My First USEA Horse Show
 By Madeirey   •   30th May 2011   •   7,287 views   •   27 comments
Recently I competed in my first ever USEA horse show at Greenwood, and this is my story.

Leading up to the event my stomach was hurting with nerves and I was worried if my horse Madeira was going to stop out at cross-country or if I would fall off.

What if. What if. What if.

The next day came, I got up and was so nervous. At times I thought I would throw up or get really sick.

“I can’t do this!” I was thinking.

We got to Greenwood four hours early so I could braid Madeira’s mane with my friend Darcy and watch others warm up. It was Saturday, the first day of a two day event. Today was the Dressage and the Show Jumping. When we got there my mom, dad and me unloaded Madeira and gave her hay and water. Then I went off with Darcy to watch my trainer’s cross-country round. She did awesome. She actually cleared the 6ft brush Weldon’s Wall! We watched some more people and then went to go braid our pony’s manes.

Soon it was time to get tacked up. I was so nervous - but I knew that once I was up on Madeira everything would be fine. Darcy and I headed to the warm-up grounds for Dressage. I hadn’t even looked at the dressage test, but I have done it so many times I know it by heart. When we were called I walked by the dressage stand so Madeira wouldn’t freak when we went by it in the arena. Then the Judges asked if I was ready? I nodded and said yes.

They rang the bell, and I began my test. I was very happy with it, it wasn’t my best ever and she was a bit stiff on the right rein, but she was all soft and supple and bending. I actually got an 8 on my left lead canter transition J. I came out smiling very big and was ready for show jumping.

My First USEA Horse Show

Getting ready for show jumping was a disaster. My mom didn’t have her bag which had my medical arm band on it and Madeira decided to go crazy and not listen to my hand at all. She would just throw her head in the air and get really long to the jump. So my dad had to rush back to the car, grab my mom’s bag, my running martingale, and my Waterford. Madeira was a lot better in the gear and we warmed up for jumping and went in the ring.

It went awesome!

The funny part was that my trainer said. “Ok, she is going to look at all the flowers and everything, but you just put your leg on, look up, sit up, and let her do her job.”

Madeira didn’t look at anything! I was so proud of her. My Mom and Dad took Madeira home after I gave Madeira a handful of treats so I could walk the Cross-country course. This was the real part that I was nervous about. I have never done a real cross-country course in a show and I was terrified.

By the 2nd day I was tied for 3rd out of 17. I personally thought the 1st place contender was cheating by using an intermediate horse in beginner. It’s not fair to have a horse of that level and then put it in beginner novice.

My friend James helped Darcy and I warm up through the cross rail and the vertical and oxer. When we attempted to go over a small log Madeira tried to run out a little, but I quickly corrected her and she popped over it with no fuss. She was going great that day. Then, they called my name and told me that I was up next. The nerves were back.

James came up to me and said “OK, I want you to keep your eyes up, sit up, and put your leg on all the way to the jumps. If she doesn’t listen to your leg the first time go right to your stick and give her a tap. If she doesn’t listen to that give her a smack and growl at her.” I said OK and nodded. “Ok, you will do great, I don’t care how you look going over the jumps, just don’t fall off.” He said. That got a laugh out of me.

I was using my friends cross-country watch for this because I don’t have my own.

“5-4-3-2-1 go. Have a nice ride!” said the start box people and we were away.

I started my watch and Madeira took off at a good canter. We came up on the first jump, a log and then another log on top of that with branches under it and a group of flowers on the side. Madeira went over it with ease. The next 3 also went without problems. When we were over the 4th jump it was a long gallop to the 5th so we gained ground to catch up to our time. Then Madeira spooked at a tree when we got close to it. I was half-halting as hard as I could to get her attention.

My First USEA Horse Show

Next, we went through a tree and bramble chute to a open field. As we were going through it, Madeira spooked again. I ended up loosing a stirrup and almost falling off. I have no idea how we made it over that jump.

The hard part was now over.

Through the water up over the white house to the mushroom jump then a while to a easy log jump like the first jump, a left hand turn to a sharp downhill then a sharp uphill to a good sized log at the very tippy top. Then an easy, really small up bank which had flowers underneath. Madeira cantered it and got a bad stride. I let my reins slip so Madeira could have her head to balance and we cantered on to the ditch - which was more like a down bank - but it went uphill a bit so they called it a ditch. After that you did a bending line to a good log under a tree with lots of flowers under it, then a barrel jump.

