So I signed us up for classes while Daughter tacked up Pippi. There were quite a few horses around, and a lot of familiar faces.
I removed my sons sweatpants; it was the only thing I could think of that would fit over my breeches. I changed into my boots, and show shirt, and show jacket, so now I looked the part of a seasoned equestrian. "Fake it 'till you make it" is my mantra.
After the "in hand classes,'' of which there were few, Daughter schooled Pippi, and then it was my turn. Pippi seemed calm, and not too bothered by the new surroundings. She became a bit jumpy near one jump, and hopped a bit, which for some reason just calmed me down. Her reaction to "arena ghosts" gave me something to deal with, so my nerves were gone. (I have never "dealt" with it before, so it was a new experience.)
I entered the arena again for my class.
At the shows last year, the announcers would always say "Judge, that is your class. You are now being judged at the walk." So I expected to hear that, so I would know the class had started. Of course, I had only heard that from the sideline, but was just so sure that is how it would go. I was riding along at a walk, when Karen spotted me as she sat close to the arena. She had seen Pippi, and assumed Daughter was competing she later told me, her jaw dropped and she exclaimed "oh my God," which made me laugh. Right then the announcer says "Trot, trot you horses." What? Huh? The class has started? Oh Crap!!
Pippi went into a nice trot with hardly a cue from me, and I watched my diagonals. I was off, bounced twice, and found my rhythm. Head up, pleasing expression, slight smile, check me out! yes!!!
"I am a GREAT rider, Riding a GREAT horse," I say to myself over and over.
"Walk, walk your horses." Nice transition, no more than two strides.
"Halt, Halt your horses." Can do!
"Reverse, and continue at a walk." Nice tight turn, check reins, okay.
"Trot, Trot your horses." No Worries, I got this!
We are now heading down the long side of the arena, and I am totally feeling great. And that is when it happened: SCREAACH< SCRATCH< WHINE< SCRATCH< Screeeeeeeech! SCURRY!
The speaker which was at this point right next to me, let out a loud screeching, popping, scratching sound for about 5 seconds. Pippi did not like it. Not at all. She hopped, small rearing hops, and was clearly agitated. I steered her toward the center a yard or two, away from the speaker, and any horse that may be near, sent her forward, and pointed her right toward the nearest Standard. (the fences had been removed to facilitate the flat class) She moved forward, still hopping, and spotted the Standard, which then commanded her attention. It is not as though she would want to walk into it. I steered her around it, all the while at the Trot, and we were off. And I thought; "I DID IT!" No matter what happened the rest of they day, I had in my mind made it. No Ribbon would match the pride I felt in having handled that moment like I did. I knew what I was doing, I knew how to get her attention back, and we were okay. Pippi and I had WON!
"Walk, Walk your Horses." Transitioned nicely, but could have been shorter.
"Halt, halt your Horses." Okay. No problem, Pippi even squared up.
"Back up Five steps." Now I was a little nervous about that, Pippi tends to hate it, but she complied.
"Line up in the center of the ring." Wow, done already?
The horse next to me was quite agitated, and Pippi picked up the agitation virus right away. She was hard to keep standing, but the judge came over and told me that I was on the wrong diagonal once. Thank you I said, and smiled. I figured she was letting me know why I placed last. I counted the horses, and there were six in the class. They were announcing the placings, as Pippi was being bumped a bit by the agitated horse, I decided to leave the arena quickly. All of a sudden I heard my name. What? They had only said a couple of names, what? I exited and Daughter was smiling from ear to ear; "You got third Mom. Third!" My friends were clapping, and I was astounded! THIRD? YAY! Hi Fives all around!