The big day finally arrived!
We had walked the course a couple of times the night before. I had run through it about 1 billion times in my mind. I walked it again in the morning. I was feeling confident in the plan and the jumps didn’t look scary at all. We’d jumped much bigger and more challenging questions in schooling, so the BN course looked positively easy – if I could stay focused and ride the plan.
I didn’t ride until slightly after noon. It was, once again, hot hot hot. But I was very excited to suit up in my cross country gear, which I have been slowly collecting for about nine months. It was finally time to wear it!
The warm up was just fine, and then we hung out in the shade for awhile before our start time.
We headed over to the start box and it all came crashing over me in one big realization: I was about to go cross country! Finally! This is something I’d been dreaming of doing for years. I had the biggest grin on my face and I was just so overwhelmed with excitement and happiness that I actually cried. Yeah, I was that girl, crying at the start box.
I remembered to start my watch at the right time, and off we went! Stryder blasted out of there like his tail was on fire. That horse loves cross country. Jumps 1 and 2 came up right away and were pretty straightforward. They rode well. Stryder peeked a tiny bit at jump 3, which was a dark colored jump in the shadows. After fence 4 we should’ve been at the 1-minute mark, and we were like 15 seconds up on the time already. Oops. Slow down, buddy!
The rest was smooth sailing. No problems at the cheese wedge, or the ditch, or the tricky fence 10 that they hid around a tree line. He wiggled a little before the up bank but a little right leg fixed it and up we went. He didn’t balk at the electric blue water, and we charged over the last two fences to the finish, coming in about 14 seconds under the time. Double clear!!
It all went by so fast (just about 4 minutes, in fact!). Stryder hunted down every fence. It was the best feeling. Amazing.
The other best feeling? Having such an amazing team behind us! When we were done, two people took Stryder to untack and cool him down, while another helped peel off my layers of vests and pinny and helmet and gloves. I’m just so honored and humbled to be part of this team.
After awhile, the results were posted and one of my teammates announced the news: I won!
I may have burst into tears again.
The really cool part is that one of my teammates also won the Novice division! Go team! It was such an amazing weekend.
I am still suffering from my post-show hangover – especially since there are no more shows on my calendar (or in my budget) for this year. It was so awesome, I just want to do it again!