Okay so now that we've gotten all the celebrating out of the way, let's get real here. We still have a long way to go.
After explaining to a friend that I don't pay to schedule professional photos because I cringe at every photo of me riding and I can't imagine shelling out money in advance for photos I haven't even seen yet, she nudged her photographer friend who, in a well-meaning manner, decided to take photos of me anyway. Which was a very nice gesture.
Don't get me wrong, the candids are adorable and I might buy one of them when I have the funds. Like this one, or this one, or maybe this one. And the photos are very high quality. As for my riding, well, that's another story.
What the photos show is that, more often than not, my horse is behind the vertical and overflexed, my reins are too long, and I'm leaning forward. My elbows appear to defy gravity. My left wrist has a horrible break in it. I am staring at my horse's neck in almost every shot. As for the canter, while there are moments where I'm actually sitting up, this is a two-point, and this is just standing up out of the tack. And don't even get me started on the zig-zag leg yield, which earned us a 5.0/5.5. Not our best, but I knew it at the time, and it's still a hard movement for us. Tucker looks lovely here, and it felt lovely, but GOOD LORD, what am I doing up there?
(Also, as an aside that I include here purely for comedic value, if you have ever wondered what the most awkward human being on Earth looks like, she looks just like this. (It's totally okay to laugh.) I think I have some kind of disorder where I see photos of myself and I want to never leave my house again. Is that a real thing? Or just a normal thing that incredibly awkward people feel whenever their awkwardness is captured on film?)
So I know this post is going to sound like I'm being super hard on myself, and unnecessarily woe-is-me, and I know some of you may be thinking, "this brat came in second place and she's complaining, I am sick of reading this stupid blog," but my point is that even when we have a really successful day, there is plenty to work on. Denny Emerson posted a quote on his facebook wall that of course I can't find, but it said something like, "If you lose, go home and try to make it better. And if you win, go home and try to make it better."
If you are a video person, and all the links above were too annoying to click through:
There are parts that are great, which I highlighted in yesterday's feel-good post. There are also parts that are not so great, which we still need to work on. We have definitely made improvements in many respects, but that doesn't mean we're done. And that's probably the part of our sport that is equal parts frustrating and motivating -- there is ALWAYS room for improvement.