Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cabal and My First Dressage Show and What I Learned...

First off: Cabal. After my show yesterday, I went down to the U of MN and brought him home. They told me it could go either way, I could bring him back until Monday or he could stay there, but I felt like he would so rather be home, and he would eat if he was home, and I sure did want him at home, so home he came.

Good call. His spirit is good, he's happy, if slightly confused as to why his legs no longer obey him. He's eating hugely. Also good.

I will call his Dr in the morning and we will make a Plan. Also good. He loved having people over today and both he and Lola got lots of love. He's currently sleeping as I type this...

Now, about my VERY FIRST DRESSAGE SHOW. More accurately, my very first Horse Show of any kind. I am pretty sure I can't convey in words exactly what it meant, how cool it was, or what I learned. If you've ever heard me play U2's Running To Stand Still, it was a lot like that. A journey that went a lot of places. With a whole lot of Magic.

It wasn't about WINNING A BLUE RIBBON, this show. It was about winning with myself. I haven't been riding Dressage all that long. I wouldn't have done this of my own volition. It was my trainer, She Who Owns It All's idea. She believed I could do it, and so, therefore, did me too.

I entered in three classes, Equitation where you are judged on how well you ride. It was a training show which means the judge talks to you about how you did, and my comments were mostly about Diagonals and how I messed them up and considering I hadn't really done much work with them, I was ok with that. This was a group class with other riders.

Then there was Training Tests 1 and 2. A test is a routine one does, like a figure skater. Walking trotting and cantering from letter to letters, which are placed about the arena. One does this alone, and gets a score.

And it was there I learned exactly how much I do not know.

I froze on my first test, mucked it up, did pretty much everything wrong. Stiff as a board, no rapport with my horse. No idea why this happened. I'm a performer, I know about being on stage. I'm REALLY good at it. Didn't matter. I felt like, well, horrible. Extremely depressing. Very much what the heck am I doing here. I laughed because what else was I going to do, but sure didn't feel like it. Haven't failed that badly in forever.
Then, as we had 20 or so minutes before my next test, a harder one, my Trainer and I went back to the indoor arena. She and I had a TALK. Not a Russian Gymnast sort of Trainer talk, but one that changed everything. I wish I could tell you the things she teaches me, but it can't be written in words. She told me to go to the place I was when I played music. And then she said "You ride that horse so well..." Which if you know your Irish music is a line from one of my Favorite songs, "Ride On". And everything melted. I could ride. Poor description, but there you have it.

It was wonderful, that second ride, I did it. Sure, made mistakes, but I RODE.

I know now I can do this. I couldn't have done it 8 weeks ago.

I hung my ribbons up, over my soon to be fitting well, honorary Naptown Roller Derby Girl jersey.

And have never been prouder of anything.

Yeah, I can do this. And next time, or the time after, my rainbow will have blue in it.

And it's true.

A little trial by fire never hurt anyone.

Love and Dressage,


At 23:04 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Lesson for life, go to your place and do it. Congrats Medeadly, lessons and ribbons well earnt.

Aannd, scritches for Cabal

At 23:23 Blogger Ms T said...

Have I mentioned how much I love reading your posts Lorraine? :)

My mantra of the moment is "Trust in the process". 'Course this doesn't mean I should just sit on my arse and wait the universe to dump things in my lap.

Scritches for Cabal, and Lola, and hugs for their human family.

At 23:24 Blogger Vinity said...

Thinking of Cabal and his family.

Good going on the show. Your trainer sounds awesome. I have difficulty in the arena. I get very bad show nerves, go into a fugue state, wake up and have no idea where I am in a test. You have such a great attitude! I can't wait to hear the report for the next one.

At 23:39 Blogger ariandalen said...

Like I said before, you rocked your first dressage! There is a first time for everything, which means it's okay to have a case of nerves. I had been on stage in plays, competitions, and choirs from the time I was six, but the first time I sang solo...I sang a stanza, then apologized for my voice and sat down. Then I had to forgive myself.

