Thankfully the rain did not come as the weathermen foretold it would. Much to the un-enjoyment of my husband who clearly did not want to take me to the horse show. He has no interest in showing his own pony, why would he want to make sure I get to show mine? He did haul me to the show and take pictures and video because he’s married to me and it’s just one of those things he has to deal with. After the show, upon return to the barn another argument spawned up from a minor problem at the barn and I was pretty well wired after that and it took me about 2 hours to calm down.
But we’re not here to talk about the hundred and one ways my husband ensures that my life is miserable and puts us at risk of losing our fantastic boarding situation with the horses. I will not lose Chewbacca and I will not lose Luke. Luke may technically be my husband’s pony, but I’m the one that does all the training and care for him and know horses well enough to truly appreciate how great of animal Luke is. If we get booted from our boarding barn with nowhere to go with the ponies, the carts, and the 2 trailers because my husband wants to be an ass, I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure Luke and Chewbacca not only stay together, but stay with me. My husband can be an obnoxious ass that puffs out his macho chest all he wants. He doesn’t impress anyone and it makes me feel like I’m lower than dirt. Because of him we’ve had issues at the 2 previous barns too we’ve been at and… well, nevermind. I’m blogging about Chewbacca and my first horse show together today, which like I said, the rain held off and we did get to show.
Although, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking!!! Last night, Chewbacca stood lovely and patiently for his clipping and braiding job. He left his braids alone overnight, thankfully so, too and loaded like a champ into the trailer. He arrived at the show happy to see the commotion and whinnied at several of the passing horses.
He stood tied to the trailer with no issues and was a real gentleman about absolutely everything.
I walked him around the showgrounds a bit in hand so he could see the place and he took everything in stride. The show ran smoothly and on-time and we arrived with about an hour or so to spare before our first class. I had signed us up for 3 classes… 2 English Pleasure and 1 Eng. Equitation. After a while, I got him tacked up and took him to the outdoor arena for warmup time.
He walked around fine. He trotted around fine. There were maybe 15 other horses in the arena with us… it’s a big arena. He was doing really well. Quiet, mannerly, responsive. He would drop his head when I asked him and moved forward very well. It was a great warm up…………
……..and then I asked for the canter and it pretty much looked like this:
Popping me out of the saddle every stride. RACING around with his head straight up in the air. I had no control at all. At one point, not only did I feel like I was sitting on his withers because he got me so pitched forward, but I also thought we were going to crash into the fence before we stopped. He was calm and sweet about it, but he was bolting and fighting and doing pretty much the exact opposite of everything we’ve been working on. Thankfully, his canter departs were great (and yes, I cantered both ways in this frantic mess… although by the time I turned him around, I admit, I only cantered a few feet before I gave up).
I walked out of the fenced-in practice arena and tried to school in the un-fenced arena along side a Fjord stallion, and it got a little worse from there. He wouldn’t trot without throwing his head up and he tried bulging sideways out of the open area. I finally managed to get him to just walk decently but he decided it was time to stop and prance in one spot and try going sideways and backwards. I laid both heels into him and while he did not appreciate it, he did move forward like a gentleman.
It was pretty clear to me at this point that he was simply not ready to handle a w/t/c English class. I did not care so much about the headset issue, but I didn’t want him bolting around the arena and smacking in to another horse or the fence. So, I dismounted, made the executive decision to try to get through just one class without a major ordeal, and promptly went into the show office to scratch all 3 classes I had entered. I changed my entry to only 1 walk/trot under saddle class and we waited patiently for that class to start.
During the mid-day break, I had the opportunity to school in the indoor arena by myself. Guess what… he walked, trotted, and cantered like the pro I know he his… just like we have been practicing at home. Round. Quiet. Collected. Eeeeeaasy. No fuss, no muss, no head tossing or taking off. Both leads, no problems. Even with an entire wall of windows looking into the busy cafeteria and an ambulance outside the large arena door carting off someone that had gotten bucked. He was great.
So, as we stood and waited for lunch to end and our class to begin, I began to think about what happened and why. Maybe he just is not ready yet to canter in an arena full of horses? Maybe he thought he was supposed to be running barrels? He’s not a made-broke English horse and keeping the English gaits and headset are something that’s going to take time and experience. The second he was alone in the indoor he was a different horse. I wish my husband took pictures of it. He was round and beautiful as I watched our reflection in the windows along the way. It was a perfect ride.
So whatever the meltdown was in the outdoor during warm up, I don’t know. But I was overwhelmed with pride that he did so great in the indoor. I was so worried from the other day when he seemed like he was resisting me at the canter, and that didn’t happen at all today (in the indoor, anyway). So we got past that obstacle, and we overcame the canter-meltdown we had earlier. He also stood more patiently after that and did not try to evade going in any particular direction again either. So we worked through several problems and a I learned a lot about the horse today.
So we made out side for the class, just barely… I didn’t realize they were holding classes outside after lunch.. all the morning ones were indoor. Like an idiot, I was the last one running to the gate to be let in… quite literally… trotting the whole way and he almost cantered off, we were rushing so much to make it to the outdoor!!!
Our class went off without a hitch..
Ultimately, he did great. With 14 entries in the class, he did not get a ribbon, but he trotted around well and quietly and stood like a pro in the line up while the person who did win 4th could barely control her horse. It backed up out of the line up several times sideways and just about hit us twice. I was getting a little annoyed. She kept trying to make her Saddlebred march to the line up and stand and he kept backing up sideways…
Here’s a show-ring tip, people…. if your horse doesn’t want to stand in the line up… FORCING HIM TO DO IT DOESN’T WORK!!!! Like I tell my husband when Luke gets antsy in the line up…. drive him forward, make a circle, refocus his attention and come back to the line up and try it again.
Fighting with your horse about standing still when he does not want to never works. Making him work forward and turning him gives him something else to think about and then he can have the option of either circling like an idiot or standing still. In my experience, they choose standing still. This lady kept insisting her horse stand and the horse kept backing up sideways and it was nothing but a battle over and over.
Chewie stood like an angel while 6 winners were called before us before we exited the ring and left the showgrounds.
All in all, it was a good day. I met Mr. Hyde today and now know what needs to be worked through over the winter about showing. I have a funny feeling if I do get to board at the showbarn during the winter, Chewbacca is going to learn very fast how to canter like a normal horse in an arena full of horses. The showbarn’s arena is a good size… but with a full course of jumps and 6 people riding around in there, it can get cramped… especially when there’s 2 jumping at the same time. Chewie will learn that cantering in chaos is just part of his new life.
I need to learn to do better braids 😉
I was pleased with the day, but exhausted. The stress my husband has caused me really wore me out and in an act of stupidity while venting my frustrations on a piece of wood, I scraped my arm and punctured a hole into my skin. My arm is flaring in pain and it hurts so bad I could almost cry. I can just imagine what the barn owner thinks of me over this issue. The whole thing is so stupid it’s not even funny and my husband has been a total ass and is making a huge deal about it at the risk of pissing off the barn owner with no consideration at all for all the kindnesses she’s done for us and the excellent care the horses receive, or the fact that we have no where else to board. Grrrr… ok, I’m getting angry again and before I end up hurting my other arm too, I need to go shower all the dust and frustrations out of me.
Have a good day!