We had a marvelously successful show a couple of weekends back, a dressage show at Fox Run, near Cambridge. It wasn't our first show, we tried that back in '11 with a disastrous attempt at a short course event, but it was our first successful show and we achieved all our objectives and then some.
The objective was simple: do all the necessary preparations the week before, from getting the coat to the cleaner to doing braids in the mane (note, I found that braids are technically not necessary, as it is not in the rules at any level for Eventing or Dressage, but everyone thinks it is -- including many judges -- and everyone does it so... when in Rome... sigh...) arrive, well rested, in good order, horse calmly on trailer, enough time to go through all the paperwork, final grooming, and a good warm-up before doing the test that I actually memorized correctly... not arriving in a frazzled panic 15 minutes before my start time like Worzel Gummige riding Fergus.
That was exactly what happened.
Everything went smoothly, arrived with plenty of time to saddle up and warm up and we went and rode our basic training level test calmly without a hitch.
Plus, as a bonus, I won a nice pink sixth-place ribbon to hang on the stall.