Author: Lisa Spidell
January 19th 2016
We had a lot of snow and ice last winter so I wasn’t able to start riding Sweet Juicy until late March, and even then rides were few and far between until early May. We had the most snow we’ve had in years, and it took a while to melt.
Once the ice and snow finally melted, the horse world came alive again in our little part of the globe. I was able to attend a clinic mid May with Sophie Laverdiere which was a fantastic start to my juicy summer. Juice is lazy at the lope and Sophie was able to make her go, and have me make her go with a little resourceful use of the reins.
Encouraged from the Sophie Clinic, I was anxious to continue to train to get better. Next stop, Matt Hudson clinic in early June. Matt also worked with me on making Juice move. His focus was how I used my spurs. Relaxing my leg and only spurring when she slowed instead of having a bit of spur there all the time.
After the weekend with Matt Hudson I knew I had a lot to learn, and I was getting cold feet for the Donald Fancy Memorial Slide In Show which was coming up in a couple of weeks.
This would be the first horse show Juice ever competed in, and a I had only competed a couple of times on my first horse the previous year. We were both green reiners to say the least. I almost didn’t go, but my coach reminded me that you don’t get better at showing by not showing, so I went.
We arrived late Friday afternoon, June 19th. It was pouring raining outside, beating off the pavement. We parked as close as we could to the barn and started to unload, as if it were not raining at all. We all know you dress for conditions when travelling with horses.
After the horses were settled we changed into dry clothes and had supper, then saddled up and rode in the warm up pen. There were paid warm ups that evening and both my coach and I had paid for a spot. The paid warm up allows you to have the ring where you will show to yourself for 10 minutes and is popular because it lets your horse become accustomed to the ring, the stands, spectators etc. It also gives you a chance to run a few circles and get a feel for whether riding the rail at at a figure 8 would actually make two circles. Rings that are longer and more narrow make it harder for green riders to ride a reining pattern for obvious reasons, you can’t rely on the rail. You shouldn’t anyway but riding a pattern in a show is not like riding a pattern at home. There is more adrenaline and excitement when there is a judge and spectators and other competitors.
My first class was Saturday morning, and my score was 0. It was a decent ride over all, but at the end of the pattern you were to run down center, slide stop, back to center then spin 4 times each way and I spun 4 and a quarter times the last spins and ended up facing the judge instead of the far side of the arena.
It was a bit disappointing but I had SOOO much fun I decided to go in another class that evening. I scored a second 0 for stopping at center when I tried to get her to change leads. She is not a great lead changer under saddle and you really have to push her through center with all you have.
I was a bit discouraged after the first class, but now I was quite discouraged. I considered scratching the Sunday classes and working more at home then trying again at the next show, which was not until August 1st.
Once again my coach encouraged me not to give up. We were there, I had paid my entry fees. Cowgirl Up. So, once again, I did.
After I decided I was going to do it I was all in. I was focused on staying on pattern, just get a score, and get a score we did. We got a 59. Out of 70 that is certainly not great but to me it was incredible. We we leaving our first show as a team and her first show ever with a score!
Read My Juicy Summer 2015, Part 2