Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Bit Down and Out at Davis

So, merely a few hours (literally) after getting back from Rocky Horror (and a good few minutes of that time was spent trying to scour red lipstick "V"s off my forehead!!), I out and about again, this time armed with my white pants and stock tie to take on UC Davis at the IDA show they were hosting up in Davis, CA. It was raining already when we gathered in the parking lot at 5:30 to depart, and the miserable weather would follow us all the way up to the show.

Feeling very short on sleep, I elected to not drive and instead try to catch a few Zs on the way up, so I clambered into my friend Patrick's little 2WD pickup and away we went. I fell asleep almost immediately, not expecting to be awoken until 2 hours later when we were pulling into the horse show.

So, imagine my great surprise and horror when I heard Patrick's voice calling me and opened my eyes to find our little car staring right into oncoming traffic on the Bay Bridge! Patrick had been cruising along at a safe speed when the car suddenly hydroplaned on a patch of hard-to-see standing water; the car did a full 180º spin to end up facing completely backwards before Patrick was able to turn, and then we ended up overcorrecting and sliding across three lanes of traffic to end up facing 90º in the other direction. All of this, mind, while suspended several hundred feet over the San Francisco Bay. I've ALWAYS been afraid of driving over bridges, and can honestly say I've never been more terrified in a moving vehicle in my entire life (even worse than that time Pa decided it would be a good idea to try to weave our trailer between a caravan of semis at 70 mph in a driving rainstorm at 3 in the morning... and as you might imagine, I found THAT pretty terrifying). Fortunately Patrick did everything right, and even more fortunately we were completely alone on the road at the time, so we were able to right and keep going completely unscathed. Still, it certainly was something I think neither of us will ever forget and we spent the rest of the ride in a stunned and adrenaline-induced silence.

After the incident driving up, I pretty much decided that as long as I made it back safe and sound to my bed that night, I was going to call the day a success. And it's a good thing my standards were so low, because that pretty much ended up being the highlight of the day!

I'll try not to complain too badly; the show was organized and well-run and we had an indoor with good footing to ride in. It wasn't anyone's fault that the weather was miserable or that, after the crashes of highs and lows I'd been having all weekend, I felt like a wrung-out sponge and was quickly developing a nasty head cold.

(The team chilling in a brief moment of sunshine)

I was bummed when I had to redraw off of the super nice and steady horse I'd gotten originally because he was getting tired (and I was to be his fourth rider - yikes!) and got instead the "alternate horse," who was only used once all day (for me) and was absolutely terrifying. Seriously, I was proud of myself for staying within the arena and approximating all the movements, because he took off with me in our first canter warmup (to the point where I had to pulley-rein to stop him) and then bolted all the way across the arena at the sound of the judge's bell. Frankly, I was thrilled with the fact that I survived, and managed to keep him from exploding, though I was upset at myself for letting him break in the first medium trot (which nearly resulted in our elimination because I could barely stop him in time to keep him in the ring). So then it was a bit a "sour taste in the mouth" moment to get a very low score and rather unfriendly remarks in the judge's comments at the bottom of the test. The judging all day was pretty wonky so I didn't take it too personally, but it still felt pretty low to be so unrewarded for what I had thought had been a very tactful ride.

(Patrick, my actual life-saver, looking very distant and windswept after a loooong horse show)

But, the good news? We had a BEAUTIFUL drive home and everyone made it home safe and sound. Thank. You. God. I spent most of Sunday night in a ball in bed, and woke up on Monday to find that I'd left my voice behind in Davis. Seriously, there was nothing left. I've just started to get it back four days later, but in the meantime have been enjoying my best-ever Donald Duck and Squawk-Box impressions.

(Nature's apology for a heck of a long day)

This weekend we have our first polo match of the year verse USC. So. Excited!!!

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