Now to deal with a cat in heat. ::sigh::

At 00:40 Blogger Ms T said...

I think the big thing to remember too, is that you DID it. You didn't just think or dream about it. You actually went out there and did it. And that is truly awe-inspiring. :)

At 00:44 Blogger Ms T said...

A completely unrelated link, except that it, like this blog, falls into the category of things that made me smile today: mechanical digger retrieves chandelier.

At 00:59 Blogger ChiaLynn said...

"Hands light to the touch."

You done good, Lorraine.

At 02:01 Blogger Marjorie said...

You did it! And that alone is huge. The ribbons are jam and icing on the cake (an d well deserved) bu. Simply having the guts to do it is so impressive.

And glad Cabal was able to come home to wait. Will keep all fingers crossed for Monday.

At 04:37 Blogger Beez said...

A little trial by fire never hurt anyone.

Okay, sticking those words up in the forefront of my brain. Need to keep remembering it.

You rocked that trial! I thought you could, and I am VERY glad that She Who Owns Everything found the words that helped you key into what was in your heart and soul all along.

Give Big Dog skritches and hugs for me. At least he's keeping his happy pupper grin with all the lovin' he's getting.
I hope for all to go well at the vet today. I'll be thinking of all of you.

At 05:50 Blogger hkmouse said...

I used to get terrible show nerves. I'd do well in the warmup ring, then forget everything when I went in front of the judges. Then one day it just... stopped. I stopped overthinking and just breathed to empty my head of outside influences. I couldn't figure out why I had been getting so worked up in the first place. The judges didn't matter. I was just getting the job done. I learned to meditate on the back of a horse before I knew what that meant. Just breathe and do what you do.

At 06:53 Blogger vampi said...

wooo ribbons! sounds amazing. i'm glad you found riding, and i enjoy reading your journey.

<3 for cabal i'm glad he was with his people in good spirits.

At 06:57 Blogger Ali Trotta said...

This is just so brilliant. Because there's so much about riding and showing and what you learned -- that I can't put it all into words. So, I'll just say: awesome. Seriously.

Riding, learning Dressage, is a process. It's all learning, all the time. And it's fantastic. Because you at what you did. You rode in your very first dressage show, and you improved from Test 1 to Test 2. Which pretty much means you rock.

Also, that horse is so freakin' gorgeous. I kind of want to hug her, but that's my Elmyra tendency. *smile*

I'm glad that Cabal was able to come home, and that you had fun. :-)

At 07:30 Blogger spacedlaw said...

And you learn!
That's a brilliant post, full of happy notices.

At 07:48 Blogger Tamsyn Murray said...

Stage fright is always a possibility, no matter how seasoned the performer. I've been alone on stage, with an expectant audience and opened my mouth to sing only to realise that I didn't have the first clue what the words were. Sounds like you came through your test with flying colours -well done! I gulped during mine and delivered the second verse twice.

Hope Cabal continues to eat like a horse and soak up the love :)

At 07:50 Blogger DataGoddess said...


At 07:53 Blogger Maura Janelle said...

One thing I have learned from derby, is you only become a better skater by playing and skating with people who are better than you.

Going outside the comfort zone and learning is how you get better.

We are all thinking of Cabal, hoping he gets well.

At 08:07 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I clicked on this link from neil's twitter...may I ask what Cabal is diagnosed with? I'm interested because he sounds like my cat...wobbly back legs and all!


At 08:27 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...



Waiting on the Dr here, he comes in in a few minutes, and will look at the MRI. Something is pressing on Cabals spine, we will decide what to do.

And I will tell you.

At 08:32 Blogger Jess said...

Yay you! Knew you'd do good. :)

Hope puppy does well today.

(And what do you mean, you'd never seen Smack the Pony before? We need to remedy this.)

At 08:46 Blogger Jane said...

What a marvelous learning experience - and you wouldn't have had it if the first one hadn't gone the way it did. Still, it sounds like it wasn't much fun for a bit.