I looked at the eventing watch and it said 5 minutes. I was way ahead but I didn’t know the minimum and the optimum was 5’ 43” so I circled some before the last jump. As we were circling I somehow forgot that the optimum meant the max and not the minimum! For some reason I thought that it meant you had to go over it and cross the finish line at like 6 minutes. I didn’t realize my mistake until after I had loosened Madeira’s girth. Don’t think badly of me, but I actually started crying. I felt so bad, I felt that I let everyone down and that I let Madeira down. I wanted so bad to not have any time penalties, but I ended up with self-inflicting ones.

Keep in mind please this was my first event and my first real cross country course that was timed. I will never ever make this mistake again.

I untacked Madeira and rinsed her off, I was so proud of her for not stopping at anything and being such a good girl. I gave her a bunch of treats after she had cooled off and talked with my friends. I somehow ended up in 4th. I went berserk. This was my first ever USEA show and I came in 4th!
Horse News More In This Category:  Shows and Events      Horse News More From This Author:  Madeirey
Congrats on your first event!! Madiera looked fabulous and so do you!! Its great to have the chance to get out there and learn everything. Next time you'll win first!!
  May 30, 2011  •  4,107 views
Stay Untamed  
Congratulations!! Don't worry too much about the cross-country either.Everyone messes up sometime! :D
  May 30, 2011  •  4,147 views
You two are a great pair, I hope to hear about your next show, too!
  May 30, 2011  •  4,357 views
Valkyrie   MOD 
Congrats! What a snappy little jumper you have there :)
  May 30, 2011  •  4,361 views
Aslans Roar  
cool!!!! how long was it?
  May 31, 2011  •  4,357 views
Aslans Roar  
i hope u do good!
  May 31, 2011  •  4,574 views
Aslans Roar  
how many opponents?
  May 31, 2011  •  4,574 views
Aslans Roar  
oh, and congrates!!
  May 31, 2011  •  4,574 views
Wow! Congrats! Your pony is stunning by the way:)
  May 31, 2011  •  4,377 views
  May 31, 2011  •  4,545 views
Congratulations! That's really good! :)
  May 31, 2011  •  4,595 views
Prarie Rose  
Great job!
  May 31, 2011  •  4,592 views
Seven Sins  
  May 31, 2011  •  4,595 views
Carpe Diem  
Congrats! Sounds like fun! :)
  May 31, 2011  •  4,579 views
Emma Watson  
Congarts 4th In your 1st event Well Done
  Jun 1, 2011  •  4,608 views
Awesome!! Lol, I love Madeira(:
  Jun 1, 2011  •  4,583 views
Wow, you guys did great, congratulations! =) Madeira looks amazing by the way, she's very pretty and her knees are great!!!
  Jun 2, 2011  •  4,591 views
T E M P E S T  
Congrats! your pony is beautiful!
  Jun 3, 2011  •  4,857 views
You guys look amazing. Congrats on a job well done.
  Jun 4, 2011  •  4,783 views
My Paper Heart  
Congrats! Every one messes up thats life.
  Jun 4, 2011  •  4,573 views
that was awsome!!:) she did such a good job!(:
  Jun 4, 2011  •  4,661 views
That is amazing! That level must be hard and you did it. Good job!
  Jun 12, 2011  •  4,945 views
your horse is lovely!!!
  Nov 6, 2011  •  4,593 views
Mutley Jackson  
Well Done Madeirey! You did great, who cares that you made a mistake?? Madeira doesn't, i bet!! Of course you'd get confused, i only figured out what Optimum meant when i saw it on a drink *To get the optimum, enjoy withing 3 days* LOL and my mum told me what it meant!! Hahaha! Don't worry, you were amazing!
  Nov 7, 2011  •  4,573 views
GOOD JOB the first show is always the scariest.
  45 days ago  •  3,641 views
Don't worry about that mistake, I once went into a ring at a show and forgot EVERYTHING. And I was disqualifyed.(sp?) :P Yeah...

Great job! You looked amazing and this was so well writen. :)
  Apr 20, 2012  •  3,614 views
Congratulations! Nice job coming in 4th! Really good, u r probably way better at that than I am! :)
  Nov 27, 2014  •  2,410 views
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