My Sunday ride times were similar to Saturday’s (although blessedly both AFTER lunch), so the morning was pretty laid back. I got to spend time with T (and Bob, who is THE CUTEST), and ended up both hand walking and lunging Ruby just in case she had pent-up energy from being stalled for the second straight day (she’s usually outside about 16-18 hours every day). She was pretty chill on the lunge line, but I’m still glad I got to give her a chance to stretch her legs.
|The lunging arena was quite nice! We had it to ourselves, but it was definitely big enough for more than one horse. |
Saturday most of the rides from our barn had been pretty spaced out, allowing TrainerB to coach me through warm up for both rides, but Sunday we had more rides crammed together in the middle of the day in both the indoor and outdoor arenas, which meant she was there for the beginning of my warm up, but then had to leave to go coach one of the riders in the indoor. Things felt fine while she was there, but then once she left my lizard brain sort of shut down and panicked, and I set Ruby off into a tension spiral. Looking back on it is so dumb, because god knows 95% of the shows I’ve gone to alone, so it’s actually the opportunity to HAVE someone coaching me in warm up is still new, but apparently my brain wanted to use it as a crutch and then once she left I just… tensed up and made poor decisions.
|Before I got on|
T and several of the barn ladies tried to talk me down off the ledge and help me calm down but I was pretty much a wreck. For literally zero apparent reason, sigh. When I rode by to give the scribe my number, the judge yelled out the window of the truck "nice coat!" and I had a brief minute of wishing I'd been brave enough to wear the teal boots too (which were in the trailer incidentally, but I did not, sob). The first test went.... very poorly. And unlike when the test went so poorly at the schooling show last fall and I was able to laugh it off, I got sucked into an emotional vortex of feeling like a) I was letting everyone down, particularly my horse and b) like I had wasted huge amounts of money to come make an idiot out of myself. In retrospect, none of those things even make sense, because my horse literally gives no shits about numbers written on a piece of paper (although she gave lots of shits about me riding like a monkey haha), and it's not like I haven't spent plenty of money on dumber things, but I just.... dunno. Flailed. It was bad.
|When I asked for the canter... sigh. |
I didn't have a ton of time between my tests so I just went back to the warm up ring and schooled, and at some point I think TrainerB made it back down and helped sort of unlock my stupid brain and I started riding a little better.... not like what we're capable of in lessons, but at least it was better than the first test. I was able to go in for our last test and actually make some better decisions. Between the lunging in the morning and then a longer than usual warm-up before the last test, Ruby was tired, and she broke a few times at the canter when I didn't keep my legs on enough, so that cost us points, but in most other respects I was pretty happy with the test. She did the best she could for the ride she was getting, and we actually did get the highest of our scores all weekend on that test (which isn't saying much, it was a 58 and change).
|Ruby got so many cookies and snuggles from barnmate's kiddos. |
|Uninterested in posing with all of our participation ribbons lol. |
|Completely lost my stirrup in the canter depart and wasn't able to get it back for 85% of the canter this direction but we made it work. |
|If nothing else, we had a lot of square halts this weekend!|
|In warm-up with TrainerB before the first test, before I completely lost my brain. |
|DH somehow managed to switch the camera settings to what I use indoors and 3/4 of the photos were completely blown out. This was my attempt at salvaging a few, sigh. |
|We both look like ghosts, lol. |
|Support crew! |
|T is a better friend to me than I deserve because I was an absolute basket case all weekend. |
After everyone left (T had to get back on the road, my mom had somewhere to be, and DH had brought my MIL along and they wanted to get back), I got Ruby settled back in her stall and went to pick up my tests. I was still emotionally sort of wrecked from just.... a lot of stuff, and the comments at the end of my first test sort of pushed me past the breaking point and I ended up slinking off to my horse trailer to have a good cry. I still think the judge could have written her comments in a more productive way, but the implication was that I wasn't good enough to ride my own horse and that I was hindering her abilities.... which, is definitely not wrong, but for fuck's sake it was a MAIDEN RIDER class so you'd think the judge could have been just a smidge more tactful about it. She did note on the second test that we showed some improvements, but in my emotional spiral I just kept replaying the negative comments in my brain. I tried to pull it together before I went back to pack up my stuff, but clearly everyone could tell I was a wreck, and of course them being nice about it just made me more of a wreck. TrainerB was so very kind, although I'm sure she had way better things to do than babysit her newest AA client having an emotional breakdown for no reason.... at least I warned her beforehand that "horse show Leah" is an entirely different brand of neurotic than normal "lesson Leah", sigh. She sent me some encouraging texts that did really help me once I calmed down a bit.
At any rate, I got all packed up and headed home at a reasonable time, offloaded all my stuff into the tack shed, and let Ruby have some well deserved time out in the pasture (wearing her muzzle of course). I've got videos of some of the tests for a post next week, some more thoughts now that I've had more time to reflect without being so emotional, and then I also wrote up a huge cost breakdown post because going into this some of the stress was the unknown factor of how much I was going to end up spending!
I'm glad you're feeling better! That was so raw in the moment and the first couple outs are just hard. Hang in there. <3ReplyDelete
Hopefully we'll be better prepared next time!Delete
You went out there and did the thing!!ReplyDelete
The show nerves will settle with more time, I promise you <3
You and Ruby look fucking amazing - you got some really fantastic moments in the ring and that is what it's all about.
