|I was going to put a photo of us biking here, but Annie is cute, so....|
Regardless, we were there and I had signed up for the jumping, so jumping is what we were going to do. We weren't doing anything crazy - just the 18" and 2' courses, but Annie is still quite green to the jump ring and although Anthony helps us make it look easy, there is still a lot of knowledge that we both need to navigate our way around. I mean, it's not to say we aren't completely inept, because you can only do so much with an 18" jump, but the logistics of creating a horse that can jump safely, and a rider who can keep their head screwed on the right way takes time and patience.
Right away, I could feel that Annie was behind the leg and because I don't jump with spurs, I had a hard time getting her amped up and going forwards. After each pop over the practice fences, she casually motored down to a lethargic trot and after several pony club kicks to the ribs, she would moderately speed up.
I started to get nervous as time went on, letting my brain run away with images of us crashing and burning in the jump ring, and abandoned warming up until I noticed Trainer K was giving pointers to a few of the competitors. I wandered over and popped over a few x-rails as she gave me some clear direction (which were like... obvious things I knew I needed to do, but then again my brain and body were just not clearly computing to one another). I felt a bit better after getting some instruction, thanked Trainer K for her time, and parked myself at the rail while Show Buddy helped me and her younger brother learn our courses.
|I didn't realize I didn't button up my show shirt so it looks terrible but oh well.|
It was a good round from what I remember - we had a little trouble with our turns with Annie bulging to the outside and had a bunch of wrong leads, but her cadence was there and she bopped around the course quite easily. We placed 4th out of 6 riders.
|Look at those happy ears <3|
Our last class in the 18" division I pushed a bit more, insisting she go through the course a little more eloquently and professionally. She did as I asked, and although we still had some minor blips, it was a pretty decent round and good enough for 1st place out of 6. I was ecstatic, and gave her a few good hearty pats for her efforts.
|I dig how artsy this photo is.|
Moving on into our 2' classes, I was a bit nervous, but had a feeling that Annie would just do the thing. She seemed level-headed and cool, so we just went with it (I'm probably more nervous to jump sticks than anything, haha). And wouldn't you know, it was probably our best class of the day. She felt good, and again we had a minor blip with her one lead, but she felt rhythmic and confident. A bit sore and not very supple, but she never said no and did the thing. I was beaming when the announcer stated we had placed 1st once again, out of 9 riders.
Unfortunately, by this point, the horse show hangover was real and I floundered hard in the 2' Equitation class - my body was just not working properly and the previous days of hard riding and biking were taking it's toll. Annie did good, but me not so much. I struggled to keep a two point and we also had another silly little rail - just Annie not being particularly careful with her legs. We pinned 6th out of 9, which I was pretty happy about since it still meant we got a ribbon.
|Sorry not sorry, but she's so fucking cute.|
Our last class of the day was 2' Working Hunters, and it was marginally better. We didn't have any issues with rails this time, but both of us were quite pooped. I was pretty happy to be done by this point though, and hopped off my horse as soon as I finished my round and began pulling her braids. One of the show moms looked over at me and laughed as I furiously pulled each and every braid from Annie's mane. We stuck around for a bit and snuggled while waiting for the placings to be called - Annie was pretty done by this point and truth be told, so was I! We placed 5th out of 9 for this class, and I was happy to wrap it up there.
|Tired pony snuggles (notice how her mane is already void of braids lol).|
Overall, I was blown away by Annie's willingness and attitude in the Hunter ring. It was a complete 180 from our issues in the Dressage court, and despite not doing a ton of jumping over my period of owning her, she has taken to it quite naturally and happily (I mean, look at those EARS in the photos!! She's a happy bean!). I can't really object too much because she barely looked at any of the jumps, and was content to casually bop over them without too much of a care. Moving forward, I want to get a more serious about her landing leg, to ensure we're moving off the correct lead and my own position, but otherwise I have zero complaints.
|That's a happy Annie.|
It was a great way to end a long and laborious show week/weekend - we had some ups, we had some downs, and most of all we had a ton of fun. Overall, I was pretty pleased with her efforts, especially in the flat classes and hunter classes. These were the two things I was most concerned about, and she didn't give either situation a second thought. Looking back, I kinda laugh because we prepared so much for our First Level debut and our goal was to do well (I mean, we did okay, but we were lightyears off of where I wanted to be in terms of willingness/acceptance from Annie) and yet, the things we didn't necessarily prepare well for are the things we did well in.
A few friends laughed, shrugged their shoulders and simply declared that Annie is a jompy pony now and thats where she wants to be. Which, it certainly appears to influence her happiness but at the same time, Dressage is important, Bannie!
|And we can't forget our annual Show Buddy photo <3|
Love this lady and all of the encouragement she has
given us over the years!
We finished off Day 3 (technically, it was Day 4, since we arrived on Wednesday, but it was Day 3 of the actual show) on a high note, and I was able to relax and enjoy the rest of our time at the fair before packing up and heading home Sunday morning. Annie got a few days off before we resumed our very professional and progressive trail riding plans, and despite having one more show that was on our calendar for the year, I opted out of it. This year has been busy and full of training and lessons - I was ready to just breathe for the first time in a while, so we sat out the show and instead of schooling, we went trail riding with a friend.
Officially, that's a wrap BVX 2019. See ya next year!