The good thing about having lowly, attainable goals is that you achieve them. The bad thing is that achieving said humble goals may not bring satisfaction. I technically attained what I set out to do:
I competed in a Horse Trials. I participated in all 3 aspects of the competition. I didn’t fall off.
Check, check, and check.
Yet, I didn’t come away from the experience feeling especially happy or proud or encouraged. The most positive thing I can say is that it was a “learning experience.” Great.
Okay, here’s the rundown:
Day 0 – Thursday: Trailer ride up, get the lay of the land, and practice ride. – Was going good until my car broke down less than 10 miles from the event. Took 4 hours to get towed, repaired, and back on our way. Thank goodness for amazing barn-mates who took care of my horse for me.
Day 1 – Friday: Dressage. – Good. Pretty good, as a matter of fact. Not great, and not excellent. But solid. My score put me tied for 12th place (out of 15 in my division).
Day 2 – Saturday: XC. – Ah, the fun part. Well, I got over my first 3 fences pretty confidently. 4th fence I felt my horse shy a bit, and I decided to circle. We reapproached and got over it. On the landing I hear a snap and realize my right stirrup leather broke and the iron has fallen off. Great. Well, there’s only two options: keep going, or stop. I kept going. We get over a large log (one we had refused at our schooling) and then we get over a ditch, but by the 3rd jump without a stirrup I lost my balance and my groove. Horse refused, I landed on her neck, clambered back into the saddle, circled to reapproach, refused again. Rinse, repeat. Elimination. Luckily Spirit didn’t seem too upset by the matter.
Day 3 – Stadium Jumping. – The Ground Jury graciously allowed me to go for stadium even though I’d been eliminated. But with the condition that one stop and I’m out. We stopped at the first fence. Ouch. Shame.
Day 3 – Continued: XC schooling – We stayed to school. It went rocky at first – a bunch of refusals, got ran away with for the first time in who knows how long. My trainer sent me on to do my course. And by the 5th or 6th refusal, something clicked. I don’t know what, all I know is that I just started fixing it better. We started getting some clean jump fences in there. By the end of it, we ran our course (jumps 4 through 17) clean and at a good pace.