Thursday, August 30, 2012

English Novice Ride - Celebration 2012

Handsome B.
When I woke on Monday morning, I had a bitter sweet feeling.  Today would be my last class at the Celebration.  So I was excited to get to it, but I also was sad that my Celebration escapades would be over for the year.  I laid in bed, looked around and noticed the Celebration guide sitting on my dresser.  I smiled.   Me and Bourbon were listed in it, and so I pulled it open and looked again at the class listing and found our listing in Class 102, our Novice horse, Novice rider English class in Trail.  Yep, we were listed it is official - I will ride again today!  I smiled, and tore the covers off and began to get myself ready.  This was "our class", or at least that was what Hannah kept saying.  B is high headed so English does suit him...and of course he's a novice and I'm a YEP, that sounds like "our class".  :)

I pulled my hair back to the nap of my neck, and I pinned in my satin ribbon with the delicate lace.  I like this one for my English classes - for some reason it just seems fitting.  I then pinned in my clips to keep those little side whispies tamed.  I then went to work on make-up.   I stopped for a moment to consider...lavender or orange?   Which coat would I wear?   I decided to stay with lavender....and so I reached for my eye shadow in the plum shades.  I curled my lashes, applied mascara, blushed my cheeks, and added a little lipstick.  I looked at myself in the mirror.  Boy, I'm really doing this - and I laughed, a little proud of myself.   Crazy, is all I really thought.  I added a little eye liner for emphasis...and then decided I was about as ready as I was gonna get.

Next I donned my black show pants, my lemon yellow shirt, and pulled on my vest and tie.  I rolled up my jods, pulled on socks and my Juicy Couture converse style tennis shoes.  The shoes would serve me well on the walk over to the show grounds - even though they definitely looked funny with the rest of the outfit.  I'd carry my riding boots and spurs, as well as my hat and show day coat.  And put those items on at the very last moment...just before I went into the ring.

Pat, the hostess with the most-est, at the B&B, had my coffee and breakfast ready for me when I came into the kitchen.  I was up early...and so she had everything ready for me, even though her other guests would be sleeping in and served later.  She's been so wonderful...and despite my stomach being nervous, I have to say the cheese omelet, bacon and fruit tasted good, and went down well.  I sipped my coffee and watches a few squirrels jump from branch to branch as I finished up my meal.

Evening show....the
horses in the lineup.
I scurried back to my room, grabbed my day coat, hat box and a few other necessities, and hiked my way over to the show grounds.  When I arrived, things seemed calm, almost too calm.  There were only a few horse trailers in the parking lot, and the HP stables only had a handful of horses with them as well.  Everyone seemed more relaxed than in past days.  I guess a Monday morning is a work day, and many who had showed last week, and over the weekend...maybe had headed home.  I wondered how many would be in my class.   Maybe it would be small?  Or would others arrive later...the class was about 1/2 way thru the morning.  Well...I guess that was all out of my control, so I just set about getting my jacket up to the warm-up ring, and help as I could with the horses and such.   B had white ribbons in his mane, but when Hannah heard I was wearing my lavender day coat, she pulled out purple, lavender and white ribbons and had him re-braided to match.  "Its your class - let's do it to match," she said with a smile.  So, I indulged the double work.

The warm up ring was quiet too.  Just a handful of groups, and only a few horse warming up.  Wow, would anyone be in my class?  Well, at least a few - from Hannah's barn at least -- so I was relieved I wouldn't be alone.  However, as we got closer to my class, it got a little busier.  And by the time my class was called, 15 or 16 entered the ring.  Yeah...a nice sized class.  Whew.    I waited a bit, and entered the ring in the middle of the pack.  As Hannah led us up the ramp into the Calsonic, someone had climbed the staircase to the right of us.  This caught Bourbon by surprise, and he shuffled a bit and did a little side stepping as he craned his neck to figure out what that was.  I pulled him back, and Hannah grabbed his head-stall to calm him.  Then she smiled and released me and wished me luck.  LUCK?  Yikes...  Hope he calms after that little startle.  LOL.  And, he did...he got up into the ring and went right to work.

