OK, I am probably on a Red Velvet Oreo cookie high (long story but if you haven't had them, you should) but I am over the moon proud of Wendy (Wakanda WF) and Wyatt (Wyatt WF)!
There is a disclaimer and I'll start with that -
The tests were not perfect. The horses were as good as they could be given the circumstances. All three of us had some errors and timing issues. Things will get better with mileage and confidence.
But - here's the good part - it was our first outing of the year. New venue for them both. First real shows in almost 2 full years for Wendy and about 6 months for Wyatt. Her last show was at 3rd Level. His was Intermediate B. We were all nervous and tight on Saturday. Sunday was a big improvement!!! I felt back in the groove of tackling the test and the horse that was in the moment, rather than being reactive and passive with a degree of insecurity of "what do I do now feeling?" Nope - I was happy and secure in how to deal with (most) of what they did and tried to coax the best work out of them that they can offer in a new setting.
So in a nutshell - I am thrilled. The judges comments were outstandingly helpful and right on point. After a 10 year hiatus from the Big Tests I am over the moon at the evolution of the sport and my own personal journey of maturing into understanding why/how/who/what is happening and how to deal with the situation. The show management team was awesome and the facility is spot on amazing. The whole weekend is going into the Win Category. Seriously.
And on a summary note - if you are on the fence about competing - just do it. Do not stay at home striving for perfection - it is a rare and fleeting thing. Go out and enjoy the journey with your horse when you feel like you are competent and get the feedback from the judges. They want to reward good work and will offer insight into what is not quite on point in the test(s).
Thank you to my parents, the family of Parade Field Farm (Lovettsville, VA), our farrier Waylon, Clay Creek Equine (our vet), Stubben for my saddles and bridles, OneK for my helmet and Jamco for the awesomely safe trailer to haul the horses in style and comfort. Thank you to the show committee for running a top notch competition. Thank you to all the volunteers who made my great weekend possible.