Yeah, yeah … I get it. Have more confidence. Grow a set. Man up, girl!
I gave myself a little pep talk, but my expectations, while ever hopeful, were still pretty low. I saddled Speedy G and walked over to the warm-up ring a little earlier than necessary. The instant Speedy's little prima donna hoof hit the dirt, he humped his back and gave some pretty threatening crow hops. I immediately turned around and left the warm-up. Nothing was going to be accomplished by fighting with him.
I know this dude really well. He wasn't ready to get to work. I dropped the reins and started circling the show grounds. Golden Hills Farm is a pretty big place; I heard more than 90 acres. I figured we could just do some exploring. Gradually, Speedy's back let go and his stride lengthened. He motored wherever I put his nose and seemed much happier to just march around.
With fifteen minutes to go before our RAAC class, I went back to the warm-up. His head shot up, his back hollowed, and he set himself against my hand. I sent him into a hand gallop and did several pretty hard halts to tell him that he needed to listen to my half halts. We galloped for most of my warm-up, tracking right and left, until I felt that he was starting to listen.
With five minutes to go, I walked over to the ring and dropped my reins. Within thirty seconds, Speedy let go of his breath, and I knew I had my horse back. I even patted his neck and welcomed him to the party. At that moment, I didn't care how we placed. I was just grateful to have my tried and true partner back, and at the very least, I knew we'd get one of our regular, mid 60% scores. That was fine by me.
The one thing that I can see that the judge probably rewarded us for was how completely steady and pleasant Speedy rode. He looked like a horse that I would want to ride. He just motored right around with a very good-natured expression on his face. And, it was a harmonious ride. At our final halt and salute, I felt like it was a pretty solid test, but not a winning ride. Boy, was I wrong.
Before I share the score sheet and final score, I should point out that Judge Creeky Routson is an (S) judge, which means that she can judge all levels, even the FEI tests as long as she does it here in the USA. Her credentials are impeccable, so who I am to say that she doesn't know exactly what she's seeing. I am a bit afraid to add up the scores myself for fear that I'll find a huge error. So with that, here's what Creeky Routson (S) thought of our ride.
But like I said yesterday: I'm over it. The euphoria has vanished although in truth, it never really enveloped me as I was stunned at the score and never really owned it as mine. It was more of a freakish anomaly than anything else. In place of the pseudo-giddiness is the same old nagging feeling of self-doubt settling itself comfortably back in place.
There was one other test, and since it has a bit of a story, I'll share that tomorrow. I also have a long list of items that are food for thought, mostly for me, but you might find one or two of them worth chewing on. Or maybe, you'll have something to add. So for now, I'm trying to figure out what to do with that lovely cooler since I already have one from winning the Introductory Level Novice RAAC class back in 2012. Oh, what a problem ...