Running Walk Please!
As I got him up into the flat walk, and did my entry lap for the judges, I relaxed and enjoyed the ride.  I was here, I was doing this, and I smiled.  I literally smiled all the way around the ring.  I looked up into the crowd, I saw BobbiKaye, I saw a few of my barn-mates cheering me on, I saw Hannah...and heard her encourage me.  I took it all in.   I actually saw the judges for the first time.  I noticed all the people in the audience.  They watched us pass by.  And I felt B under me.  I heard his hooves.  I felt the slight tug on my hands by the reins as B nodded his way around the ring.  It was like all my senses were heightened.  And it felt good, I was having fun....and enjoying it all.    We didn't trip.  We didn't get behind any other horses and get all covered up.  And, before I knew it, we were on the reverse, and then called into the line-up.

As I chose a spot to lineup, BobbiKaye walked over and sat in front of me, and gave me the thumbs up.  It was a good ride.  And I felt really good.  As the ribbons were called, I received 6th place out of the group of 16 on the call sheet.  Yeah!  Another ribbon from The Celebration.  Wow!  As I pulled B into a gait to collect my ribbon, he walked like a champ.  Again, that bitter sweet feeling came over me.  As I neared the exit gate, I knew my Celebration was also coming to an end.  Upon exit, Hannah was there to great me.  She smiled, but she also snapped her fingers with a "aww-shucks"....she had thought we did great...and wondered why the judges were so hard on him.   I just thought...I'm so proud that he got a ribbon.  For me, it was a huge accomplishment.  No one knows me.  No one knows my horse.  We are unknown...and still getting ribbons at the Celebration.   And, while it must feel TOTALLY AWESOME to win a blue or reserve....I am feeling pretty good about what we have accomplished.   And, that I have something left to strive for in 2013.  Next year B will be 4, stronger, more coordinated, and I will have more experience under my belt too.  Plus Hannah will have another year on his training as well.

Bourbon poses in the Winners Circle.
After our class, I walked B back to the trailer.  As I exited the Calsonic warm-up, I walked past the winners circle park, where all the winner photos are taken.  I grabbed Van and asked if she would take a photo of me in front of the park.  When we got there, there was a big white truck parked right in front of the Celebration sign.  So, Van looked at me and said, you know, there is no rule that you can't go into the park and go up and take a photo in the winners circle.  And we smiled at each other, and headed right, Van and Bourbon.  Like we were thieves in the night.  No one was there except the media.  I walked up with B, and he posed.  I swear he knew what was up, and posed for the pictures.  Van caught this great shot.  B standing tall, and me with a smile of accomplishment for my three ribbon placements at the Celebration.  A journey that I've been traveling since I dropped B at Hannah's on December 31st...where the new year started 8 months earlier.  We giggled, and just as I stepped away, a group came up with their WC horse and the media went to work.   Maybe one day that will be me.  Or maybe not.  But a dream.....none the less.  And I smiled.

I took B back to the trailer and handed him off to get his tack removed.  I helped a little, talked to the rest of the gang....and then grabbed up my day coat and hat box and headed back to my B&B as Hannah and Bub and the team readied to leave as well.   The rest of the afternoon was spent organizing and packing for my ride home.  I went out to Hannah's place and made sure all of Bourbon's tack was pulled and packed in the trailer as well.  I was going to have an early wanted everything set and organized, so I could arrive, hook up, load up and get rolling quickly tomorrow.  I also ran back to the Calsonic to buy a Celebration shirt and hat - for a keepsake.  And, stole a few moments to lay down and nap.  But in no time, it was 6pm, and I had to get ready to go over to the evening show.  And Jane's text message was encouraging me to get a move on for happy hour before the show.  Exhausted or not, I had to get a move-on.

Jane and I enjoy watching Darden
win his WC class.
Jane and I spent the evening watching classes...and enjoying the show.  It went fast...and we got to see Darden win another WC title.  And, he did it despite tossing a shoe in the midst of the class.  Once they pounded that shoe back on....they awarded him the win!   If you have never seen Darden show, it is pure pleasure.  He's a showman and a joy to watch out there in the ring.  And, even more fun to watch win the class...and celebrate with afterwards.  :)

So, as I walked back to my B&B, I thought back about the week.  It was fun and a huge success.  I was sad to leave, since there was so much more show to come.  But I was also looking forward to getting B home for awhile.  So, again that bittersweet feeling came over me, as I walked up the drive to the B&B, unlocked the door to my room and slipped between the covers.   Morning would arrive soon....and I had a long drive ahead.    Sweet dreams.

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