Monday, October 4, 2010

show horse

I am very proud of Major. He thought the whole day was just one long lesson, with eating breaks inbetween.

He stayed clean last week after his bath. When I checked him on Saturday evening, he'd managed to slip in some mud, making a huge mud streak down his side, poke himself pretty good with a stick he landed on and scape up his back leg. Mostly superficial, I cleaned everything up and he trotted out fine (I wasn't sure how hard he'd fallen, the boys can play pretty hard sometimes). I told him just to be careful for the next 12 hours before the show.

I took him away from the last of his breakfast at 8:30, and was riding down the road by 9:00. I rode with my barn owner, who has a horse she's trying to sell and wanted to see how he'd go at this schooling show. When we got to the show the street was lined with cars and there were children and school horses and parents milling about. The children usually know more than the parents, but the parents are insistent on helping, which usually means they are getting in the way. The trainers keep things moving, and that is part of the fun of a schooling show.

I signed up for four classes: walk/trot pleasure, walk/trot equitation, arena trail open and trail trials. The first class was huge, about 20 people, and this is a small arena! Major was unconcerned, thank goodness, and we worked on keeping our spacing and smiling. Walt/Trot both directions, back up while in line, and they called the ribbons and I very unexpectedly got fifth place! I thought that was great in such a big class that Major was relaxed and looked like a nice horse to ride (which he is!).

After some hurry up and wait, we did the equitation class. This is not my strong suit, but I tried! Standard walk/trot, though this class was just as big as the pleasure class, and we circled at the trot, which got a little dicey. We lined up, and were not in the ribbons this time (which was expected). I thought I did ok (for me) but have video of the whole thing so I can review later.

After lunch came arena trail. I had practiced this in lesson, but it is certainly more stressful at a show! I only missed one pole in the fan, picked up the correct canter lead, backed the L and a nice turn on the hindquarters. I felt pretty good in this class, and got third place! I was excited for that, as I'd watched the first place performance (which was flawless) and the second place (which was great) so knowing I'm somewhere near that level was nice. I have video too, that one I've watched and other than leaning forward (which I always am working on fixing) it looked smoother and better than it felt.

The last class was trail trials. This is held out in the pasture, with natural obstacles to go over. First was the pond. We'd been through the pond no problem, but they marked where to enter/exit the pond with flour, and that was Major's undoing! He had to look hard at that, sidepass away a little, then sniff it (blowing clouds of flour!). After all that he walked into the pond just fine. We walked out of the pond, over the bridge (where we stopped and stood) and dismounted/mounted on a box. Trotted over some logs, then backed down a small gully. Our backup could have been cleaner, but it was decent. Walked over to back the log L, did that well with just a tiny hesitation at the end. Trotted off, stepped over a big log and then up and down a bank. I felt pretty good about that class, but there were lots of good competitors, and they must have been more precise, no placing in that. I still think he's a good trail horse!

I rode home, quite proud of Major. He was tired by the end of the day (me too), it was a lot of standing around. Every chance I got I took off his bit and loosened his girth, he ate his way though the day (hay bag, grass, weeds) and even drank some. We were both glad to get home, where he got cleaned up and had a well deserved roll.

I enjoyed practicing for the show, and know that the arena skills are important and translate to the trail. It was fun to hang out with my friends and have my very supportive boyfriend there feeding me, filming me and helping with my horse. But for now I want to enjoy this fall weather and have some more trail adventures!

No comments:

Post a Comment