That night I was so nervous. I went out to warm up and had a slight problem/change of plans. MissFire decided she only had one gear and that was stop and back. I wasn't sure how I was to preform my final performance stopping and backing the whole time. While I waited nervously at the gate I was able to have a short conversation with an all time favorite of mine, John Lyons. When I left his side to go in I ran backwards away from the gate. I had to have two horses and a person hand walk me in. Once in she walked hesitantly but quickly and easily picked up the lope. This is the first time I had really loped her with a flag and we still don't really neck rein. All was well then I went into this really weird bucking/kicking thing. I couldn't get it. I tried to lope a couple circles to calm her down but it didn't work. I finally pitched the flag and got two hands on the reins thinking maybe the flag was bothering her. Nope...Went back to the bucking thing. Well now what? I went to the center and did my required maneuvers quickly and loped/trotted some more circles. She didn't seem to be settling. I stopped in the middle and tried to calm her down. No luck... Well I heard one minute remaining over the loud speaker so I nodded for my cow to come out. Yes MissFire loves cows but she has only sorted them never tracked or followed especially in a large arena. Well she forgot about bucking and went right to chasing. I doubt it was very pretty but she sure picked up the speed after him and forgot she was afraid of the crowd and the far end of the arena.
Lets just say this was a very upsetting ride. I had never had MissFire act in such a way. I couldn't get it. Well they announced over the microphone and let me know that my number had come unpinned and was poking her in the flank the entire ride. Well that makes more sense (I didn't think it was all nerves). John Lyons was giving quick interviews with each contestant prior to riding over to the judges to get their feedback and scores. Well by this time I was teary eyed. Mostly embarrassed that I finally was meeting John Lyons and I rode like what? They announced it was my birthday. Then the entire crowed said happy birthday to me and then announced that John Lyons was my all time idol (or something along those lines) all while John is shaking my hand and giving me a hug (Charlie gave MissFire a sniff too)! Thanks Juliane for the great birthday present!! We had a short interview before we walked together to get my scores. On our walk he reached out and grabbed my hand. It was funny MissFire trusted me (or Charlie) and walked straight to the judges side by side with them. It was great. The judges had very positive feedback and my scores could have been way worse.
And so I sit alone in Salem, Or. at a hotel. MissFire is sleeping in the trailer in the parking lot (yes I pulled dividers and bedded it deep) and my truck is sitting down at the GM dealer waiting for the service department to open in the morning. We stopped for our last fill up before getting home and the service attendant (Oregon won't let you pump your own gas) put gas in my diesel truck. I caught it after there were 25.008 gallows of gas in my tank. Out of precaution I decided to play it safe and have a certified GM mechanic work on it as too not void my warranties. So my poor truck is all along, has a tummy ache, and I miss her very much. She is very special to me as we came on in January with only 400 miles and now we are over 13,000 (thanks to the mustang stuff)! I hope she feels better in the morning because I am lonely and want to go home as so does MissFire. Oh did I forget to mention I bought her and she is coming home.... Well someday when we get there....
One more thing as its past 12:30 and I'm exhausted...Would I do it again? Definitely! The people are so nice, the judges are nice, and the people at the expo are nice too. I always felt welcome no matter who I was talking too. They always kept everything positive. Besides these mustangs are way better than my other domestic horses.