Seeing a rainbow on your drive must mean good things will happen. Right? Right.
Also I did not crash after taking this picture
Don't bring your goat to the championships. Or your tiny, incessantly whiny dogs. Seriously on the goat, wtf? I kept wondering if someone was planning barbacoa for dinner one night because why else would you bring a goat to a horse show? And no, it wasn't in a stall keeping a horse company. I checked. Oh and while I adore dogs at shows (I tried to steal three corgis and a pyr, but no luck), your whiny dog needs to stay home. Especially if you're going to leave it crated in your tack stall overnight because you can't bring it to the hotel.
It's great reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. And I love how supportive everyone is. Any time I saw someone I knew, we'd stop to chat for a moment, commiserate on the bad rides, and celebrate the good ones. I know that dressage riders are viewed as DQs, and that can certainly be an accurate stereotype. But even with their fancy horses and pricey clothes, they are often also really good, kind people who are supportive of each other, and that's pretty awesome.
For those of us with less-than-fancy horses, doing well at championships is all about riding the perfect test. Most of my classes had one or two riders around 70, then maybe a 68 and 67, but the majority of the scores fell in the 64-65% range. Even one point on a test (not one percentage point, one single point) could affect your standing dramatically. I missed the 6th place ribbon in one test because of a point. I've never wished that I had made a rounder 20 meter circle in my life. So you need absolute accuracy and a mistake-free test to do well - but you CAN do well, even without the fancy warmblood. Oh and speaking of scores, expect to score 2-5% worse in a championship class than you normally do. Ouch.
Hint: I'm the 65.909. That might even be a half-point difference.
It really is all about the satin. Coming into this show, I secretly wanted to bring home a ribbon. I didn't even care what place, I just wanted one. And... mission accomplished. I even got to ride in the awards ceremony, where I managed not to cry (and I'm so not a crier)... but for an AA who has struggled most of her life at schooling shows, it was an experience I won't soon forget. There is something really gratifying about all your hard work when you get that stupid, cheap, big-ass fake satin ribbon. Judge me all you want, I'll happily take that ribbon and cherish it for a long, long time.
And this handsome fellow made it all possible. :)