Sunday, May 6, 2012

Revenge of the Fifth?

Even though everyone told me I probably shouldn't go to the show on Saturday, I did anyway. I was miserable on Thursday after my adjustment, but I was feeling okay on Friday. After the amount of pain I was in on Wednesday and Thursday, though, you probably could have cut off my arm and I would have thought it was less painful than the rib pain.

I kept going back and forth... should I go? Should I not go? So I decided to head out to the barn and prepare as if I was planning to go. If any of those chores were too painful, then I was going to stay home. I packed my trailer, cleaned up my pony, and banded her mane, all with minimal amounts of pain. I actually think all that moving around helped a bit... things felt less stiff.

When I woke up Saturday morning, I was still feeling "good", so I headed out to the barn to get Lilly. Probably the most painful part of the day was hooking up the trailer in the morning, and then unhooking it when I got back. I sure wish I had a hydraulic lift on my trailer... pushing a button is much easier than cranking the handle about 45 times. (Yes, I counted...)

I was really excited about this show. This is one of the show circuits I begged to sign up for PAC and I sent in my membership after they were all approved. I had been looking forward to it for so long! Dislocated rib, shmislocated rib... I'm showing, dammit!

As it turns out, the show was pretty disappointing and I probably could have skipped it. The classes were a lot smaller than I anticipated and Lilly clearly wasn't in the mood to show. I guess I should have asked her before we left.

One of the fun things about this circuit is each show benefits some kind of charitable organization. Yesterday's show was to benefit Helping Horse Therapeutic Riding Program. They sell t-shirts at the show, and if you buy a shirt you can wear it in all your classes and skip getting dressed up. Since it was going to be 90 degrees, I decided showing in a t-shirt sounded like a great idea.

One of the not so fun things about the show, though is that you have to fill out a form for each class you're entering. So my back number, the class number, the class description, my name, my horse's name, my horse's age, my address, my phone number, my email address, sign and date... I signed up for 8 classes, so I had to fill out eight different forms. It took FOREVER to get done with registration. Note to self for next time: fill out those forms ahead of time! I may or may not have grabbed some extras before I left.

They also have three different pattern books that you receive when you send in your membership info. I hadn't received my books yet, so I wasn't able to look at the patterns ahead of time. You don't know if they're using book A, B, or C until the day of the show. Today they used A, so I started studying the showmanship pattern as soon as I left the sign-up table.

When I got back to my trailer, someone had parked super close to me and her horse's butt was about six inches from my horse's butt. Not only that, but her horse was tied really long, so had he wanted to, he could have stood even closer to Lilly. I tried to be polite, but I wanted her to know that she shouldn't have parked her horse trailer so close to mine. Back up some, pull up some, but get your horse away from mine. When I commented about how close her horse was to Lilly, she said, "Oh, don't worry. He doesn't kick." I wanted to tell her that Lilly kicks like hell and she might want to move her horse before Lilly nails him, but I didn't. I just stood there staring at her and she looked down at Lilly's hooves and commented that if they did start kicking that Lilly would get it worse since her horse has hind shoes and Lilly is barefoot.

I ended up moving Lilly to the opposite side of my trailer, got dressed, and headed up to the ring to practice for our showmanship class.

There were five different showmanship classes and we all had the same pattern. Some of the moms and trainers were complaining because they made the pattern super small. The distance between cone A and B was about four trot strides. So if you have a 8 year old showing in novice showmanship, chances are they won't be able to get their horses to trot in such a small space. So the judge made the cones slightly farther apart, but it was still quite squished together.

Looks easy enough...
We entered two of the showmanship classes... one for my age group and the open class. The 19 and over class was our first, but we watched one other class go before us. When it was time for our class, no one wanted to go first so Lilly and I strolled up to cone A. When the judge nodded, we jogged our 5 steps, pivoted our 180 degree turn and started to back through the cones... only Lilly wasn't backing through cones. No way, no how. I think she saw an invisible wall in front of the cones and was NOT backing through. She tried side passing, backing around the outsides of the cones, and just plain not moving.

Ummm, excuse me? Move your ass, mare!

I'm not sure how long it took us, nor do I know how many people were rolling their eyes at me, but we were backing through the cones if it took all day.

And finally we did, but we placed last out of five horses.

The open class was right after the age group class, so I only had time to run her out of the arena and desperately try to get her backing up. Wouldn't you know she backed without complaint or hesitation... we backed straight, we backed a half circle, and then it was time to go back in. When it was time to back through the cones, she said "screw you!" So we took another who-knows-how-many-minutes and backed through the cones again. We managed to place 2nd out of three horses, but only because the third horse backed worse than Lilly.

So I guess I need to practice backing around cones one of these days... that, or pray pattern book A never rears its ugly head again. Okay, so we'll be practicing backing around cones.

So that little performance put me in a cranky mood but we got prepared to ride in our hunt seat classes anyway. I haven't ridden hunt seat since I bought my western saddle, but the little voice in the back of my mind kept saying "it doesn't matter what kind of tack you're riding in... as long as you control the feet!"

