The best way I can describe my test is mediocre. There were no moments of brilliance or even beauty. I was okay with that though because there were also no moments of naughty or Phoenix being a total jerk. Things that we normally have at home, like straightness and bend were not there. Phoenix was all twisted up like a pretzel. I could not be mad at him for that though because that is normally an issue we fix during our warm up. How can I expect him to bend when we are not connected inside leg to outside rein? During both our freewalk and our stretchy circle I went for it and really tried to get Phoenix to stretch. Since he was not using his ample hind end to push through, there was just no stretch to be had.
When I did my second halt I knew it was bad, but I still had to laugh. I mean, I was really proud of us. The test seemed secondary on that day to me. I know that I should have cared more about the test, but I was really just proud of all the obstacles that Phoenix and I had overcome. The judge spent a few minutes after the test giving me a few exercises to help Phoenix and I (most of which I am proud to report that we already do) and saying what a great horse I have (which I do) and then bashing his canter (which I was a bit surprised about because it had felt decent to me). I knew I had not broken a 60%, but I was happy anyway.
Back at the trailer I was still really happy with Phoenix and I, and everyone else was proud of us also. This show was to prove to myself that Phoenix and I are okay. And boy did we ever prove that. I was glowing with pride as I got my baby on the trailer by myself and everyone watched. I felt like I was floating on air. Just 6 months ago I would have had a total melt down showing up so late on show day. Just a few weeks ago if I felt Phoenix’s back that tight I would have gotten off again. On Saturday I didn’t do any of those things. I was not only fine, I was happy and having fun! I didn’t even freak out when my test did not go as well as it could have.
As I walked down with my parents, Shawn’s Mom and her Mom to get my score I could honestly say that no matter what the score was I was happy. And true to my word I did not even bat an eye when I got the super low score of a 54.4%. My test was mostly 5s and 6s with a 4 for my stretchy trot.The comments were honest, my horse was tense and not over the back. Phoenix was above the bit and lacked bend. What I was shocked to see was that Phoenix and I had not even been blown out of the water by our low score. The judge was, without a doubt, scoring low and my poor score was good enough to tie for 4th. I ended up losing the tie break so I took my pretty pink 5th place ribbon and skipped back to the trailer.
The whole point of going to the show was that it was close by and I needed a confidence builder. I was, without a doubt, more confident in both Phoenix and myself as I drove home than I was that morning, so it totally worked. When I got home I even unloaded Phoenix by myself just to prove to myself I could. I was so happy I would not shut up about it for the rest of the day. I learned the valuable lesson that sometimes you can get a bad score and still have a great show. I had a lot to prove to myself and I was able to do it. I also know that even though we did not have a lot of the right moves at the show, Phoenix and I have everything training wise that we need to do well this year. My next show is Sunday and it is our very first recognized show. Onward and upward as they say!