VHT- Lessons Learned

After that whirlwind of a weekend, I’ve finally had some time to process. I was really grateful for the day off on Monday- horse show hangovers are definitely a real thing.

So here are some things I learned:

-I never want to to be a professional rider (not like there was a chance, but still).

It was impressive that one person can ride 4 horses 8 times in 3 different phases (2 Novice dressage, 2 Novice XC, 2 Training dressage, 2 Training SJ) in one day and not have to be peeled off the floor afterwards.

-Playing owner is not for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful that Trainer B rode P this weekend. Best decision ever, really. But handing my horse over to someone else made me realize how much I love competing. Not to mention I didn’t sit on my horse for 6 days, and I missed him.

-Even when things get busy, I really need to MAKE the time to get P out of his stall more often. 

I failed miserably at time management. We were busy from 7 AM-7 PM both days and I was so tired (even though I didn’t ride…) that after dinner I just went straight back to my trailer and passed out. But P was definitely itching to get out more, and I need to find the time to make that happen to keep him as happy as possible. Thank goodness for GastroGard.

-I need to (re)learn how to braid.

As a kid, I braided all the time. Not so much as an adult. In fact, I don’t think P has ever been braided. I didn’t realize this was a thing people did at the lower levels, but I only saw one horse that wasn’t braided for dressage (my kindred spirit, apparently), so ya, it’s a thing. And a thing I need to figure out how to do again. So if anyone can point me towards supplies that I need and perhaps a good tutorial video or two, I’d be much obliged.

-Showing with a team is 100000x better than showing alone. 

Still a concept very new to me. So much help was given: they all trooped out to XC and stood in the humid, muggy air to take videos/pictures, hung around to video P’s SJ round (he was the last ride of the day), helped with grooming, polishing hooves, grabbing last second forgotten items, braiding (another shoutout to E for that one!), and were just plain ol’ fun to be around. I’m such a shy person (introvert to the core) and quite socially awkward since I use up all my “coolness” for my job and have nothing left to give when not at work, but I really enjoy hanging out with them. Definitely better than getting Taco Bell and eating it alone in my horse trailer while reading a book. Except now I want Taco Bell. Oops.

-While I may never be the rider that Trainer B is, I do need to learn the ride he gives P.

Because, uhh, did we all just see my horse tearing up XC? I’ve probably watched that video no less than 500 times.

Favorite picture of him- look at those ears!

-Novice actually doesn’t look so bad. 

Yeah, that’s really  me saying it. Besides a couple of the jumps (like the table above), after walking the course I was wishing something fierce that I could ride. The course just looked like FUN.

-P can do Training.

When Trainer B said that to me, I really didn’t know what to with that information. Training isn’t something I saw anywhere in our future (if we’re being honest, I was thinking even BN was a lost cause…), but knowing that the next step up is well within his capabilities definitely makes me more confident that we can be successful at the level that we’re at now.

-But I need more XC schooling. 

At this point, since coming back to riding as an adult, P now has more XC experience than I do. Sure, only four minutes and thirty-seven seconds more, but it still counts. So if I want the same results with P, I’ve got to make that a priority.

-My horse is something special. 

Going to full-on, unashamedly brag here. The Novice Horse division was filled with quite a few amazing riders, including pros like Lainey Ashker, and a lot of SUPER nice horses. P on the other hand, has had 99% of his riding (and therefore training) done by me, a weenie adult ammy. Don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying had I been riding we would’ve gotten the same result (we also would’ve been in the Rider division), but clearly P isn’t as screwed up as I’ve sometimes let myself believe.

And I also have to mention the fact that P has never been to a show quite like VHT- the atmosphere was huge with so many things going on, he’s never been in an indoor like he was for SJ, and he totally stepped up. I was so impressed with him all weekend.

Mainly, I’m just still thrilled with my pony and soooo happy I’m getting to ride him again!

22 thoughts on “VHT- Lessons Learned”

  1. i’m so glad you guys had a good weekend, and i like a lot of your takeaways. esp the part about itching to get back in the saddle yourself and get back out there! also agreed 100% on the whole team aspect to showing. i have shown solo plenty in the past, and will continue to do so when circumstances call for it in the future… but showing with my friends adds an entirely new dimension to the experience that somehow makes the whole thing just that much more meaningful, special and fun.


    1. It was hard to get him ready than have someone else get on! But couldn’t have asked for P to have a better experience, so worth it. I jumped him yesterday for the first time in 2 weeks and it was magical!


  2. you got so many good things from this, it seems like the experience was absolutely worth it.

    I think at unrecognized shows nobody braids, but every recognized show ive been to (even at BN) I always braided. personally I like braiding, and P looks so shmancy all braided up anyway!!!

    i had a great tutorial i used to use, it was by BHS and it taught me how to sew them in and they were like iron.


    1. Totally going to look them up! He really did look super fancy with the braids- I can do banded ones but it’s been well over a decade since I’ve used yarn.


  3. Yup, riding 4 horses in one weekend at an event would probably put me in the hospital, lol. What a great opportunity this was for Pilgrim and you! You have every right to be so proud of him 🙂


  4. I have no idea how people ride more than one horse per outing! I’m always exhausted riding and caring for just one.


    1. Bahaha, right? I’d totally still be in bed if that had been me.

      And omg yeeees, such an introvert. Like, duck behind the kitchen counter when the UPS guy rings the bell kind of introvert.

      I was worn out just reading about all the contractors/painters coming and going at your house!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. When I lived down there, everyone in Area II braided for recognized or unrecognized no matter what level you rode at. I love my braideez (http://braideez.com/) for the easiest braiding on the planet that still looks legit. I did a blog review on them a couple years ago, too. I can’t say enough good things about them for someone that doesn’t want to/can’t do the traditional sew in braids.


  6. All good take aways and what a good outing for everyone. I taught myself to braid using you tube videos and just searched for what type I was looking for. I’m awful at them but I don’t really have the patience.


  7. OMG BRAIDING IS THE PITS!! Sure it looks nice, bla bla bla, but so does a neatly pulled mane that arches and flips around as your horse trots softly by. Plus I think it’s hysterical that it takes an hour to broad for 5mins of riding. But yet I still find myself braiding in the dark the morning of the show (but I cheat and use rubber bands bc I have brown yarn and black bands 😂 plus who can tell the difference on a trotting horse?) but it will be a cold day in hell before I braid on purpose for show jumping!!!! I NEED mane to grab as Chimi launches over the jumps!!!

    And FOR SURE your horse is a training horse!!! He’s so damn cool!!!


    1. 😂😂 And I had just shortened P’s mane and it looked so nice! But ya, all that time for just a few minutes? Seems like there are better ways to spend your time! At least to me, since time is something I NEVER have enough of.

      He really is super cool, isn’t he?! 😎


  8. I’m actually planning on doing a video tutorial on the different ways I braid including a few different versions of button braids (would already have it done but I pulled Gus mane a bit short, lol) but what you need is Quick Knot. I just recently had a chance to try them and I am a total convert. Easiest, quick and they look amazing.


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