As you guys may know from following along either here on my blog or on my instagram that I have been working with my filly for two years to get her up and going to compete this coming year. It has been an amazing learning experience that has taught me so much about myself, my abilities and how I need to continue to be uncomfortable in situations to improve. I had my first competition on Saturday and lets just say that it was less than ideal, but I found out a lot about my partner and what I need to work on moving forward.
Heres a little run down on how the day went: I showed up about 3 hours before my run in Queen Creek Arizona for a pen that was sized to be like the NFR size pattern. When we got there, there were about a hundred trailers all over the facility with very limiting parking. Come to find out when we went to check in and see where we would be running that they had a World Series Roping event going on in the arena next to us. As well as a jumping show in the arena across from it. So imagine this all three different disciplines sharing the only one warm up arena on the property. Granted I want to get into rodeo and my horse needs to get used to riding with ropers and lots of people but it was a lot for our first outing. You had people swinging ropes right next to you, your horses feet and you had people squeezing in between places that weren't even big enough for them in the first place. She was nervous as all get out and I was nervous for this being our first run so the warm up was quite a stressful place but we focused on small minor things to keep her focused and not stressed.
I rode with my friends who were competing in the open so my horse could see all of the sites and when they were done we took our time getting ready for my run. As we slowly made our way down there and walk up to arena they were calling my name to go....that is when my blackout happened.
I literally had to hop on and walk into this arena and just go. I did not prepare myself like I like to and think about what I needed to do, so no it was not pretty and I didn't do her justice in running her. This was also the first time that I had ever not done time onlies before we ran or ran in this arena. But the best part of this experience was when I went in there she could careless about the people watching or the tractor she was so focused on completing this pattern and running home. That right there shows me that all of my hard work is paying off because I have a horse that loves her job and knows what she is doing even when I am not there to help her.
I am learning so much about my horse and myself. I have to be able to adapt to new styles, improve myself and make this a fun experience for both of us.
Overall here are some key take aways from my first competition and first futurity:
-Things never go as planned: You might have an idea of how your first day should look or feel but you have to roll with the punches and do the best you can do with whatever might be unplanned
-Find the good in your run: Analyze what you did and figure out the positive of the experience no matter what it looked like.
-Notice the things you can improve on: Watch your video, look through pictures and pick apart your riding or your horse and see what you need to work on next time
-Don't compare yourself to others: I sat there and did this myself watching other people run there futurity horses and compared myself but now reflecting you know what, this whole experience is brand new to me and I'm learning as I'm going.
-Thank your animal: Thank them for trying and keeping you safe