Well, it definitely has been a long, long time since I posted last! A lot’s been happening, although you’d think with my unemployment status, I’d actually have more time to spend in front of the computer.
I really haven’t been home much! I’ve just been spending all my free time at the barn, and enjoying every quickly-dwindling minute of it.
I’ve restarted my diet and my daily pilates work out. I’ve lost a whopping 2 pounds (whoo hoo)….. only about 28 more to go, lol. No hurry, though, I suppose… I’ll get there sooner or later.
I’ve found a new job and actually start that tomorrow. Should be good. More details to come as I learn them myself. It’s great that I found a new job so quickly – it’s only been a month. And it’s close to home. Really close. Like 2 miles close. Which is important to me, because I don’t want to spend a ton of time commuting– interferes too much with my barn time. lol 😉
And speaking of barn time – a lot of that time recently has been spent prepping for my first driving show!
The show was May 5, Cinco De Mayo, Derby Day – did you watch the Derby? What a race. Truly, while I am disappointed with the horses over all, having such a tight field really makes for an exhilarating watch. I wish there was one clear cut winner, a super horse if you will, but I guess that they all can’t be Zenyattas, right? But all the same, it really takes your breath away to watch that final fight to the finish. Just wish I could pick the trifecta one time!
Anyway, so back to the horse show. The plan was that I would show Jesse, the black mini, single. He’s never been shown before, and since I started working him back in August 2011, I’ve put maybe 50 drives on him… just a little less than Chewbacca who is up to 68.
Chewbacca is on temporary lay up, as he decided he only needed 1 shoe on his front feet, and proceeded to lose one somewhere in the abyss. I’m awaiting the farrier and a new shoe, so Chewie is out for the count until that happens. Good thing I wasn’t planning on bringing him to this show!!! He better not lose his shoe again the day before the next show, because he *is* going to that one.
So, Jesse got body clipped earlier in the week, and I took the liberty of teaching myself (thanks to YouTube) how to French plait a mane and forelock. I practiced it a couple times during the week, so by show day, I felt I was ready to put one in “for real”.
So, the day before the show, I groomed Jesse and Luke all up nice and shiny, and cleaned and prepped carts and horse trailer. Show morning rolled around in a misty haze worthy of the movie “Mist”, but I was undeterred to show Jesse and myself in our first show – and compete against my husband and Luke, none-the-less!
I lead the horses out towards the trailer in the morning, and suddenly – it dawns on me….. I spent months training Jesse to drive properly, to flex, to bend, to frame up, to control his gaits….. spent all that time clipping him and grooming him as best I could… and as I stare at the horse trailer, I realize – I never practiced LOADING with him!
I laughed to my husband and said since he’s small, we may be pushing if he won’t go. I popped Luke on the trailer quickly. His experience leaves nothing to question. He knows the drill and stepped right in, tied, and stood. Then I turned to Jesse.
Would the little black, shiny, freshly clipped beastie load seeing how his fellow competitor hopped right in?
The moment of truth at hand – Jesse jumped right up. No problems!
In less than 5 minutes, we were off to the show. We arrived, we parked, set the horses up, and the rain cometh. And cometh. And cometh. And cometh. It rained lightly for about 3 hours and the temperature kept dropping and the wind kept picking up. Ugh. The horses remained tied to the trailer and grazed happily. They were never a problem.
And a little drizzle wasn’t going to stop my first driving show experience, and soon enough, we were harnessing up and heading about the show grounds so Jesse could get some time to see the place up close.
Jesse has not been shown before. I’ve never shown driving before. And I have also never shown a green horse at its first show before, either. So what a combination, right?!
Of course Luke was the pro he should be, and proudly walked around the warming up areas with a look of pure perfection. Jesse on the other hand….. was amazingly excellent. I was totally impressed with the little guy’s attitude through the whole event. He had a couple very brief moments of getting a little “cranky” and some rearing in the cart was involved, but it was very slight. Overall, he was perfect. Absolutely perfect.
We walked around the grounds a bit, then warmed up some on the grass amongst the larger horses. Spooked quite a few, and did cause someone to get dumped. My bad. Sorry. We actually weren’t anywhere near them, but the girl’s mare just stopped dead in her tracks when she saw that little horse come around a turn, and it was over. lol.
That mare got over her issues, and in no time, the arena was opened for warm up for all. Jesse went in like a pro and worked around the arena amongst about 20 other riding horses. Some of the people riding apparently never heard of the arena etiquette rule that you DO NOT PASS ON THE RAIL. So at one point, I was literally being passed by 10-12 cantering horses on both sides of the little mini.
I felt like an eco-car being passed by semis on a highway. It was a new experience for both me and Jesse. Jesse has never been in an arena with ANY riding horse at all. In fact, he’s only had brief experience working with Luke as a fellow driving horse, and of course with Dixie tandem.
Did all my preparation in whatever limited means I could, pay off? It did. Jesse handled being passed by cantering behemoth horses on both sides like it was something that happened every day as part of normal life. He never put a foot out of line. What a fantastic boy, and great first – show- warm- up experience.
So, when the class was called into the ring for competition, how would he stack up against Luke, one other mini, and a Morab horse? There were only 4 in the class- remember, our local open driving shows are small, getting 8 to a class is a big deal. 4-5 is about average.
Jesse trotted around beautifully. He did superb. Luke pranced his way to his usual first place win in the pleasure class. I expect nothing less from that amazing pony. The judge swooned over him. I suppose my husband did Ok, too. lol. Jesse stacked up to 3rd while the other mini got 2nd. Not too shabby. I was happy just to have a successful class, without breaking stride or messing up.
Next up was the reinsmanship class. It’s like “driving equitation”, and is judged mainly on the rein handling skills of the driver. Usually Luke and my husband win this too, but then again, they never competed against their “trainer”.
Guess who walked out of the arena with a 1st place ribbon and a trophy?!! Yep. The little tyke certainly earned his keep at the show. The judge had great things to say, and took the time to actually inform the competitors of his thoughts and decision making process, which was nice, because usually judges do not do that. He swooned over Luke again and offered many compliments about how he was the best horse he’s seen in a while (for driving) and the like, and also praised my driving skills and explained why he awarded me the 1st place win.
Then it was on to cones. Cones. Generally the idea of cones is that, like with jumping, you leave your “obstacles” UP. At home, I am very good at cone bowling. I run them down like I’m trying to get a turkey or something. I hoped my lack of driving skills would not appear on the cone field. Well, I only killed one. So I guess that’s good. I ran that cone over good. Spooked Jesse a little when he heard the thump and the cart lifted up over the hard cone. At home, my cones squish down, and are quiet. lol.
Oh well. The cones was a duel between only my husband and myself. I went first. Heck, I even walked the course and planned my approaches to the cones, and I still ran the one down. I suck at cones. Can’t wait to do it with Chewbacca next month. I’ll probably run them all over.
My husband trotted onto the cone course without any prep, without walking the course, nothing. He of course won. lol.
So all in all, I walked out with a 1st & trophy, 2nd, and 3rd, and my husband got two 1sts (1 trophy), and a 3rd. Good show.
The horses were exemplary on every level, and I was thrilled to have the chance to compete finally! New job starts tomorrow, and while I’m nervous, I’m looking forward to it, and I hope to get pictures soon of the show and I will post them when I do!
Have a great day!!