There were quite a few horses left in my division as we wrapped up XC, but as we took the nice long walk back to the barns, I realized that I finished in at least 3rd. I was WILDLY happy with that, especially given how much trouble I saw a lot of riders having.
By the time I cooled May out and changed back into clothing that wasn’t hot pink, I had a couple of texts come through my phone. Turns out, we had moved up another placing to finish in 2nd out of 14! By far our best showing ever at the level. WOO HOO!
Of course, this also meant I took a look at the scoreboard myself. In my division of 14 riders, only 2 of us finished on our Dressage score. 1 person was eliminated in SJ and 2 people were eliminated in XC. The average finishing score was a 42.4%. Of course, this meant I needed too look at the rest of the open BN divisions. Of the 5 Open BN divisions, there were 72 pairs that started the weekend and only 18 of those pairs finished on their dressage score, so only about 25%.
While I think a number of factors came into play, it was pretty clear that this weekend was a big ask for all the BN riders, so I am wildly proud of our performance. May clearly thought this meant she was entitled to more cookies (She was right). I headed out to look at pictures (which are amazing and huge thank you goes to Xpress Foto for getting them!), and then I headed over to the awards booth to pick up my ribbon and prizes.
After grabbing my massive ribbon, I started wandering back to the barn, and honestly, I got a bit teary eyed. This was our last horse show before California, and it was such a demonstration of how much this community has become a part of my family. From my barn mates cheering me on and helping me out to friends outside the barn coming to check in and following my progress on startbox to Holly making silly faces with me at the XC startbox and cheering me on. (Seriously, that girl had the hardest job all weekend.)
I am excited about California, but I am painfully aware of all the things we are leaving behind. May has been happy here, I have been happy here. Under Mandy and with the encouragement of my whole barn family, my riding and our partnership has come SO far. From terrified of the starter fences to thinking the Novice stuff looks fun. From struggling to get the distances in SJ to easily getting down the lines and jumping clear.
So I took my little walk back to reflect on how hard everyone has worked for us for this weekend to come together the way it did and how happy I am to have been on this journey with my little, yellow mare.