When your horse is THAT horse and you're THAT rider at the show.

And now I present the finale.

After tacking up, AC headed off to stadium. I had untacked but before she left, AC recommended we school in the empty dressage arena (there were two but one was no longer in use). I tacked back up (this time with protector vest since we were xc schooling after AC's stadium round) and went to mount up.

Did I mention I just bought an Ecogold Triple Protection Pad? Well, funny thing - it adds a bit of bulk initially but you can still tighten the girth appropriately. Only, in order to have an appropriately tight girth, you have to actually tighten it. I did not. I tightened initially but didn't do that second check. You know, the one where you get the girth tight enough?

Here's what happens when you don't tighten the girth enough.

You go to mount up but the saddle slips as you sling your leg over. Your horse will buck because she's a redheaded devil-monster dragon-mare with need for delicacy and will politely tell you to f*** off because HOW DARE YOU LET THE SADDLE SLIP, YOU DIRTY PEASANT! 

You'll then land on the asphalt (but thankfully wearing your vest) and watch as your horse sets their own Preakness record running around the show grounds with the saddle under their belly. You will plead with the show gods to not let her ruin anyone's warm up and then helpless gaze on as she mysteriously avoids main warm up areas. "Praise Jesus" you will think. Right before she jumps into the one dressage ring still running classes. And someone is in there. On their horse. Riding their test.

And your horse is in there too.

(I'm going to let that soak in a bit).

Yep, my horse just crashed another rider's test. That's MY horse out there, well, in there. That's MY fiery redheaded dragon-mare. And I'm THAT rider, running over to the arena as quickly as you can when you have a michelin vest wrapped around you and tall boots on.

Blessed AC had gotten off Java and trotted her over to Dassah who was SO VERY glad to see her frienemy. The mother of the rider in the ring (you know, the one whose test was so ungraciously interrupted) kindly had the saddle off before I even got there and didn't say one mean thing to me. She asked if I was okay and helped me arrange the tack in my hands. Bless her heart. I mean it.

I begged forgiveness from the rider and she responded with, "Well, it was a hot mess anyway!" So.... I guess I'm thankful for her bad ride in some twisted way.

I apologized profusely to her again and again and then to her mom and then to the ring steward and the judge.

Dassah danced beside me as we walked back to the trailer. I'm not going to say she was proud of herself but she was a little obnoxiously okay with the whole thing. I will say I am proud of myself because I did not lose my temper or beat my horse.

Instead we tacked back up and found a much taller structure to mount from. Then we went into the empty dressage ring and walked around. I practiced my test and let her breathing recover.

The rest is pretty uneventful, respectively.

AC's stadium round was beautiful. We went xc schooling and jumped ditches, logs, coops, and did our first down-bank! I think the bank was a beg.nov or nov. level - Dassah needed a lead from Java once at the beginning but after that, we ran it several times without issue. We did one of those hill jumps where you trot up a bank, jump a log, and trot down the bank. It.was.SO AWESOME!

You might think we may have done too much one day. It is true we accomplished a lot. But excepting for 3 minutes in warm up, 2 minutes of dressage and 2 minutes in our stadium round, we really didn't do anything but attempt to walk. I had so much horse left after xc, it was ridiculous.

You might read this story in horror that anyone would lay claim to owning such a beast. You might wonder why I would keep such a drama queen when there are thousands of well-behaved geldings out there.

Here's the thing. I really do like this horse. We've gone through hell and high water. She.does.not.quit. It's taken 7 years to get to where we are (which, I know isn't much to speak of) but I started out as kid whose only equestrian tutoring was in 4-H and even then, I didn't have my first real lesson until 6 years ago. I was horse crazy as a kid, we had so many, but we only went trail-riding on our property.

I have dedicated these past 7 years to learning everything I can, absorbing everything I can, and attempting to develop a horse who really shouldn't exist. And aside from a grand total of 10 months, we've been doing this all by ourselves. I've overcome broken bones, fears, defeat, self-loathing, tears, and regret. I'm not saying that to be successful you have to go through what I did. And we are NOT successful but I am saying that our journey is completely acceptable. That in case this is your experience too, it's okay to have this experience. It's also completely ok if you don't want this experience at all. We are each our own person and our own experience.

I'm riding the horse I have. Even in her worst moments, she's all mine.


  1. Omg Dassah!!!!! What a drama queen!!! Glad you were otherwise unscathed from the slipped saddle tho. And also that xc school sounds awesome!! I hear you completely on loving the horse and the experience and the journey. Dassah is lucky to have you and it sounds like even with her expressive and dramatic nature, she's a pretty cool horse. Next time more pictures!!! :)

    1. Drama Queen should be her show name. Her barn name should be something about being a Diva. Because she is one. Drama Diva maybe?

      Yes, pictures are a must!

  2. That was you! We saw the whole running around jumping in the dressage ring bit but not you coming off. I'm actually glad to hear that the rider (you) weren't hurt. Well the good news is that the minute a person decides to judge you for your horse, the day you had or anything else is the day it happens to them. Horses are humbling like that. I'm glad you finished out the day well!

    1. hhaha. now you can say you know who that horse and rider were! I'm so grateful I had my vest on- that asphalt was nasty.

      Lord, horses are SO humbling. It's so true though, pride cometh before a fall. Which means that maybe I've been too judgy! Lesson learned!


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