Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More of the Daffodil All Arabian Spring Show

Part 1

As I rode my Arabian horse into the line-up, I headed straight for the ring master, Juan Stuckey. He's one of the first friendly faces I ever remember from my show ring career. Despite a good ride or a bad one, Juan is always there with a smile on his face sincerely glad to see you.

I think Juan makes each and every exhibitor feel like he's their friend.
Even at Scottsdale or Nationals, Juan sees us all the same. He might know some of us better than others but that doesn't matter to Juan. He likes all people and all horses and that's just how it is. He clearly sends that message. If show committees could figure out how to channel Juan Stuckey people would never quit showing.

Riding a horse the quality of Legs when he isn't quite right comes with some risks. There are those who will look at that ride and hold it against the horse, his breeding, talent, etc, or against me. Not that I care about my credibility as a trainer but I do care about how they see Legs. I don't want my decisions to affect opportunities for him to breed mares or how people might view the trainability of his get. So on days like this, I worry a bit about how it's looked to those viewing.

Riding up to Juan, I know I can trust his judgement of how it went. Was it a disaster or what? How did he see this boy of mine? A smile and a wink and I know I'm ok. We didn't embarrass ourselves. I can take a deep breath and pet my horse waiting for the placings to come.

Sitting there on my Arabian horse in the line-up, I looked down the row of horses counting heads. There had been ten horses in this class. At the time it had seemed like more because for some reason this group of amateur riders had chosen to ride around the center of the ring off the rail for near most of this class. That left the inside track unavailable for passing by a quicker horse.

While I always know when I line-up whether my horse deserves to win or not, lots of times it just doesn't turn out that way. So even if I haven't had a great ride, I still hope I'm might be lucky enough to sneak by and get in the ribbons.

As the announcer began reading the numbers and names of the placings in the class, I remember picturing in my head how each horse travels and how my horse compared. By the time they got to about fifth place I remember thinking that's about where I'd put Legs.

Sure enough, that's where the judge, Shannon Armstrong, put Legs too. We were sixth out of ten in the purebred adult amateur to ride western pleasure class. nothing fancy, no ribbon but five points towards qualifications for regionals or nationals. I was happy with that.

As the horses began leaving the ring, a few of them began acting up. I remember keeping a close eye out not wanting Legs to get flicked in the face with a tail or bumped by an unhappy horse. I've always been grateful that I've never had a horse that got difficult about exiting the ring but I think getting a horse too close to one who is can get you started down that path.

Legs was glad to hang back and stay out of the pack. He stood quietly and waited for a cue, only moving forward a slow step at a time waiting for the crowd of horses to thin. I always try and pet the horse on the way out being sure to thank him for the ride. Legs loves the attention and gets a soft swing to his head that tells me he's pleased.

Despite the cold night air, the walk back to the barn was nice. My horse was the most relaxed he'd been out and about on the fairgrounds. His head was down and his eye soft as he walked between Rachel and I. We walked slowly on the asphalt discussing the mornings schedule.

Once in the barn Rachel took Legs and got him untacked while I changed my clothes. I don't think it took us ten minutes tops to have the horse put away and the place locked up. Then we were on our way home. Saturday morning was going to start early with Rachel and Dandy having an early class.

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

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  1. I'm enjoying your "behind the scenes" commentary on the show and what you were thinking as you rode the classes. Hope all is well - I've been reading but haven't had time to comment lately. Hopefully we're back to normal here now and I can get back to my morning read/comment/write routine!

  2. No ribbon for 6th? Boo!

    You're making me nostalgic for Arabian showing. I've really got to get my horse back in the ring!

  3. He was just as you thought, and calm and pleased with himself. Nice job.

  4. You know, I think Legs is absolutely gorgeous. :) And you look good up on him too.

    I might have to wander over to your website and check him out.

  5. billie, I hope you're able to get back to your normal routine as well. If your'e anything like me...nothing makes me more stressed than bumps in life's road rocking my routine.

    Leaving for another show today, so there should be more show posts soon.

    dressagemom, nope, no ribbon for sixth....and I probably shouldn't say that I'm not really into ribbons much. I like to know I'm up there with the competition and that's good enough for me. (I do like the blue and red ones though lol)

    Yes, you and Kaswyn need to get back into the ring....I can hear the Arabian circuit calling to you.

    kathy c, yes it's funny how he can be so pleased with himself. Lots of his kids do that too. After a ride they drop their heads and get this expression on their faces that says "I did good!" lol

    jkb, thanks, and thanks for stopping by. I really need to get that website updated. I have new pics to put up among other things.

  6. "Despite the cold night air, the walk back to the barn was nice. My horse was the most relaxed he'd been out and about on the fairgrounds. His head was down and his eye soft as he walked between Rachel and I. We walked slowly on the asphalt discussing the mornings schedule."

    I love the picture this paints. A rider content with their horse, their g'kid and the way the day went overall. THIS is what it should be all about.

  7. I'm happy to hear you and Legs did well. I really like your riding attire, you look great. Will be looking forward to the rest of the show commentary.

  8. Well ridden and a reasonable outcome for his and your first show, and I agree with Holly the picture that your description paints is one that I wish was reflected in more people's lives, they would be far happier.

    Drive safely if I have missed you leaving, give us a buzz when you are settled in if you think about it. Good luck.



  9. Great pic, very sharp! Glad you are filling us in! I am big on patting and telling the horse great job when we are done with our event. THey deserve it!

  10. interesting to watch the show up close and in person as I've just started showing here in montana :)

    trot on, trot on
    gp in montana

  11. Holly, you said it well! Legs looks great! I just love those bay Arabs, especially in western tack.

  12. looks like you're getting it done..

    trot on, trot on
    gp in montana