So my first qualifying show as a Young rider is behind me. What a fun new experience. The show was at Whidbey equestrian center on Whidbey Island. I have to say I know why Jeremy loves it up here so much (and is willing to fly countless hours across the country just to be able to return here and call it home). The drive to Whidbey is like a moving postcard. I wasn’t brave enough to even try putting Sjapoer on a boat for even a few minutes so we took the long way around. The mountains and the ocean seem to meet to give you all the beauty of nature in one spot. Grandma got lost coming back the second day and ended up at the Canadian border. That is what she gets for talking on the phone and driving. She missed her turn.
I will have to admit I was really nervous going into this show. I don’t know why. Perhaps because for the first time I hadn’t ridden in front of anyone since last fall; in Texas we have earlier shows. So I hadn’t had judge feedback in a long time. I had big butterflies going into my warm-up PSG test. Sjapoer has really calmed down so much in the last year and our harmony has grown. We got some great judge feedback before the second ride; the team test. I had the same judge from the PSG as the B judge and my score with that judge improved. Overall Sjapoer and I pulled out a 70.2 and 70.329 on day one so I am very happy. That is my silver medal too so way cool!
We had a short regional meeting to try to get some coordination going on shipping, housing, fundraising and team events. It is always a bit scary coming into a group and meeting new people. But all you can hope to do is to be yourself, try to make others feel comfortable and let them know you want to work together. I really think Region 6 has a great shot to medal this year. We look to have a solid team. I must say I am glad I am not a junior this year. The juniors are looking really tough and competitive. Region 6 doesn’t have enough declared juniors for a full team, so I can try to hold back any loyalty guilt when I say I am putting my money on the Region 9 juniors to walk away with Gold this year.
I was a little disappointed at the shortness of the meeting but I think no one really knew what to do next. But I am moving forward in making plans for Kentucky because if you wait until the last minute it gets more expensive! I let them know about several great places to stay. The VRBO.com is a great place to rent houses in Lexington. MK Nommensen from my old region’s dad always rented a great place from this site. You can also rent trailers at the KHP which is really convenient. Both of those options (a house or trailer) give you a kitchen so you save money and time on meals. I called around about shipping and I am trying to coordinate a joint ride from here to Lexington. I know now why this region is tough to get to any event. It is unbelievably expensive to haul anywhere!
The second day Shauntel and I talked about our ‘strategy’ with Sjapoer. Because he is such an amazing horse the judges expect me to show him to his full capability. Riding him ‘safely’ at competitions actually gets me lower scores sometimes because the judges expect more from him. But you can’t just ride one way at home and then push at the show. It would freak him out because in his mind he would ask, “what are you asking for, why? What is happening? Is it scary?” He would get a bit out of control. So this year at home we have been pushing the line. Every day we try a little of pushing him to just the edge of his ability and my controlling his ability; this way I learn and he learns where his limits are. I can feel his inattention. I can feel at what point he goes from brilliant to freaked out. So for the first ride yesterday I was conservative. It was my warm up ride. For the second ride I answered the judges concerns. For my third ride, I went for it. The extensions in canter were amazing (but bringing him back in the corner was questionableJ). But this is how he and I have grown this year to be able to ask more and get more out of him at shows in a comfortable way that he feels no fear when I ask, and I feel comfort and control when asking.