::waiting to hear about Cabal::

At 08:51 Anonymous AndiN said...

Congrats, Lorraine!

And I wanted to let you know that you inspired me to try riding a horse again. I only did once before, when I was about 5 years old, and that time I was briefly on the horse, briefly flying through the air, and then waking up on the couch. But I've always wanted to try again, so for one of my birthday presents my hubby scheduled us for a horse riding lesson. The folks at the stable put me on a very sweet horse named Oscar who knew exactly what to do since I didn't, and they taught me a lot, and everything went great! I loved it so much that I'm going to go back for more lessons. I never would have done this if it wasn't for you posting about your lessons. So thank you! You're a very inspirational lady!

And please keep us posted about Cabal. I'm sending good thoughts his way!

At 09:12 Blogger Cecily said...

Very proud of you!

Still keeping Cabal in my heart.

Drive through ticky. Packing all week.

At 09:16 Anonymous Spyarchive said...

Congratulations on the dressage trial! It's one thing to be confident on stage, and another thing to be confident on a horse. But once you're in the limelight on a horse being judged by your peers, it's a whole new game! You should be proud.

At 09:20 Blogger Roxanne said...


Besides anti-inflammatory medications, has the veterinary hospital mentioned:

Analgesics to relieve pain;

Glycosaminoglycan supplements, which fortify the cartilage in diseased joints and may help reduce pain (Glucosamine sulfate or Glucosamine hydrochloride alone may also be effective, and these are available at most health food stores);

Antioxidant vitamins, which can be helpful for pathologic inflammation;

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) mobilizes the body's self-defense mechanisms to assist in overcoming disease. It is also a powerful antioxidant required to produce collagen, which is the main supportive protein in cartilage, tendon, and connective tissue;

Boswellic acids, organic acids, may open up collateral blood circulation to provide a more adequate blood supply to the joints. Acetyl-boswellic acids exhibit anti-inflammatory behavior by inhibiting leukotriene synthesis which reduce swelling and inflammation and improve mobility;

Bromelain may work by blocking some proinflammatory metabolites that accelerate and worsen the inflammatory process and helps to inhibit pro-inflammatory compounds which reduces pain and swelling.

ALSO: Cage rest, hydrotherapy and swimming, chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture and physical therapy.

BTW: Dogs with neck disc problems should be walked with a chest harness rather than a collar.

Lots of pets and smooches and positive energy for Cabal.


At 09:30 Blogger AletaMay said...

Great lessons for us as always!

Sending calming thoughts for Cabal and you in Drs space.

At 09:38 Blogger LihuaEmilyP said...

\Cool! Ribbon! You rock, Quiche Medeadly! And let me say for the record that song is one of maybe my top THREE favorites of yours; it's AWESOME ...

At 09:56 Blogger Holly said...

"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?'
Vincent van Gogh

Dressage tests are so exact, remembering them at your first show is a challenge. Comparing it to another passion is perfect, especially music.

Each time you ride your relationship with your horse builds.
My first show my dear Tommy started whinnying half way through and didn't stop until he had shot a nice kick at E (took the coned letter out)!

As corny as it sounds, 1+1=1

Best wishes for Cabal.

At 09:58 Blogger LihuaEmilyP said...

Forgot to mention Cabal (how could I?) but I'm thinking about him.

At 11:09 Blogger Pi R Squared said...

Congratulations on your first show...and that you got better the second time around! (Pretty ribbons!) It's a perfect example of how in charge we really are if we just relax and have faith in ourselves (and of course saying that is easy, doing it is another thing entirely!)

Good luck today w/ Cabal!

At 11:40 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Cabal is going in for surgery tomorrow. New MRI first. It's his neck again. Compressing his spinal cord.

Dam. And Dam.

I am going back to work. When I stop with the tears.

At 11:47 Blogger Cecily said...


At 12:09 Blogger Pi R Squared said...

Oh Dear.

White light and healing energy to Cabal and hugs for you as well. We're all here for you...

