The Not-Show No-Prep

Remember what my main goal for 2017 was? Ah, that’s right: to chill the eff out about being so insanely competitive with myself. So we have our move up horse trial this weekend and I’ve decided to take the “Oh, it’s no big deaaaaaal, it’s fiiiine, not even worriiiieeed, I’ll pack laterrrr…” nonchalant approach. Because if I pretend it’s NBD, my myriad neuroses seem to be able to keep themselves contained.

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Normally I’m the queen of pre-show lists. I have lists of lists. Pages of shit to do, when to do it, what to pack, things planned down to the minute, etc. It’s part of what feeds my crazy Type A control freak obsession. This time I’m taking the opposite approach.

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so chill

My prep this week has been bare minimum. I learned my dressage test on Wednesday and ran through it once (technically we rode it twice last year, so it’s not totally unfamiliar to me) and I’ll run through it another time or two tomorrow. I cleaned up Henry’s tail and gross fetlock hair when I clipped him a couple weeks ago, so I haven’t really touched him at all. He got new shoes yesterday, but that’s about it. My tack will get wiped down tomorrow but I’m not taking it all apart and conditioning it to perfection. I guess I might polish my boots (wearing the brown ones, because so casual) and I’ll pull out my nice helmet. I’m even using my blue “schooling” Majyk Equipe XC boots instead of our fancy “show whites”. So far the only thing I’ve packed is my stud kit, in case it rains. Normally an event takes up every waking thought for at least a week beforehand, but I’ve managed to prevent myself from devoting that much thought to it.

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important things

But really, we’re approaching this as one big schooling opportunity. I’m not braiding. I’m not wearing a watch on XC. I’m not even wearing a show coat. These are very weird concepts to me, but I think they’ll help my brain remember that we’re here to get experience, not to compete. The goal is to not fall off and not get eliminated. If I can like… stay chill and not ride like a drunk monkey, that would be a bonus. Aiming high over here. But after a couple years of always feeling lots of pressure, and sometimes crumbling under it, I have to admit it’s pretty liberating.

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Yes, I am so free.

It’s nice to not be like “I have to get under X in dressage if I want any chance of placing, and I def can’t afford a rail blah blah blah, and I have to get my qualification for X”. I do not give two shits. We can finish dead freaking last… as long as we finish, I’ll be thrilled. Big fat whatevs. We’re just gonna do our best and have fun with it.

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That’s how I’m playing it anyway. Gotta somehow make this attitude channel all the way through the weekend. Oh, and if the rain could hold off until after we run XC, that’d be great too.

22 thoughts on “The Not-Show No-Prep

  1. After putting major pressure on myself in my 2015 show season, in 2016 I was infinitely more chill about shows. It worked out well for me, I think it will work even better for you and Henny! Rain rain, stay away, I want to watch Amanda and Henny jump all the big jumps! (I tried and failed to sort out a rhyme for that last bit haha.

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    1. Their schooling shows use the same courses as their recognized, so it’s both nice and yet also slightly more daunting. It’s pretty inviting though, except for the cliff of death. I mean Irish Bank.

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  2. Sometimes it’s nice to head out with no expectations. Usually that’s when the you get the best results. Kudos for being chill about the whole thing! I’m excited to hear how everything goes!

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  3. Good approach. Schooling is schooling. Being really clear about my own expectations and goals relating to whether I’m there to compete or to school has been really helpful for me. Like in instances where on xc something could be ridden more than one way – I can easily make my decision on how to ride it based on my goals. If I’m schooling? A bending like on a related distance that’s numbered separately is almost always going to get a circle between them, for instance. Even if I think we probably could do it just fine. Bc schooling. Regardless I think you guys are gonna kill it. You don’t need much prep now bc you’ve been laying the foundation for months. Have a great time and good luck!!!!

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  4. riding the red mare cured me of my show nerves. I knew no matter what I did I’d be dead last after dressage. It actaullY REALLY helped with my anxiety and while we never won anything, we usually finished in the top 6! and i ALWAYS had fun 🙂

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    1. It’s definitely a possibility for us to be dead last after dressage, especially this time around (we haven’t had a dressage lesson since, uhh… August?). Whatever. I care more about the jumps!

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  5. I agree with previous comments that schooling is schooling. If stuff goes wrong you can just go with it. Well that’s easy for me to say I’m a dressage rider but you know what I mean. Enjoy the day!

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