Friday, June 3, 2011

Memory Lane Friday - 6th Grade

This week's Memory Lane Friday topic is "6th Grade." For some reason, I'm not remembering anything specific from school for 6th grade. But I'[m pretty sure the horse memory I'm thinking of was from my my year in 6th grade. Yes, of course, I have to write about an equestrian memory . . .

This memory is from a spring horse show toward the end of the school year (probably over a whole weekend), or maybe during the course of a few days, right after the school year ended.

I had my gray horse, Chico; he and I made a great team. We were so in tune with each other, he'd become known as a "push button" horse. That means that you could basically just think of what you wanted him to do, and he'd do it, with only the slightest of cues from the rider's (in other words MY) legs, seat, and hands.

Anyway, we'd gone to this show in town, and I was so excited. It was basically down the road from the stable where Chico was boarded, so we didn't have to trailer him and stay in a hotel overnight (which was fun - don't get me wrong, but sometimes it was nice to show near home). And it was a BIG show, which made it even more exciting.

Well, one of these days of showing, Chico and I were in an "over fences" class, meaning that riders would go into the ring one at a time and jump a combination of fences (or "jumps"). This particular class was a "hunter class," being judged on how nice and smooth the horse went around the course; if it looked like the horse was super easy to ride around the course, then the rider did it right.

I memorized the course, and then Chico and I headed into the ring, when they called my number. We were going around nice and smooth. Now, I'm not sure exactly what happened next, but Chico and I came around a corner to a fence mid-course, and for some reason (probably mostly rider-error/maybe part horse error), Chico refused the fence. He basically just slammed on the breaks right before the jump. That caused me (at 11-12 years old, or thereabouts) to do a somersault over his head, landing on my back, right onto the little flower box right that decorated the front of the jump. I landed on that thing just above the kidney area.

It knocked the wind out of me, of course. And it startled me, more than anything else. As I tried to sit up, I saw a familiar face running toward me. It was my dad. He had gotten off work and had headed over to the show area in hopes of watching me ride a bit. I'm assuming that since my mom was there watching, she had sent him out to see if I was okay.

I was okay, of course, after catching my breath, my pride taking the most damage. My riding instructor had caught Chico, and led him back to me. Once I got up and indicated I was okay, my dad left the ring, leaving the pep talk to my instructor. She told me to get right back on, which I did (with a leg up from her). I don't remember the pep talk, but I do remember being ready to get right back on, in hopes that I could finish the course.

She told me to trot right over to the judges' stand to ask if I could take that one refused fence before I left the ring. I was nervous about doing that, but I didn't question her. I just did it, lightbulb going on over my head, realizing I wouldn't be able to finish the rest of the course - but hoping I could do just that one fence.

I remember asking, "May I jump that one jump before leaving the ring?" and getting a "Yes. Good job getting right back on, young lady."

So I went and did that one jump Chico had refused, and then trotted out of the ring. With a quick "I'm okay" to my mom and dad, and a "What now?" to my coach, I was told I could head back to the barn and put Chico up for the night (remember, this show was near the stable where we kept Chico). That class had been my last of the day.

As I rode Chico up the path from the show to the stable, I suddenly started crying. I was really upset that I'd fallen off. Okay, it happens sometimes, and I wasn't hurt, but it was the last class of the day. I was crying with disappointment at how I ended that day of showing.

Anyway, I guess I was also crying because I was a pre-teen and, well . . . you know how hormonal and upset pre-teens can get, right? I was just plain upset!

I did, however, wake up the next day with a big, ol' rectangular bruise on my back. I was actually a bit sore from the fall, but it didn't affect my ability to show the next day.

Here's a photo from that very same show. It was a day when I'd won some ribbons, and for one class, even some money for coming in 3rd or 4th place! (I remember a check having been stapled to the back of my ribbon.)

This was in the day before we were required to wear ASTM/SEI riding helmets. Photo ©Rick Bate

Thanks form stopping by and reading today's memory. I appreciate it. Come back next week when we have another "No Theme" Memory Lane Friday!

Memory Lane Friday is hosted by Lisa at Two Bears Farm. Please click on the button below to read her entry, as well as other contributors' entries:


Trisha said...

WOW! So glad to hear you were ok! I always heard getting right back up was the thing to do, but I would have been scared :)

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Ah yes, the dreaded get.back.on. You just suck it up and do it, as long as you're awake. ;-)

Debbie @ Swampbilly Ranch said...

What a great story. Great character at such a young age.

Michaele said...

Neat story! That is really you on the horse? Cool shot!

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