So by the time I got home the inital shock of hurting my ankle was gone and a throbbing replaced it. As soon as I walked in the door I walked right to the freezer and put ice on my ankle. I couldn’t sit down yet so I just hobbled around ironing my stock tie, and such. I did get a call from NowThatsATrot at some point letting me know something had come up, which worked out fine because the Young Rider was coming to the show anyway. I was surprisingly calm going to bed the night before a show. You would think with terrible weather, a bum ankle, and a change in my groom I would be stressed, but I really wasn’t. I was hurting more than anything else.
After a fitful night of sleep my ankle was killing me in the morning. Luckily I had wrapped it nice and tight so it was not swollen. I got ready and just before I left the house I grabbed a pain killer to help out. I limped getting the trailer ready and packing it up. I had decided to lunge Phoenix even though it was still raining just to get him to move a little since he had not been out since Thursday, and even with the Nice Local Trainer being super cool and letting me do it in one of the fields to try and keep him clean the poor thing still had to get his legs scrubbed again. At this point we were both cold and miserable and it was one of those “Why exactly am I doing this” moments.
For some reason there was never any thought in my brain about not going. I was going to this show hell or high water. It didn’t matter to me that it was raining. We were going. I reminded myself, and Phoenix, that if he was a good boy today I would have no issue scratching from the show on Sunday. So with that thought on our minds we marched right over and on to the horse trailer. Phoenix is such a good little trailerer! He marches on like an old show pro. No one would ever know he has only been on the trailer a handful of times before! Just as we hit the road the rain started to let up. And I started to get excited. The Young Rider, not so much. She is not what you would call a mudder.
I already knew my game plan before we pulled in the drive way. I would get Phoenix (Mr. Coldback) tacked up and then have him and the Young Rider hang out in the indoor and just chill out while I got ready. I don’t even think it was 15 minutes after we put the truck in park that the two of them were on their way to at least being sheltered from the weather. I got dressed and limped my own way down a bit later. I gave myself 40 minutes to warm up, which is a lot considering we were just doing walk trot, but I knew even with my lunge session before we left for the show that Phoenix needed to move so I planned to do a lot of walking.
The indoor at this show was yet again crazy. Even though half of the barn was away at the same show Phoenix’s Owner was at the other half decided that they needed to ride their horses right then. I don’t understand that and I suppose I never will. If I know a show is going on at my barn I don’t think I would ride during it unless I was doing so for experience. These people did not seem to be schooling, they were just riding. All at the same time. So the warm up went from myself and two other people showing to 8 people in the blink of an eye. This indoor is not very big so 8 horses was a lot.
I am proud to say that my horse was a total rock star about all the activity. Phoenix did not seem bothered by people cutting us off so it made it really easy for me to just do my normal thing. I squeezed in between two strange horses if I needed to and basically just rode around following the ring rules and hoping that other people would be as kind. They were not. In fact, at one point a woman on a Chestnut who was giving her a very hard time almost ran into me. Like head on. I had been trying to go left shoulder to left sholder with her, but she cut in and then bam, we were right on top of each other.
Her horse spooked and leaped sideways in a panic. My Phoenix, all 5 years old of him, looked at the horse was the most adorable, “why are you freaking out” expression. He didn’t understand what the big deal was and clearly thought the horse was an idiot for spooking. I took a deep breath and went right back to work like nothing had happened. And because I went right back to work so did Phoenix. In that moment I realized something.
Phoenix has turned in to a show horse. All I wanted to do this year was to get him mileage, and even with the few shows we have gone to he got it! He was an old pro. Warm up rings were no big deal to him. Regardless of how the tests went I had accomplished something really big with this horse.
Phoenix is a show horse.
After some more warming up (where the Young Rider acted as my coach and did a great job) it was time to go into the show ring. I knew this test would just be icing on the cake for me so as we made our way to the outdoor ring to go splash in puddles I felt light as a feather. And that is how I knew I had to ride if I wanted to do well…