I have quoted this clever one-liner I read somewhere about horse showing before, and I'll use it again: Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains.
While it was a gorgeous, sunny day in Lexington, Ky., today, for Fender and I, it rained.
After our Regional Finals performances—where Fender was World Champion of the World in our warm-up class and then super-exhausted for his Finals—I was determined to not spend my best horse in the locker room, to come into the National Finals Championship class with lots of energy.
And so I suppose I was extremely successful!
There was a rather distinct lack of WHOA and ORGANIZE THYSELF in my ride. There were no disasters. I fought for, and lost, points in some technical areas—my first centerline had one drunken stagger moment, my first medium trot had some wobbles, his head disappeared from view for a moment in the reinback—but mostly it just wasn't a terribly polished or balanced performance.
And you know what? I really don't care.
Sure, it would have been nice to be Mr. Big Shot Of Third Level. Everyone likes coolers and ribbons. But the fact that my 7-year-old had more energy than balance today is not only NOT a bad thing, in my book; it's a good thing.
Michael told me once that the worst thing you can be with a horse is Training Level World Champion. The ones that are quiet and dependable and supple and swingy as youngsters virtually never go onto The Big Show. The electricity and power that I haven't figured out how to channel yet at third level is going to be a serious asset at FEI, particularly in the FEI Championships that I someday want to attend, the three+ day slogfests in the heat of the summer when sometimes it's about the last man standing.
My man had giddyup for a 10 today, and there's totally worse things than that. He also looked fit and shiny and gorgeous, well-muscled and cheerful. And in a ride that was really quite bad, we still placed 11th in the biggest championship of the show, against some really fabulous competition.
(And by being 11th, as the championships pin to 10th, I am admittedly denied a neck-ribbon, but instead I got to take a shower and a quick nap and have time to write this blog and dress nicely for dinner, which is a fantastic trade-off, thankyouverymuch.)
So bring it on, FEI. My hometown hero horse, born just 10 minutes down the road from the KHP, isn't scared. And neither am I.