So when we last left off, after waffling back and forth about who would ride Leo at the Virginia HT, I finally submitted the entry under Trainer B then tried on show clothes.
Well, I had decided that damnit, I wanted to ride. So I prepared a speech and practiced said speech on the way up to a lesson, fully prepared to deliver it once we had wowed Trainer B with how amazing we were.
Then neither Leo nor I could get ourselves together over GROUND POLES without one or both of us freaking out. So I figured it wasn’t quite time to pull out the speech, and went home slightly defeated.
So the next lesson, I had just resigned myself to let Trainer B ride him, seeing as it was 1.5 weeks away from the show and we were still working on canter transitions. Then I packed all my show clothes (because…psycho) and off to VA we headed.
We arrived Thursday afternoon, and I got Leo settled, then tried to find time to sneak off to go look at XC, which I figured would be my deciding factor. If there was something on course that I thought would be super spooky, then I’d let it be and have Trainer B ride. But soon after I arrived, we all headed off to dinner and of course while we were out it started POURING, so when I got back on the grounds, there was no way I could see any of the jumps in the rain and the dark (believe me, I tried and looked like a drowned rat for my troubles).
The next AM, I got to the barn, we fed all the horses, did stalls and then I snuck out to go RUN the course before the day really started. If you don’t know, the rule for recognized HTs is that only the competitor can ride the horse on the show grounds, and the schedule for that day had Trainer B doing dressage in the 3* and then after that, riding his other 2 horses + Leo that afternoon. So I finally had to make the decision.
And…XC was tiny. So tiny, in fact, that I mistook a few Novice fences for Starter (2’3″) and was even a bit disappointed in how little everything looked. But of course, the size of the fences wasn’t the point, just getting Leo to understand the job was. But still.
But that clinched it for me. Now I just had to tell Trainer B he’d lost the ride.
As we walked to dressage, he said we’d go check out the Starter later on. I figured that was as good an entry point as any and said, “Well, I already walked it.”
Trainer B: And?
Me: It looks tiny.
Trainer B: Too bad you’re not riding.
Me: I know.
Trainer B: Do you want to ride?
Trainer B: Seriously?
Trainer B: Do you have your stuff?
Trainer B: Even your show clothes?
Trainer B: They might charge you $25 to change it.
Me: Actually it’s $50.
Trainer B: Did you plan this?
So we made it official in the show office, then I hopped on Leo and we had an amazing ride around the enormous show grounds to prepare him for the madness of dressage the next day.