It rained, and it rained, and it rained, and then everyone went home.
And so we came to our next show cancellation of 2015 with Hurricane Railside. The weekend started fine with a little hack division here, some Hunter Development there, and oh, Riley had come along for the ride on Saturday for a little schooling.
As we neared the end of day 1, I was getting Gracie warmed up again for the OnCourse Medix Hunter Derby. For some reason I was really struggling with her in the warm up ring that afternoon. Let me tell you something about me and warm up rings. Never have I ever had a traumatizing, life altering experience in a warm up ring at a horse show; in fact, it’s impossible for me to since I would rather circle 20 times before going to a jump if anyone is within 20 miles of the arena or the jump itself. Jokes aside, I hate warm up rings and always will. I wouldn’t go as far to say I have nervous break downs when I have to navigate over jumps in a crowded arena, but my nerves majorly affect my confidence and then all of a sudden I have let myself get into my head. My head is the worst place I can be before I go into the ring, and my coach knows that. My coach is experienced in dealing with and breaking through all kinds of show related nerves, and I’m sure she has classified my type as it’s own, and what she can do to help me with it. Sometimes it’s not a quick fix, and I can never thank her enough for her patience and everything she has done for me this year. This show in particular, it hit me hard. Gracie was wonderful that morning in the same ring for Jen, but for whatever reason I had convinced myself that we were going to go in there for our Derby trip and crash around the course. Gracie was probably a little up due to that fact of the threatening clouds circling in above us for later’s events. So Coach simply removed my beloved spurs and sent me into the Derby assuring me my horse knows how to lift her legs up and is smart enough to get us out of trouble, whilst ignoring my reasons why this was going to go very very badly. And in I went.
Watching this video now, and knowing all of my emotions that day, all I can think is how ungrateful I can be sometimes. Here is an already sensitive horse who has a nervous ball of nerves on her back, and yet before every jump you can see her ears perk and her body say “lets go!”. Anyone can see that she clearly loves her job. We had some iffy jumps in this course, but it was our first derby class where we got all of our leads, and we still came out with a reasonable score of 74 after all of that drama.
The other person I would like to give mention is “The Railside Mom”. This woman is part of the OnCourse Medix team present at every show, and is also the very proud mother of a young girl who rides many horses at the shows. This being our barn’s first season on this new zone, it didn’t take me long to recognize this woman as the zone cheerleader. I am convinced that whilst working she seeks out any nervous or seemingly upset rider, and dedicates herself to being there on the sidelines to force feed them words of encouragement and compliments. She obviously sniffed me out in the warm up ring, because she was there on our walk to the ring, at the ingate, and was the one SCREAMING at the end of our course in the video. As soon as I heard her and saw her face that was truly excited for me, a rider from a different barn that was competing against her own daughter, I couldn’t help but burst into a smile.
The skies were basically black when I ended my trip, and before I could get Gracie back to the stalls, it was pouring. They managed to finish the first round of the derby, but the hack class for the Adult Amateurs, the Trillium Hunters, and the 2nd round call backs for the derby were all cancelled as people rushed their horses onto the trailers and took shelter from the storm. Back in the barn, the wind and rain was so bad that we soon lost power, and everyone available had brooms and shovels and were desperately trying to keep the rain from flash flooding the barn. For what seemed like hours, the storm raged on until it finally died down enough for them to go check on the rings. Upon seeing the rings an instant decision was made for the rest of the show weekend; tomorrow was cancelled without a make up day. The rings were competently under water, in some areas they swore you could go swimming, and to top it off most of the jumps were destroyed. When it was safe, we loaded up the horses and headed home, meaning Gracie and Riley would miss another modified adult show this season.