Saturday, June 09, 2007

Third place, but I ain't yellow

I guaranteed a fifth-place finish, and I came in third!

Louie did most of the work, though, but I'll take the yellow ribbon. It is twice as long as any of my blue ribbons.

My first decision today was whether to make my dainty white gloved more manly.

I have some blisters on my hand, so I figured if I did not wear a band-aid, ooze and blood would leach out through my glove. It would be like in the movie "the Natural" when the catcher sees blood on Robert Redford's uniform before he hits the home run.

It would also be nasty, I thought, so I decided to go with a band-aid.

Then I had to decide on good luck charms. I went with a Bruce Springsteen ticket, a Batman action figure and my grandmother's medal from a local senior Olympics.

That might have been the toughest thing I did. I mean: You try narrowing down your choices when all of your toys are begging to go, swearing that they are the luckiest.

We got to the show and my fans started trickling in: two sisters, two nieces, two nephews and a brother-in-law, plus the women who drove Louie over and three folks Dada met in Middleburg. My parents drove me, so they were there, too.

Suddenly, though, my expectations for my finish got real low. Dada introduced me to a rider she met at the Paralympics in Athens. His name is Keith, but I will refer to him as Athens Dude.

Athens Dude had a U.S. Paralympic coach with him named Missy Ransehousen. I met her in Gladstone, and she acted like she remembered me. He also had a passle of fine-looking young ladies as his helpers. Just saying.

Then it was time to ride.

Mounting was a bit of a challenge as there was no ramped mounting block, and it had a hole in it, too.

But we made it and then I was in the arena riding.

My worst figure was the easiest one. I was just supposed to halt Louie at point A. But I pulled the reins too hard and he began to back up. We recovered, though. My figure 8s were better than I thought. The serpentines, too.

The biggest problem for the judge was that Louie and I lacked energy. I tried as hard as I could to kick Louie into a nice rhythm and energy, but it is hard to do. Louie needs to bend into curves more, and that is my fault, too. I need to lead him better.

But the judge liked my accuracy and equestrian skill. And she wrote that I had a "great mind!" and that I was "very precise." Louie got the best praise -- "lovely horse!" she wrote.

I don't know for sure, but I imagine Athens Dude won.

Tomorrow will be fun.

Thanks Dada and Kate for making all this possible.

5 comments:

Davorka said...

Congratulation, Matt! We are all so proud, and can not wait for photos....love, Dada

Lynne said...

Congratulations, Matt (I second what Dada said)! Dada and Kate called me yesterday afternoon and gave me the good news. We are all so proud and happy for you. I hope today is as much fun as yesterday. Kate sent some photos, and I must say that you look very handsome in your white shirt and pants. Oh and your niece is so cute. I'll be waiting to hear and see the pictures of how today goes...love and miss you, Lynne

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Matt - Good show! Sorry we weren't there in person but we were cheering for you from Great Falls. Wishing you continued success - we'll be following your blog. Best from Ramsey, Nathaniel (and Misha)

Katherine said...

Matt -- the camera doesn't lie!! So you'll see up close and personal that Athens Dude has competition (okay, maybe he has the young foxey babe assistants but alas, you have to work with what you've got!!) (besides who knows, maybe we love you more!! Ever think of that!!) -- Now you just have to wait til I get your two performances on the CD!! Especially since the DVD I made was totally blank!!

Oh, and I heard the judge says amazing things about you -! Can't wait for your next "show"!! Love, KAte

Matt said...

THANKS SO MUCH EVERYONE!!!