Currently, I am on my way to my very first show. It is strange that for me the show seemed an eternity away while I prepared for it, like something that would happen in the vague future. Only now, I as am making the final preparations, does it hit me that this is really happening. I will arrive at the grounds the day before the show, which begins on Saturday the 16th.
Wednesday, I did my last training preparations. Before I practiced any obstacle, I warmed up on my own, riding along the rail and maintaining an even, regular jog. I practiced turning around as I would in a pleasure class, making a wide tear drop shape at the walk, and later the jog. I even jogged a clover leaf through the box. Through all this, I did well.
Finally, I practiced the rope gate for the first time, which turned out to no trouble at all since I relaxed and went through it one step at a time, pausing to breathe and think between each step. First I had to line up parallel to the gate and put the reins in my right hand, as I would be opening a left handed gate. I grabbed the rope in my left hand, paused, then back Ruby a couple steps. Then I pushed her shoulders over so she was perpendicular to the gate. After waiting a couple of seconds, I pushed her shockers over again, waited, then backed up and put the rope back in place. It was simple, really. The only problem I had was the Ruby began to anticipate; she's a champion trail mule, and has won at the Extreme Trail Challenges–the ones where people ride across rugged terrain and through water and such. Needless to say, she knows her job. It's just up to me to take my time. As long as I do so, it should go well. I don't expect it to be a breeze, but I'm confident and prepared.
I leave Friday morning; I'm so excited. If you are friends with me on Facebook, you may pictures be posted over the weekend(I have to conserve my phone battery, so we'll see), and if you are not you are always welcome to friend me; just click the Facebook icon on the left-hand margin of this page, and go ahead and add me. Otherwise, you can see them next week when I update my blog.