because Baby Brain was full-on destroying all my brain cells at the time. I feel a little more with-it this year, at least.
So, here we go! Plunging into the 2017 show season for better or worse! I have no idea how we'll score and no clear perspective on whether or not we've progressed a whole lot in the last year, with limited rides and lessons, but I do know that I will have fun on my handsome golden pony who always tries his best for me, as long as I ask the way he likes. ;)