Megan vs. Stuart, Part 2: A comedy of errors

Megan Kaiser has a goal: To compete at Beginner Novice at Stuart Horse Trials next weekend. For Megan, a working mom with a 21-y/o horse, it’s kind of a big deal. She’s letting HN tag along.This week, Megan recounts her last encounter with Stuart Horse Trials several years. It was, shall we say, a learning experience.

From Megan:

As I noted in my prior entry, we did Novice at Stuart a couple years ago. There were high points and comical low points.

Before I begin I have to preface this story by saying, prior to this appearance, my mom had been to one horse-related event in the past 27 years. When I was 10, at a local hunter show, I was riding Andrew: a lesson horse who was good for one stop every other course.  In one of our jumping classes I took the fence and he did not. My mother declared she was unable to handle it, she would drop me off at whatever time I needed to be at the barn, but she wasn’t able to watch me ride–no lessons, no shows, nothing. In retrospect this was very smart on her part: How many hours did she get out of standing around at horse shows in the heat and snow? Smart lady. So, let’s just say she’s not up to speed on dressage etiquette. Now, on to the comical low points.

Dressage was slightly terrifying because as I entered the ring there was this announcement: “Everyone must go to their trailers right now–I mean it, right now, run. And when you get there and load up, ramps up, and everything: The world was coming to an end due to a lightning storm, you will die if you don’t, (slight pause) unless you are in the ring: Please complete your test.”

OK, maybe I’m being a bit over-dramatic, but that’s what I heard. I was a little discombobulated by this but made it through the test. Then I looked up after we halted and who is it there is standing right next to the judges booth: my mother. She is smiling, waving, and mouthing “HI HONEY!” I don’t think she was totally thrilled when I didn’t wave back. Briefly my mess of test went away, until I realized it was dark as night and saw the lightning….

Yes, dressage is most definitely our weakest link (way beyond the weather mishaps). I’m still have trouble getting him to notice the person on his back unless there are jumps involved, and he believes you get extra credit for the fastest test. His logic is that by going fast you are keeping the show moving–no delays people! I’m still working on figuring out how to convince him otherwise. I get nervous and this just makes it worse; I get nit-picky, and he doesn’t appreciate it. He knows the goal is “fast,” so why am I bothering him? Did I mention he is an OTTB? Seventeen years off the track, but you never know, they may come and take you back to that place with the little tiny start boxes!!!!!!!! A million excuses, but I really do know it’s all me and I have no problem admitting it and I am trying, I promise.

We went clean cross country. This was the highlight and something I’m still very proud of. In stadium we pulled a couple rails, but Novice stadium is high for us: I have a personal three foot jumping limit and he has old man hocks. The biggest issue is I also tend not to ride until halfway through the stadium course. (In our only event last year, I did better about this… it was a nice round until they blew the whistle for being off course.)

We also learned not to park the truck pitched at an angle because whatever it is that takes the gas from the tank can’t do that if all of the gas has collected, due to gravity, on the other side of the tank.  You then have to call your trainer’s fiancé and explain that you aren’t really out of gas, but you need some or you aren’t going anywhere–which he finds very funny.

So, here are some things I learned a bit about in our prior outing: Techniques of how to get out of long hours of standing around at horse shows (feign concern for your daughter’s life), meteorology, my personal issues that prevent an even somewhat decent dressage test and stadium trip, physics, and automotive workings.  I wonder what I’ll learn this year… I hope it will involve the credit card, the shops, and silent auction!

Until next time…

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