As for this "tried to pull it together before I went back to pack up my stuff, but clearly everyone could tell I was a wreck, and of course them being nice about it just made me more of a wreck.", I have never related to anything so much lol. I remember a show I went to where I got rung out by the judge for the horse being "really lame" wherein he was actually just an old schoolie who was stiff. But she refused to let me continue riding and I was SO EMBARRASSED because his owner was watching and I felt like I didn't warm him up enough, didn't stretch him out enough, didn't prepare him enough.
I absolutely SOBBED in FULL force in front of everyone.
And then when they all tried to cheer me up I felt EVEN WORSE because I was CRYING in front of EVERYONE.
Omg right? I think everyone would have tactfully ignored my very red eyes except the barnmates kiddos (because kids have zero filter lol) were like "ARE YOU CRYING? WHY ARE YOU CRYING?" and then I lost it again haha. In retrospect so ridiculous but emotions are emotions 🤦♀️🤦♀️Delete
I'm so sorry about your experience, but it is comforting to not be alone in this ♥️ thank you!
I don't even read the comments or look at the individual scores on my tests until I've been home and unpacked and zenned out for awhile. Nothing like the horse show atmosphere to heighten the crazy already swirling around in my head 😂ReplyDelete
You should be immensely proud of yourself for continuing to get on and get in the ring to do the thing, even if things weren't going great. That takes a lot of mental strength to keep pushing, and the more you keep getting out there and doing it the easier it's going to get!
One of the lovely ladies I showed with was messaging me that evening and she said the trainer has intercepted and thrown away her tests before and I was like yeahhhhh she's probably gonna wish she'd gotten to mine because those comments are gonna play on repeat in my brain FOREVER" 😂. I really like your method of not reading them until later 🤔 might have to do that! Or let someone else read them and give me anything immediately constructive (if I have more tests coming up) and none of the bad things haha.Delete
Very well done pulling yourself together for the second test and having a much better ride! But ugghhh sorry that the weekend ended with those not productive comments. I don't honestly know what some judges are thinking when they say things, almost like the way the internet removes the humanity from words, sitting in the judges box occasionally does the same???ReplyDelete
I ended up having video for most of the tests and once I took the emotion out of it I can agree that nothing either judge said was wrong, I just feel like it could have been framed more positively 😬 there are definitely times in my life where comments like that would have sent me home with my tail tucked between my legs and I would have just quit showing.Delete
One of the hardest things about horse showing for me is that *showing* is in itself a skill you need to practice, but then you only get to practice it under these high pressure situations where you've spent money and you're in public and and and.ReplyDelete
There are so many little triggers that stack up throughout the day - everything from stubbing a toe to having to wait extra in warmup to just not being sure if you half half is working or if you're untraining your horse - and then you get to add these BIG TRIGGERS like shitty judges' comments on top of them and just blammo - suddenly I'm crying uncontrollably and anyone being nice to me just makes me so harder. Writing it out I really think I should have been more sympathetic to poor Murray for all those melt downs.
So I can really identify with some of your feelings here.
But I'm really glad you've got a supportive team and will have the opportunity to get out and do this more and practice those horse show skills! And prove that judge wrong.
Trigger stacking is the phrase I was looking for but couldn't quite come up with when I was forcing myself to write this out. And allllll those little triggers just sounded so utterly ridiculous I couldn't even make myself list them out but at the time they were definitely all adding to my stress levels - and I'm already a naturally neurotic and anxious perfectionist. So by the end of the weekend I was just completely at the end of my rope, where a normal person would have been completely fine 😂ReplyDelete
But you're absolutely right, showing is a skillset and since I haven't done it regularly in like....7 years? It's just going to take time to get more accustomed to it. And the stakes are higher at these shows than the smaller/local schooling shows I used to do.
It's just hard for me to give myself the same grace I give to other people - another thing I need to work on 🤪
I have definitely been in your shoes. It’s hard. Of course you know that you don’t suck. But it hurts to hear that someone isn’t kind.ReplyDelete
There are definitely days that I don't know I don't suck 🙈 enough double negatives? But I'm working on being kinder to myself ♥️Delete
Just remember the judge is judging you on a moment in time. That's it. All they know about you is the 5 minutes of a test. Was what they wrote true at that moment in the test? Maybe, sure. Is it true 99% of the other times you ride your horse? Probably not.ReplyDelete
Yes, I understand how judging works... I never said any of the comments were wrong 🤷♀️Delete
You went and did the thing! That's a huge deal in my opinion - I'm so nervous when I'm watching OTHER people show so I can't imagine how much of a wreck I would be. I'm proud of both of you and putting both of yourselves out there.ReplyDelete
I definitely had a huge mental block about the whole thing so it's a bit of a relief to be through the first one 😂 and as one of my friends tried to cheer me up by saying "the scores can only go up from here, right?" 🤞Delete
I'm sorry things went entirely not the way you had hoped. But I'm really proud of you for getting out there and doing the thing. And then doing it again, even though it was hard. Comments like that from the judge should be reported. Seriously. No judge should ever discourage a rider. Not ever. And especially not in a maiden rider class! I'm sorry you got that inappropriate feedback.ReplyDelete
It is what it is I guess - I actually got way worse feedback from a an L judge in a training level class once with Topaz 😂 some people just can't actually frame constructive criticism....constructively?Delete