I land with a thud, and am jarred from my seat. The roaring of the crowd brings me back to reality and I quickly gather my reins, already looking toward the next obstacle: a triple combination, the first of which is a 5'5" vertical brick wall with two strides between fences to an oxer and another two strides to a triple oxer. I've found my distance when suddenly I feel my horse hesitate, so I squeeze my legs and direct her to the first obstacles.
Above the screaming crowd, I hear buzzing, but I keep focused on the fence looming ahead. I feel the thrust of her hindquarters as we sail through the air, suspended for a split second, but all I can hear is this strange, annoying buzzing sound. It starts getting unbearable and then suddenly I jerk awake.
I can still feel the adrenaline as I shut off my alarm clock. It's five in the morning and I'm running on just a few hours sleep. It's still pretty dark, but I can see some light over the horizon.
I clumsily grab my clothes and throw them on. As I walk downstairs, I smell the aroma of coffee. I quickly grab a cup of sugar and pour in the hot liquid caffeine I will need to get through the day, but it doesn't taste like enough sugar. Maybe someday I will want coffee with my sugar.
I'm told that my saddle, clothes, food and bridles have been packed, and that all I have to do is get my horse ready for the trip. I walk out into the crisp air, tripping over the dogs, go to the barn and grab my halter and lead rope. As I walk down the aisle, I can hear horses munching and stomping their feet.
My horse looks out the stall door and lets out an ear-piercing whinny. I dig out her daily dose of carrots, holding out my hand as she quickly laps them up, her whiskers tickling my hands. As she munches, I put her halter on.
It's at this point that my butterflies spring into action and start executing aerial stunts, but I keep moving at a working pace. Show mornings are never without a glitch, and, of course, this was the beginning of our bumps in the road.
One of the worst sounds horse owners can hear are the shrill cries which means the horses are fighting, but there's one catch - we have stallions, and when they get together, they fight. As I tie my horse up, my mother and I run to save the horses from themselves, which takes a good 15 minutes. Oh, did I mention treating wounds? That adds another 15 minutes.
With that behind us, we head for the show grounds which are an hour away. It's already getting warm and it's only 8 a.m., but hopefully it will be cool inside the fairgrounds. My mom asks if I want anything to eat and suddenly my butterflies start their routine with something new - nausea - so I decline.
We arrive and I get my classes in order and get my horse settled in for the long, hot day ahead of us. We do well, overall, for my horse's first show. Of course, the judges shorthand us in my under-saddle classes, but that's the typical horse show day.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.