The Oakley Diaries - 21: Second Successful Show


Now we are in the refinement stage. Only scored 58.3% and placed 8th out of 8 at the dressage show last Sunday (17th Aug), so no decorations for the barn, but I am still deliriously happy because, in almost all other regards, everything went perfectly.

As anyone who has ever gone to any event can attest, there are always tasks to do, many must be in a certain order and by a certain time, and thus Operation Overlord or a family picnic, the principle remains the same: everything requires planning and organization. I usually suck at planning and organization. Even family picnics.

My life-long problem is ADHD, which means, in practical terms, I get easily distracted by any shiny object -- especially moving pictures on glowing screens -- and have always been constantly late for EVERYTHING. Moreover, it also means that I have never left the house, ever, without forgetting something, and the question always is, what did I forget, when am I going to realize it, and can I do without it.

Forgetting my hot coffee on the counter... again... Oh, well (sigh).

Getting an hour and a half down the road to Sarnia and realizing I don't have my passport...

(Yeah, yeah, I've tried making lists... that only works if one remembers to look at the list -- see the problem? That's my goal: to make a list and remember to look at it!)

So my real objective for this year is not to win ribbons, but rather to develop a plan to prepare for shows and successfully keep to it. This is more than just a checklist of what to bring: it is a comprehensive list with tasks to accomplish, in a particular order and by specific times. Some things must be done before others, some things done weeks ahead of time, some things can only be done in the last hours before the test.

That is, I must check my jacket & make sure it is clean days before the event, because I cannot clean it in the hour before the show. But I can also keep that clean jacket in a bag for any length of time, right up until it is time to mount up, so on my to-do list, I take it to the cleaner two weeks before and then let it sit in the closet and put it in the truck the night before. Braiding the mane, however, cannot be done until the night before, or even the morning of -- depending on the show time -- for obvious reasons.  (At least they should be obvious. If not, sit & think about it for two minutes. If still not, pick another sport. As I noted before, there is no actual requirement to braid, but, to put it another way, one does not, technically, need to dress up for a job interview, either, but don't expect to get the office job wearing a Sid Vicious Lives T-Shirt and dirty torn jeans. I'm just saying, if everyone else braids their horse's mane...)

This is why it was so wonderful to find that this is the second time I was able to remember to look at my to-do list every day, focus on the show, managed to stay focused over the three week period leading up to the show, accomplish the 10,000-odd things that need to be done, have all my kit & equipment, clean and ready and got there with with everything I needed and plenty of time to get ready and warm up.

Too much time to warm up, actually.

Waaaaay too much time.

I now have two more things on the list to check, viz., find the person who is in charge of timings which, it turns out, is not necessarily the secretary at the sign-in table, and then confirm my actual start time, so we are only warming up for 20 - 25 minutes, and not inadvertently warming up for an hour and a half, arriving in the ring too exhausted to perform.

Still, Oakley was beautifully in frame, calm, relaxed, was not in the slightest bit distracted by the kerfuffle over by the road in the middle of our test, and moved with grace, albeit with "needs NRG" as the consistent comment down the page. No kidding, he lacked energy: I was quite exhausted by that point.

Nevermind! Got the basic plan down. Followed the plan. Didn't forget anything, not even the boot-jack to take my boots off this time. Therefore this was a complete success.

Now the plan just needs tweaking and refining.

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