Wow what a weekend. A wirlwind of highs, lows another low and then a big high and the icing on the cake was that we came home not only with a ribbon but a YELLOW! I am still in shock. I just have to really question whether or not I am really cut out for this sport. A big reality check that I had competing in my first recognized event is that Eventing is a sport of no mercy. There is no crying uncle in this sport because whether you are holding on or not it just takes you on a wild ride. You of course have the difficult, next to impossible challange of staying completely intune and connected to this one ton animal. But then ad into that the insane buzz of people, golf carts, dogs, trucks and nearly 200 other horses 20 of which are in the same warm up arena going in every direction at every gait. Your only job being making sure you are quite, calm and connected at every moment. And don't forget on a healthy, fit, athletic horse that not too long ago anytime someone was put on his back with a bunch of horses around his only job was to run real fast . Not a challange at all right? Um, wrong.
Then the diversity of each aspect of this sport is incredible. I had no idea that one could have a pretty yuck dressage test, a wild ass stadium round and still come out in the top three in a division. Boy was I wrong. Each level is important and each horse and rider have their strong areas. Those that score well in dressage don't neccissarily have a stellar XC which one refusal on XC pretty much means you won't be in the ribbons. Then Stadium refusals won't make or break you but they do add up quick and having refusals pretty much means you will end up with time penalties also. So though I felt as if we did not belong in this sport after my dressage test over the process of the entire event I figured out that Eventing is exactly where we belong. Now as soon as someone comes up with the USXCA (united states cross country accossication) I will be first to sign up. But since I don't see that happening any time soon Steady and I will probably have on again off again struggle to pull off a decent dressage test at a show but as long as we can muddle through enough to get to XC we will more than likely be fine. Not our goal of course. Our goal every time is to get a 20 in dressage, have a perfectly balanced double clear stadium and then move on to XC and go home with a blue everytime. But if I knew we could have pulled off either of those things I would have not entered at BN. Seriously if I knew that Steady was capable of performing the same dressage test at a show that he does every day at home and that he would not run around like a bat out of hell in stadium there is NO reason we wouldn't have entered at Novice. And the only reason I wouldn't enter at training at that point is because I am not there yet. He by no means would struggle with the height, dressage movements or XC. But I knew that he wasn't ready for that yet and that is why I made the decision I did to get him out there and start getting miles on him in that environment.
Then in Eventing you are voluntarily submitting yourself to not only the judges critique and criticizm on every single step that your horse makes but also every spectator also. And herein lies MY biggest struggle with this sport. It is not my horse, or mistakes or chaos that cause me the most stress. I don't blink at the size of a jump or the shape. I guess I am just dumb enough to not be afraid. My horse has issues yes but I accept his issues because of the talent he also posseses. You cannot expect to have a super athletic horse and then him not ever have axiety or tenseness issues. Just watch the upper level event dressage tests. The horses are often tense and more than occasionally naughty. These issues frustrate me, disappoint me at times but I always get over them. My #1 struggle in this sport is that I don't know if my skin is thick enough. I am very affected by peoples words and take them to heart whether I should or not. I think I come across way tougher than I actually am. The judges I can handle I mean that is what I am doing in there is paying for their opinion. I actually LOVE to read judges comments. They are almost always spot on and very helpful. The things I cannot handle are when those around me make comments about my horse, the way I ride and make judgements on both accounts based on what they see in that very stressful moment in time. Almost always the people are not meaning any harm by thier words and probably actually are trying to be helpful. But in reality this is a snapshot in time. Just because the horse behaves a certain way or I ride a certain way doesn't mean it is the everyday norm. As for me and Steady it is almost always not the norm because show environments just get him going. So I have no issue with others or even their words. I actually respect people who can be bluntly honest, I guess I just don't know if I am strong enough cause there are times that I just want to say UNCLE!!!!