Friday, August 24, 2012

Oh our western ways...

B's bridle & number.
On Thursday morning I woke early with a nervous stomach and no appetite. But I got up, went down and had a bowl of cereal. I skipped the coffee thinking that caffeine just may take me over the top. My nerves were frazzled enough already knowing that I had two western classes today. A big day!

I then hitched a ride with Kevin and Lisa to the grounds. And thank goodness for their kindness, as I had heavy chaps, boots, hat box and my show shirt to carry. I could have done it, but it would have been a balancing act those few blocks and I'm sure I would have worked up a good glisten. 

B at the trailer
Bourbon was being lunged when I arrived and so I watched him for a while. He's getting so big, and really filling out now too. Such a pretty boy!  I smiled. I then set about helping clean up horses, brushing manes and cleaning up hooves to be polished. And in short order, we were hustling clothes and tack up to the warmup ring. I jumped into the golf cart with Lisa Weaver and we hauled hat boxes and show shirts into Calsonic. 

The crazy warm-up ring.
In no time bourbon and Hannah arrived and proceeded through the DQP and he was tacked up immediately. We were in the second class of the morning, so Hannah wanted to warm him up immediately and get me to ride right away too. In no time, the first class was over, and our class was being called. 18 horses were on the call sheet. My ride was much better than the day before. B was fresh, and he was calm. Even the large group of about 2 dozen kids, that were all dressed in red and sitting along the one side cheering loudly, didn't upset him. He heard them, stretched up his neck and turned and ear and eye towards them, but I jiggled his bit and he went right back to the business at hand. Good boy!!  Many of my fellow competitors were not as lucky. I saw multiple horses act up, get a little freaked out and was very thankful for such a nice temperament horse in bourbon!

The flat walk, running walk, halt, and trail walk were called, we reversed and did it all again. I felt good, and I smiled. Hannah was very complimentary from the sidelines as well. I heard a cheer in one corner that I think was Jane, and another from the other end of the arena, who I'm pretty certain was Bobbikaye, who bred Bourbon. So it was nice to have a few fans in the crowd. 

Me and B - in western wear!
Unfortunately as the ribbons were handed out, I was left with none. Darn. It's always a let down, and you have to do, as I endearingly have called it, 'the ride of shame' out of the arena. At least there were a number of us in that ribbon-less crowd.   As I exited there were a number of folks who said they were surprised we hadn't placed.   And when I talked to Hannah for feedback on my ride she said she thought I did it perfectly and had shook her head. I had had one trip in front of a few judges that probably saw me, so I just felt bad. Like I had let her down. She has worked so hard on B and this is as much a validation of her hard work as it is a reflection on me and B.   So, I had to shake it off and chalk it up to a great group of talented horses, and set my mind to NOT trip. And see if that helped in the next class. 

There are huge screens in the
warm-up - to watch the classes.
I had about 4 classes between my two classes. So I jumped down and just stood and held Bs reins. He proceeded to lower his head and pathetically ask for attention. I gladly provided it. Basking in the moments with him. He's a total sweetie, and he just stood while I pet his velvety nose, adjusted his forelock and massaged his ears. I have to say this relaxed B is much nicer than gnashing B from yesterday.   I'm sure that class workout helped a little as well calm the fact for both of us. 

Too soon they called our next class. This time no tripping. Well, maybe a little one, but not in front of all the judges. He sounded really good, he seemed to be hitting it hard, and he looked to be shaking well too.  I loosened a little in the reins. But I also felt myself collect a bit too. I tried to keep that balance between keeping his head set, but loose so he shakes. But not giving him away so he trips. Whoops, like that little trip.  I rode him like I stole him. And really before I knew it, we were getting called into the line up.  This time when they called the lineup, I was all the way on the other side. So I got to make one of those showboating the last one on the track coming into the lineup. Pleeeeeease don't trip!  Whew, we made it.  

Showboating for the judges.
I lined up in the long curve, with the other 26 on the call sheet.   When the winner was called it was one of the horses that had been winning the trail classes. Line item veto. A small bay who was a shaky cute thing.  Followed by Juan Carlos, who is another bay.  And honestly, the two of them could be bookends they are so similar. My only thought was, well those are a far cry from B, my big red Clifford, Cadillac style horse. So well see how this plays out, but T this point my confidence, or maybe more precisely, my hope for getting a ribbon is wavering.  But I was not overlooked this time, in this huge class I was tied 8th.  I simply beamed my way to get my brown ribbon.   Any ribbon at the Celebration is an honor, as this is basically the Super Bowl of the walking horse shows.  And the horses have been exceptional. So I will take that brown ribbon with pride of accomplishment. I hope Hannah feels the same way, she has done so much with B....and now we have earned two celebration ribbons.  I know officially people only acknowledge the winners and reserves in a formal way. But if I am tied, it is huge at this point for me. At least I'm doing it...trying it...putting myself out there to succeed or fail. I think this is success.  With room to work even harder and improve. Lol. 
All smiles collecting my ribbon!

The Allen's prepare
No Way Jose.
The rest of the morning I helped with the Pulvers gang, and then went out to lunch with Carlan and her father. He drove six hours to watch her show Lil Wayne for a few days. And got to see her win a reserve and third so far while here.   We went to Millers, which is a cute local place in Christiana that serves up home cooked meals and pies and cakes for dessert. I had never heard of it before, but krista had wanted to have dinner here earlier but they only did dinners on the weekends. Ironically when the three of us walked in, krista, her dad and sister were there!  We had a laugh about that, cuz she was threatening to bring me here herself.  Couldn't believe I had never been here.  And also seated right beside our table were all the judges from the celebration. I guess they were on break between the morning and evening class sessions and enjoying a good meal. I guess they tied this restaurant like they tied my horse today. So the meal should be good. Lol. 

Celebration grounds - this is the Winners Circle where all the
WC and WGC winners go for media photos and celebration.
My afternoon was then spent working. (I'll continue to leave that to your imagination.). Later in the evening I took a walk over to the Celebration grounds to see how the performance classes were doing. I bumped into Anne frank and Sheryl Volkman, and we chatted a little while. I then walked by to see Hannah's stables  customer suite that she had set up for all of us. She had it beautifully decorated with a big couch and horse photos and landscaping. Very  cozy and feminine I thought.   I hadn't even been here to see it the first few days of the show, and from the look of it, I don't think any of us have. But she is planning a big party over the weekend, so I'm such it will be filled with laughter and fun soon.   

I then went inside, grabbed dinner and sat and watched a few classes. I soon left and walked back to my B&B. Alone isn't fun, and I miss Jane I mussed. But tomorrow is Friday. I plan to work most of the day, but then it's the weekend and well all be together at the show.  Besides I just realized how tired I was. And so bed all of a sudden sounded good. I hope I get to dream of my ride all night. Calsonic is a pretty cool ride!    Good night. 

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