Everything was mapped out, from the trailer ride, the feed bags, and even the "show clothes". I was so eager and excited for the show the next day I laid in bed for hours trying to force myself to go to sleep.
He looked up from his pile of morning hay as I approached him quickly, panting and heart racing from the steep incline and the nerves. I slipped the halter over him and lead him down the driveway. Mom was now parked at the base, but the trailer was still no where to be seen. Across the street at the community baseball field parking lot was where we were to meet. So with an arm-full of equipment and a horse on the end of my lead, I crossed the street and waited in the empty parking lot.
I stood in the empty parking lot, my Mom now asking if I knew how to get there. I swallowed. I had been to the Bainbridge Saddle Club once with LF, and thought I remembered how to get there. With the trailer out of sight there wasnt the option to follow it.
Now that I knew where my horse was who was safe and sound munching on hay, I had to find the show office to sign up for classes. My Mom in tow, we set off across the grounds in search of the show office. We found it, located next to the arena. I proceeded to look at the class shedule and was really confused by what they meant. Hunter on the Flat? 18" Cross Rails? Equitation? I didnt know what any of this meant. I stared blankly at the sheet, embarassement for my Mother to see my ignorance creeping up. I got lucky and a kind trainer who was friends with LF and generally knew my riding level chose four classes for me to enter, telling me the numbers of each and handing me the patterns to memorize for my two hunter courses. The $50 I handed over to the show steward felt huge, and my Mom's watchful eyes showed her agreement in that assumption.
I mounted up but seemed to forget about warming up. I stood at the in gate for the arena waiting to hear my class number called and watching the classes being run. Mom, Dad, and Sister found a seat on the bleachers, while my Friend stayed with me for company. My first class was an Equitation class, so I didnt have to worry about the pattern yet. My class number was called and we all filed into the class. This was a walk/trot/canter class judging equitation, but I just knew to listen to the announcer as he would tell me what to be doing. We walked, trotted, and cantered as instructed and had a direction change. Koalty was performing just as I asked him to do and just like at home. We were asked to line up, and I had to watch the other riders to understand what that meant.
The announcer called out the numbers, and I froze, forgetting what the one pinned to my back was. Oh right, 272, I remembered. 272, 272, 272... My number was never called, but there were other people in the class who were called either, it was a rather large class. I wasnt too disappointed, as this was my very first time out. We left the arena, and I waited for my next class again.
I read over the pattern for the next class, 18" cross rails, and felt prepared again to enter. Trotting the first circle, I asked Koalt to canter and pointed him at the first cross rail. The small jump felt huge but after a few jumps I started to relax. I relaxed too much in fact, and soon was blindly looking around the arena, not remembering which jump came next. Do I approach this one? Or that one? I crookedly maneuvered Koalt towards one the wrong direction and jumped the cross rail. Immedietly the announcer said "Thank you, rider". I loped around a little longer, not sure what that meant. Seeing the exit gate open up, I realized my mistake. Exiting at a slow walk, I felt embarrased.