Chasing the Blue Ribbon (true story)
I woke up to a beeping alarm clock that read six am. I stumbled out of my bed and to my closet pulling out my competition clothes: white breeches, a white riding competition shirt, and my navy show jacket. After tugging on my gleaming tall English boots, I put my gloves in my riding jacket pocket. After freshening up in the bathroom, I tied my hair in a low bun and put my gloves on because my hands were cold. Nerves crept through my entire body thinking of the upcoming competition. My mom rubbed my shoulder as I passed through the kitchen. I couldn't keep still as I ate my unappetizing piece of PB&J toast. I was constantly thinking about what was to come.
My eyes kept meeting the clock, and I kept telling my parents to hurry up. Finally they were ready, and I scrambled into the car, grabbing my helmet on the way. As we drove, my heart sped up randomly. I was so nervous about falling off or making a stupid mistake that I didn't even realize when we arrived at the stables. I hopped out of the car and jogged toward the welcoming big wood doors. I flung them open and surged to greet my horse, Casey. He was a chestnut Thoroughbred with white markings on his loving face. He nickered excitedly as I slipped his worn black halter on. He knew what was going on.
I had bathed him the day before, so he was shining like chestnut colored silk. His tail floated behind him like a puff of cotton candy, and I braided his mane nicely. I gave him a quick groom and loaded him up into the trailer. My trainer closed the trailer doors and got in the car, me at her heels like a dog. Now the butterflies in my stomach were really acting up. I didn't want to let Casey or my trainer down. When we arrived, the place was packed. I weaved through the crowds with Casey, who was getting rambunctious from all of the commotion. I clipped him in a pair of cross ties in the tack hall, and stroked him, calming him down. I knew he could feel my nerves, so I took some deep breaths and settled down a bit.
Casey's tack sat beautifully on him as I admired the careful job I had done. He raised his neck and raised his tail, posing for me. I laughed and hugged him. Whatever was coming, I could get through it with Casey by my side. When it was our turn to compete, we trotted in a small circle, and picked up our canter, I could feel his eagerness so I gave him a half halt and sat a little deeper into the saddle. We approached the first jump, and his ears pricked as we flew over it. He gave a grunt and we cantered on. We looped around and jumped the next jump which was an oxer. I heard his hoof nick the rail, and I tensed, but no thump came so that meant the rail hadn't fallen. Scattered claps reached my ears as I drove him on into a faster canter.
He snorted and flew over the next jumps with ease. I couldn't help but smile as we rounded the corner. The last jump was the highest, measuring four feet. I took a deep breath and counted my strides. One two, tree, four, up! We lifted up and I leaned into my two-point. We seemed to hang in the air for a while, flying. We made the birds seem lame as we soared. His hoofs finally met the ground, shattering our short flight. I smiled wide, so relieved we had cleared all of the jumps in good time. We slowed to a trot and the crowd cheered. When we were out of the ring I gave Casey treats, hugs and kisses, which he accepted gratefully. When it was time to announce the winners of the ribbons, I tensed.
Casey seemed to tense as well as two people gathered up the ribbons to hand out. When they called my name I was confused. I didn't really hear what they had said, but when a blue ribbon was placed on Caseys bridle, I could hardly believe it. I gave Casey more and more praise and treats as we accepted hugs and 'good jobs' from family and friends. As I untacked, I felt so extremely grateful to have Casey. I patted him and looked as his blue ribbon.
"We're done chasing blue. For now." I told him. He snorted and bobbed his head as if to say; "For now."