At 12:24 Blogger Jane said...

Sending sympathy and hugs -

At 13:05 Blogger LihuaEmilyP said...

So sorry to hear it, gah.

At 13:35 Blogger Jill said...

Gah. Cabal NEEDS to be well. I still haven't quite gotten over Zoe yet....don't really want to do the same thing with the pup. :>(

Hugs to Cabal and Lola and Lorraine and Boss and to anyone else who needs one.

At 16:43 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Oh no...

love love love to Cabal and his humans, and not forgetting Lola as well.

At 18:14 Blogger LihuaEmilyP said...

Two of us have responded with hearty "gah"s. You can now be sure of how seriously we take this ...

At 21:19 Anonymous wendy Withers said...

I hope you both find the strength to get through this. I would write more, but I have a cat laying on one hand.

At 21:49 Blogger Phiala said...

I have been four-leaf-clover hunting, to great success.

Okay, really I'm travelling for work, but that pasture had prolific four- and five-leafers.

At 22:06 Blogger Beez said...

Love and healing to Cabal, and Cabal's humans.

....also Miss Lola.

At 04:42 Blogger Cori said...

My first dressage show my horse scream-whinnied like she had a wolf after her, did an awesome but totally unexpected and not required canter on the spot then bucked me off and jumped out of the ring. Needless to say, I was disqualified. Keep that in mind next time you think you're not doing well in the ring :)

At 09:02 Blogger Fluffy said...

Best wishes for the poor guy. I hope he feels as lively as a Heckhound* after he recovers.

*that's from a Harry Dresden book. He yells, "Holy shit! Hellhounds!" and his friend, who's a Knight of the Cross, admonishes him for swearing so he amends it to, "Holy shit! Heckhounds!" Sorry, it's juvenile, I know, but it makes me laugh.

At 09:17 Blogger Fluffy said...

And I hope you can get some sleep in the next 24...

At 09:55 Blogger LihuaEmilyP said...

I love school. Really I do. I think this school thing is my New Thing like horses and weight loss and stuff are your New Things, Lorraine ...

At 11:36 Blogger Chantrelle said...

I hope Cabal is doing as well as can be expected. What a rough hand that boy has been dealt. I'm so glad Boss found him and he has such a loving family now.

Awaiting news.

At 12:44 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Lincoln went to the place where you play music a couple of times and had lots of fun. He's not sure if he's up to any dressage, yet. That may take a few more Stillwater visits. Until then he will leave it up to the emerging expert.

At 12:45 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love to Cabal, by the way.

At 12:57 Blogger LihuaEmilyP said...

I bumped into Mr. Lincoln, literally, at the pub. I was like, "I know vaguely who you are." Now I am sad. I know how Mr. Lincoln is and I love his book. Someday I will bump into him at the pub again and this time I will say hello.

At 16:14 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Cabal came thru surgery just fine and has a really good chance of recovery. Fingers crossed.

Was up with him all night, he cried so, and am pretty wiped out today...Will keep you posted...

At 16:22 Blogger Marjorie said...

Good to know.
And it sounds as though he's in good hands.
Hope you manage to rest, now.

At 17:33 Blogger LihuaEmilyP said...

Sounds good! I hope he feels better soon, though. And you, Quiche.

At 17:54 Blogger Dragonsally said...

All digits crossed for Cabal. I hope you're able to get some sleep Lorraine, you've had a heck of a time lately.

At 18:09 Blogger dabbler said...

So glad to hear the DOG is out of surgery and on his way to recovery....such a hard time he's had lately. Hope the Bengals will forgive you one of these days.

At 21:41 Blogger LihuaEmilyP said...

O mathematics, there are a lot of you. I like you. But wow, you ain't shy.

At 14:50 Blogger One Sock Short said...

Late to the party. Continued good wishes for Cabal and all his crew.

Congratulations on doing amazing and wonderful things! Outside confirmation that you've learned so much must feel great.

At 19:34 Blogger Vinity said...

