This past HT was my first experience hauling out to a show on my own. Sure, I haul out every weekend for lessons, but this felt different. On top of it, the barnmate who entered the show with me scratched a day prior with a lame horse.
So as I drove to Isabel's barn in the pre-dawn of Sunday morning for my requisite chores... I experienced a somewhat overwhelming fit of the feels. I was planning to travel to this show alone, and would have one friend (a profesh horsewoman, thank god) meeting up with me in time for the jumping phases.
That still left me with a few hours solo, including the time I'd need for course walks. To date, Iz had never been left on the trailer for any length of time, nor had I ever attempted tying her to the trailer. So... I felt a bit at sea.
I calmed myself in the pre-dawn drive by saying: 'it'll all feel better when the sun is up and you are too busy with chores to care.' And guess what: this was true.
also turns out that she ties. who knew?
Plus, it turns out there is a SERIOUS upside of being nice to the barn kids: they are downright giddy to be asked to accompany you to shows! That's right - I invited my fave 16 yr old barnmate and her friend to be my 'crew' at the event. And they were sooooo happy!
My young barnmate is an accomplished-horsewoman-in-training, so I was comfortable leaving Isabel in her care during my course walks. And her friend (who hails from a horsey background but is new to the hands-on side of things) was there to prevent intense boredom.
Phew. You have NO IDEA what a relief it was for me to have those extra hands confirmed. Next task on deck was PACKING. As is known, I haul out every weekend. But this was different.
I wanted ALL OF THE THINGS at this event. Buckets? Yes, all of them. Folding chair? duh. Hay?? Yes. ALL of the hay. My grooming tote? Only if it's stuffed with candy canes.
Stuffing the trailer was more of the same: tack? Yes. But... saddle? Uh, yes. Ok... but bridle too??? uhh, YESS. Then rider essentials... check check. and so much more hay??? double check.
I knew I had dun good when the folks in the trailer next to us needed a hole punch and I could say "oh here, use mine!" Yesssss :)
Once we were on OF property, things settled nicely into gear. We set up shop quite close to the lesson shed, which meant that I used that 'normal for us' mounting block every time. Not sure it was even necessary tho - Isabel travels like a mofopro.
Anyways, the 'showing off-property without a trainer' thing wasn't as big of a deal as I expected... Because the quick moments I *did* have with my trainers had seriously positive repercussions on my rides... so I can't really claim to be un-coached. Nor do I really want to.
I was also extremely pleased with Isabel's behavior. She never screamed or acted restless or spooky or anything around the trailer. And she stayed tied to the trailer (with a twine breakaway loop just in case) for about an hour on two separate occasions.
This gives me a lot of confidence about future events. All in all, I'm not sure this event could have gone any better in the 'non-riding' aspect. I am SO THRILLED to be able to haul out on my own, and crew my own self. It's a lot more work, sure, but in a way more relaxing?
Regarding the 'riding' aspect of it: there were some holes uncovered during our rounds. We have a lot of work to do - but nothing unexpected.
This outing didn't necessarily show our abilities to the best of our potential, but it provided a true demonstration of our current level of training, on average. And that's what matters right?