Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Baby Boomer Dreams - Dandy's Story - After The Ride

Part 1

I continued to take dressage lessons on my Arabian horse from Tom despite the disaster with the 20 meter circles. I gave up on trying to get him to show me and decided to just appreciate what the man did have to offer. He wasn't charging me for lessons. He was doing it so he could stay involved with horses when he was no longer able to ride. My guess is I took lessons from him for around six months.

I have to add in here after reading in the comments on The Ride where onthebit stated that the dressage arena is 20 meters wide so the circle touches both sides, it occurs to me that poor Tom was trying to tell me to ride the circles I had been riding. That would have been about the right size.

That makes me think that Tom really was trying to answer my question. Maybe I just wasn't listening very well. It's only 13 years later but at least I'm finally getting the picture. Tom's communication skills may not have been great but looks like I didn't do too well in that department either. If I had ridden those circles exactly like he said, I would have been just fine. The circles would have been round and probably the right size, or at least very close. The way I rode, I didn't do either. Maybe I should rethink this dressage thing after all!

When it got closer to show season, I made arrangements to take hunter lessons from one of the big name trainers in the area. Tom's wife was very ill by that time and he really didn't have time for me. I hadn't wanted to go to the Arabian trainer in the first place because it just didn't seem to make sense going until the horse was broke enough for the lessons to be productive. From Tom I had learned enough about posting and such that I felt I was no ready to learn how to finish my hunter horse.

In between lessons I was hauling my horse over to the Tacoma Unit each day to school. We worked on both western pleasure and hunter pleasure and sometimes trail for our Bonanza debut. I'd start off with the hunt seat and dressage stuff and then go on and school the western. Most of this I did in the western saddle but I made it a point to ride at least a couple times a week in the hunt saddle so I could get the feel for that as well.

If this was confusing to the horse, he didn't let on. Dandy seemed to be making great strides. The quarter horse trainers training out of the unit at the time thought he was doing just great. I'm not sure if that's because they didn't know how collected Arabians need to go or whether things feel apart later but training Dandy to be a competitive show horse was going to be one of the biggest challenges I was ever to face.

Not long after the dressage schooling show, I decided to take the horse to another schooling show also at the Tacoma Unit. This one had english/hunter classes the first day and western classes the second. His first time in the arena with a bunch of other horses I decided western was the best way to go. Going western things would be coming up a little slower. If something got out of hand, I'd have more reaction time, or that was my thinking anyway. (I should know by now, it's that thinking thing that gets me in trouble.)

I'd been to schooling shows before but never with a green horse. I hadn't really paid attention to the problems that might be there influencing a young horse. I just knew I needed to give the horse some experience in the ring with other horses. This was the cheapest most effective way I could think of to do it.

A couple of the big Arabian horse barns brought their green and problem horses to the schooling shows. I was following their lead and starting my young horse out the "right" way or that was the plan anyway.

I have to admit that after my experience at the dressage schooling show with Dandy, I did have some concerns. It wasn't so much about my horse. It was more about my confidence.

With Dandy being the first horse that I had ever started under saddle, I wasn't really sure if I could trust my instincts or not. I had gotten my share of ribbons at the A shows with the Arabian gelding, Mark, and for that matter with Scandalous as well, but I had never broken through the barrier at the regional level. I really needed to get this right if I wanted to show at Nationals my first year under saddle with this horse.

To be continued.............

The Next Schooling Show

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  1. Bringing a green horse to a show is always tricky, you never know what's going to happen. I've been in that situation lots of times. Be back tomorrow.

  2. I will haul a green horse to shows just to ride them around. I'll take the seasoned horses and show them... and give the green horse (as opposed to red or blue... ;-) Ha!) a chance to get used to the show scene without the additional pressure of showing.

  3. I can't wait to hear more about Dandy! I'll be back to visit again soon. Thanks for sharing.

  4. A ring full of green horses. To be continued.....

    At least we know you lived to tell about it!

  5. kim, I'm glad you're enjoying the story. It's gonna get good. Dandy is an amazing horse.

    grey horse matter, now you tell me. lol

    beth, yes, I have done this too, now that i am wiser. lol

    cassie, Dandy's story has a lot of twist to it, poor boy.

    anne, lol I think you're picking up on my writing style. You're right, the green horses are the root of this.

  6. Blogger is one of the few website I can actually visit at work, and I look forward to checking up on your blog. It's like a little treat. :)

  7. I sure had a lot to get caught up on! Being away twice in two weeks has me behind in about everything. Your story of the dogs sure hit a neve with me. We have two boxers two homes down that keep getting out to the point that the police say if they get one more complaint they can seize them. I am so scared that they might get after my guys especially old Buddy. I guess they are good dogs in the house but when they are running it's a different story. I haven't seen them in a week so maybe the fact sunk in that you have to keep your dogs contained! Am loving Dandy's story, I hope it doesn't take a bad twist!!!!!!

  8. Taking a green horse to the show??? I can't wait to read more! I'm sure it's an adventure good enough to have happened here lol.

    I so dread taking my green horses to the shows, so please tell me how it's NOT done. :)