We had some time to warm up in the arena and Lilly was doing great! She didn't really want to move out at first, but she did and when we practiced cantering, she felt really good. Our only issue was that she wanted to stay behind the bit. I kept working to get her to stretch out, but she never really got it and I think she was unhappy with the contact I needed for hunt seat.

Our first class was Go As You Please (GAYP) for my age group, which is essentially a walk/trot class. We had some good moments and some not so good moments. She was a bit slower than the other horses but I was overall quite happy with her. My non-hunter pony placed fifth out of five. horses.

That's us... in the pink!
In the GAYP open class, I really tried getting her to move out. The more I asked, the more she got behind the bit. Because it was so hot, and because the classes were so small, or maybe just because the judge was lazy, but we only got to trot about half way around the arena before the announcer asked for a walk. There's only so much I can do in such a short period of time. We didn't place in a class of eight horses.

Bad pony behind the bit...
I decided to show her in two hunter under saddle classes since she was feeling really good at the canter. I thought she did amazingly well in the age group class and felt like we would place well. The judge ended up placing us fifth out of six horses. In the hunter under saddle open class I thought we had an excellent ride. After the class, the judge came over and told me that after the reverse, Lilly gave me an excellent ride. "She looked much better the second time around." I thought the first direction was good, so I'm not sure what the judge saw tha made her comment about the second direction, which would have been to the right... Lilly's bad way. She placed us fourth out of nine horses.

Trying to get her to move out.
After the HUS classes, we had a nice break before western. I ate some lunch and let Lilly enjoy some grass. At some point during her snack, I felt the need to sneeze...

Does anyone know where this is going?

Yeah, when that sneeze came out I wanted to die. The intense pain lasted a few minutes and then I started feeling better, but I was no longer feeling as "good" as I was before the sneeze. I decided not to enter Lilly in the western pleasure classes, so instead we just did the GAYP classes.

Looking ready for western!
After I tacked her up, we had about ten minutes of warm-up in the ring. After all that work getting her to speed things up, she wasn't too keen of slowing things back down. With loose reins, though, she had a wonderful head set. She wasn't fast per se, but she was more forward than I wanted her to be.

In our age group class I thought she did quite well. I rode her with the reins a bit tighter than I normally would, just so I would be able to keep her slower and we placed fifth out of seven horses.

Slow down!
There were nine horses in the open GAYP class and although I thought we had a good ride, I tried loosening the reins a bit and trying to get her to slow down with my seat. It didn't work so well... we didn't even place.

You really can't miss that pink shirt...
The judge did comment on everyone's horses, though... she thanked us for having our horses head's polls no lower than their withers. She said we were the first class of western pleasure horses that actually had an appropriate head set. It's sad that she has to thank us repeatedly for following the rules.

She looks western pleasure-y, no?
All in all, not a bad day, although things could have gone better. Getting out there and showing is the best way to improve, though, so we'll keep chugging along.

Lots of pink ribbons thus far this year...
So getting back to the title... do you get it?? Instead of Revenge of the Sith, it's Revenge of the Fifth...? You know, because I keep winning fifth place ribbons?


Okay, so I'm a few days late with the Star Wars joke, but I couldn't help myself. National Star Wars day is May 4th, for those of you who aren't fans...

Anywho... my ribs kept me up most of the night last night. Every time I changed positions they screamed at me. It's a different pain this time, though, and in a slightly different area. I'm not feeling the spasms as much as I was last week. It's more of a constant, intense pain that seems to be centered more in my back, rather than mostly on the left side. It also hurts to swallow, which I find odd, but I'm looking forward to tomorrow when my chiropractor is open again. I'm also hoping to visit my doctor tomorrow if she has an opening. If nothing else she can prescribe some medication to help manage the pain until I can get rid of whatever this is. I've pretty much drained the medicine cabinet of anything worthwhile.

All riding class pictures are from Facebook... but hey, it's better than nothing! I hope everyone had a great weekend!


  1. It sounds like the show went pretty well, even if Lilly wasn't feeing particularly on. I'm soooo sorry about your rib, though! I really hope your chiropractor and doctor can figure out what's going on and fix it, and soon!

  2. Sounds like a good day overall! And I know you like pink. :) Maybe could set up an obstacle course of cones and back her in and out of them over and over so she gets used to you maneuvering her.

    We had a back a 1/2 circle around the judge in Hunter Showmanship this morning. Thankfully I had gotten to practice that element in a lesson with her so I'd been practicing it a lot. I'll post the pattern this week.

    I hope you get some relief from your rib soon!

  3. Doesn't sound like it was that terrible, and like you said keep showing, it's the best way to get better! And you will!!
    I hope you are feeling better soon!!

  4. Didn't get to post on your last one, but so sorry your having such trouble with your ribs!! Thats gotta be real heck! Def hope you can get some relief and back to normal soon.
    Sorry your show didn't go all that great, heres hoping for next time!
    And on the crazy woman who parked next to you, WHAT THE?! I would have been so peeved!! What a jerk!

  5. Coughing would have been just as bad as sneezing, so watch out for that. Sorry your body is still out of wack :(