Hadn't heard from you today. I'm hoping no news is good news. If not or anyway {{{{{{hugs}}}}} from the south.

At 19:35 Blogger Vinity said...

Hadn't heard from you today. I'm hoping no news is good news. If not or anyway {{{{{{hugs}}}}} from the south.

At 03:46 Blogger Dragonsally said...

*tap* *tap*

anyone in here?

Hope all Fiends are okay - its been a silent sort of day.

At 05:32 Blogger Marjorie said...

I'm OK. Like Vinity, I'm hoping no news is good news on the Cabal front.

I'm also feeling quite excited haveing just realised it is now offically less than one month to OctoCon, and Fiends In Ireland!!

At 06:05 Blogger spacedlaw said...

Good morning!
Any updates available on the Cabal front?

At 08:15 Anonymous Wendy Withers said...

I'm okay.

I got a rejection mail in my inbox yesterday, so I'm going to workshop the story and resubmit.

Classes are good.

Had a fancy dinner last night. I got a pair of socks with a Serious Black-type-cat design on them.

At 11:27 Blogger Chantrelle said...

Did my post vanish?

Just checking in...getting a little worried :(

At 11:34 Blogger AletaMay said...

Add me to the worried list.

At 11:35 Blogger Chantrelle said...

Boss just posted a blog. He says Cabal is recovering....phew.

At 11:38 Blogger Vinity said...

Argh, for some reason I can't get on Twitter or my email this morning for an update. I hope things are OK. I know Fablor is prolly just really busy taking care of the sick puppy.

*hoping this post normally

At 13:57 Blogger LihuaEmilyP said...

William is in stitches over Boss's upcoming appearance on "Arthur". William loves "Arthur".

At 14:05 Blogger Hellie said...

Life slowed down for a moment and I had time to check in; I missed a lot.

Hope Cabal is on the mend, poor doggy has been through so much (not to mention his poor humans worrying)

Rushing off now to pack for a little 5 day round trip around the UK visiting relatives & friends - Oxford, Plymouth, Bristol, home. Never been to Oxford before so quite excited about visiting & finding some of Lyra's haunts.

At 17:28 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Has anyone talked to Quiche, or Hans? I'm hoping that Quiche hasn't fallen into a big heap after all the worry and staying up with Cabal. I'm such a worrying puss. I miss you Quiche

At 19:08 Blogger Jess said...

Perhaps we can lure her back with some Ass Tanka.

At 19:09 Blogger Fluffy said...

Woah, Sally! Great photo!!

At 20:51 Blogger Jenn said...


Half the test in any competition that includes animals is learning how to relax.

At 21:11 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Thanks Fluffy. I love my new hair. Of course the style won't look as good when I attempt to do it myself.

At 00:45 Anonymous Wendy Withers said...

Yes. More ass Tanka! That is why I am a fiend!

I have exciting news, but it will have to wait until tomorrow, because I am sick and tired.

At 14:27 Blogger LihuaEmilyP said...

We'll wait. Feel better.

Sally, I also think your new hair is cool.

At 15:27 Blogger dabbler said...

Way to tantalize, Wendy!

Fablo just tweeted picture of wobbly dog at home, so things are moving along. He looks quizzical and tired.

At 17:37 Blogger Unknown said...

I came to your blog to check in on Cabal (as one dog lover to another). How sweet to find we share a love of horses and of connecting to them through dressage. I congratulate you on everything about your first show! It sounds like a resounding success. Personally, I'm a nervous show-er. I always come away disappointed, knowing I can do better at home. Plus, I'd rather spend money on trainer's fees rather than show entries. That said, my trainer thinks the discipline of showing will be good for me. We'll see where that goes.

Anyways, it's always good to connect with another horse/dog/book person. I hope this is the first of many communiques.

Irene in NH

At 23:55 Anonymous Wendy Withers said...

I put my exciting news up on my LJ, so I don't bog down FabLo's blog with my shennanigans.

At 07:28 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

GOOD MORNING! New post is UP!

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