Return of the Balls, Show Recap Edition


So last weekend was my first recognized horse trial, at Feather Creek. OK, so my DIVISION (Starter) wasn’t recognized, but Imma count it. Angela had demanded under pain of death  suggested doing Starter or our first show back, as it had been more than two years, and because me. And because Ollie. Hot mess tendencies, essentially.

As I said in my last post, I was feeling apprehensive showing against children, and especially an awesome kid that I know. She sadly had to scratch due to a lame pony, so I dodged that bullet… but not before her mom started good-naturedly calling me The Child Slayer. Awesome.

We arrived on the grounds, and I immediately saw that Ollie was to be in temporary stalls. Y’all, he destroyed his stall door at home from kicking. I was a bit apprehensive that I’d wake up to a missing Ollie. But we just went and had a lovely dressage practice ride, and prayed to all the various gods that Ollie would 1.) Be alive and in his stall in the morning. and 2.) He would reasonably behave.

Ollie in canvas stall. Ollie want to kick. Ollie no happy.
Ollie in canvas stall. Ollie want to kick. Ollie no happy.

Before I left show grounds, I met Hillary of Equestrian at Hart and Bobby, often featured in the $900 Facebook Pony. Both are delightful, and I hope to see them again at shows.

Now I don’t know know how many of y’all have been to Norman, OK. But it isn’t exactly teeming with a ton of super awesome  hotels. I decided to cheap out for the weekend and pick the only $68-per-night place that had *indoor* hallways (A must. Really, a must for me). When I arrived, there were mattresses stacked in the lobby.

I immediately thought, OMG I have made the wrong choice. Why did I choose to stay here? Why did I come to this show? Imma die one way or the other. Do you think I could just start riding Ollie home now? He’s pretty sturdy….

But the room ended up being OK, and I didn’t die there. Score one for Norman, OK.

I didn’t ride until past 2 p.m., so I had all day to stew in my nerves and talk to baby Jesus. Baby Jesus told me to take a Xanax and have a Twisted Tea, so I did. I mean, I have to listen to him, right?

Ollie not impressed with pretty braids. Ollie want snack.
Ollie not impressed with pretty braids. Ollie want snack.

Ollie got all beautifully braided, and I got all blinged up and attempted to use a navy saddle pad until I had the fear of Angela God put into me to use black instead because reasons and my jacket was black and shiz. Started to warm up, and Ollie was feeling great. Such a good boy, being all soft and stuff.

Until OMG JUST KIDDING, I’M POPPING MY SHOULDER AND RUNNING AWAY, FUCK YOU.

But…I didn’t let it unnerve me. What? Yeah, I know. We went in and did a fairly decent test. Our canter departs were the total suck, but everything else? Well, not half bad. We ended up with a 34. Our best score to date has been a 33.8, so I call this a win; we haven’t done a dressage test since early spring.

I had about two hours to get ready for stadium. And y’all…. the starter jumps were like speedbumps. Like nothing. But our usual issues in stadium aren’t with the jumps themselves, usually, but Ollie’s behavior and making turns and all that stuff. The name of the game was OMG BEHAVE and OMG WENDY KEEP THINKING. Brain hard.

So we went in there, and Ollie had his best, most forward jump round ever. All even and obeying and just simply delightful. And HE DID A FLYING LEAD CHANGE. YOU GUYS. He has never, ever ever ever ever done a flying lead change. Like he’s probably never even thought about it. On the video, if you have the sound on, you will hear my barnmates audibly gasp. Seriously, it was more surprising than if I were to suddenly stop cussing. I know, right?

So I felt like a million bucks.

TRAINER HIGH FIVE.
TRAINER HIGH FIVE.
Mama embarrass Ollie.
Mama embarrass Ollie.

I arrived on Sunday morning all ready to rock it on cross country. I got all navy and light-blued out and put on Ollie’s lovely new Majyk Equipe turquoise cross country boots. He looked fab.

Angela warmed us up, and Ollie was being positively lovely. He did startle himself when he saw a horse running the course on the other side of the trees. It was like OMG THAT’S WHAT WE ARE ABOUT TO DO? OMG OMG OMG. Ollie may sometimes be a slug, but he really enjoys cross country. Especially now that I don’t, ahem, pull on his face so much.

The course was easy peasy. For starter, I thought some of the jumps were more like BN level. Which was totally fine by me! We didn’t have any trouble, and I daresay that I had fun. I wasn’t terrified for the first time. AND WE MADE TIME Y’ALL. WE MADE TIME. Thirteen seconds under, actually. This was a first for us. We usually have Muppet-ridiculous-level time faults, because Wendy. I now owe Angela a beer.

 

So we ended up in second place. Our very first eventing three-phase ribbon, and first time to finish on my dressage score. It felt great, and I only had to slay ONE child in my division; the rest were adults.

Ollie still want snack.
Ollie still want snack.

My jacket also got mucho attention, but Ollie got even more. I swear to god, every show we go to, he develops a fan club. Oh my god, what is he?? Can I have him? Where can I get one of him? HE IS SO CUTE. LOOK AT HIS FACE. LOOK AT HIS TAIL. HE IS ADORABLE.

There’s just something about Ollie that makes people love his silly, living stuffed animal naughty self. I think I’ll keep him. Especially now that he does flying lead changes.

HAHAHA JUST KIDDING. He’ll probably never do one again.