Monday, February 16, 2009

No Business Like Show Business!

I have just renewed all the memberships required to show in dressage in my little Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. To wit:

--United States Dressage Federation: Ka-ching!
--United States Equestrian Federation: Ka-ching!
--North Woods Dressage Association: Ka-ching!
--Central States Dressage and Eventing Association: Ka-ching!

All of which would really make me feel like a bona fide dressage rider were it not for the dismal evidence recorded in the schooling show photo above. I hope I have kept myself small enough so you can hardly see me.

Heads-up for the welter of excuses: "It was so hot that day! Montana slimed the waist of my riding pants so I had to have my shirt-tail out to cover it. The piano hands are my mother's fault: damn those mandatory piano lessons! The chair seat is chair's fault. The slumped shoulders are the fault of my existential predicament: stuck at a horse show and forced to ride a test not of my own devising, oh the angst and horror, the horror. The bulging belly is the fault of the show food: fried cheese curds, dang you to heck!"

Only Montana looks cheerful, probably because he is yukking it up about my riding.

But hope springs eternal. That photo is 2 years old and oh how much my riding has improved hahahahahaha. So now around the barn when the girls ask, "Are you showing this summer?", I answer, "I hope to go to a couple of shows."

Translation: I hope to overcome my show nerves, fear of bolting, fear of hauling horses over the windy bridge to Wisconsin, reluctance to commit, reluctance to spend show fee money, inability to decide on a sensible range of tests, and complete lack of confidence and actually take my dressage horse to a dressage show. Why is it so hard?

The welter of emotions, that's why. Because alongside all the negativity and fear and loathing, there is this little dream of glory, this imaginary image: myself, floating around the ring, the railbirds not entertained this time but favorably impressed, my horse not a sainted martyr but a 'happy athlete' (from USDF show standards). I can dream can't I?

But meanwhile I have also renewed two fun memberships: Minnesota Trail Riders Association and MN Walking Horse Association (gaited horses really). These two groups are all about joy and they get out there and ride. I also dream of seeing this sight a lot this summer:

The days are getting longer and the sun is winning. Yay!


3pennyjane said...

Our barn uses the term "puppy paws" with the youngest students. "I see puppy paws!" the teacher will call. "Your palms are friends! They want to see one another!" Well, you have to giggle.

On the more positive side, your ankle looks good and your shoulders aren't tense, plus you've still got a leg on each side and are facing the ears ("Fork side down," a cowboy I talked to said once). All that and a happy horse--anything else is details.

Anonymous said...

3penny: I loved this Fork side down phrase.

Flying Lilies: Montana does look like he's having a you couldn't have been doing too much wrong! I've been off the show wagon for quite a while so you're miles ahead of me.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Montana looks great and he's having fun. That means you're riding him the way he likes. You look fine, and I think you should go to as many shows as you want to. I wouldn't let what other people might think stop me if I were you. You're there to have fun and see how far you've come in your training. I've always thought the reason that competitions can seem so daunting is that we place way too much importance on what others think. Once we learn to just show for ourselves and see how far we've come and what we need to work on, it becomes a lot easier and takes the pressure off.

Funder said...

It's awesome that you're even planning to show! I still have no intentions of showing dressage this year - maybe a gaited show, but definitely not dressage.

Flying Lily said...

3pennyjane: Thanks and I like that cowboy's phrase! Being right side up is just about the one critical thing.

Ranchette: Thanks and do come join me in the money-burning I mean show enjoyment!

GreyHorse: You are absolutely right and I can't figure out why I so quickly lose sight of the one important thing. If they could just clear the showgrounds for my rides I would be able to enjoy them!! :) I'm working on a change of attitude.

Funder: I am interested in the informal kind of gaited show that MWHA puts on; I might experiment with one of these late in the summer when John is in his finest fettle (from trail miles, I hope). I don't think special clothes are even required.

OnTheBit said...

I remember the first time I post a video of myself riding on the blog. I was so scared! I just knew everyone was going to rip me to pieces. You know what though? The person who was hardest on me was me. I look at the picture and minus the untucked polo (I am a stickler for at least dressing the part even when I don't look it) I see a rider just like many other riders at the shows. I hope you show this year and have fun! Who cares if you are not perfect in the show ring? How many people are? I know I am not and I am still planning on showing.

Flying Lily said...

OnTheBit: That polo bugs me too, now. That's my goal: show & have fun. I'd just like to get past that phase where these 2 sound so ultra-contradictory. :)

photogchic said...

I like that translation...exactly how I feel when someone asks if I am going to show. Sounds like you are going to have a busy, horsey summer. Good luck to you on making those things happen.

Susan said...

Montana looks fantastic & happy, you should be proud of your horse's rippling dressage muscles, it's a credit to how hard both of you have worked. As an ottb owner, I fully appreciate your horse's beautiful head carriage and the hours that went into perfecting it! That photo alone deserves a ribbon!

Horseypants said...

Life is short...go for it!

Flying Lily said...

Photogchic: It looks like I have a horse activity (show or camping trip) planned for every other weekend all summer long! What could go wrong? Oops sorry I asked.

Susan: Thank you so much! Will you please come judge a show here? :) That head carriage = years, and now he's finally comfortable.

Horseypants: I love your name! Good advice.

lytha said...

i think you look great!

braver than i am, too.


Anonymous said...

how fortuitous to see this ... tomorrow i'm doing my first horse show for this season... not ON montana.. tho IN montana :) fortunately the arena's heated...

doing the english classes... and yup... a picture's worth a thousand words... think good thoughts

gp in montana

allaroundhorses said...

Did you ever do WSCA or CMHIA???? Dressage in MN? You must not be from my area, no one does dressage here, well, but me, ok, I try to...Everyone does Western Pleasure.

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