Monday, June 2, 2008

Rachel & Grandma and Arabian Horses - Salem - First Day Part 2

Part One Salem

Behind me the rest of the 40 & over amateurs riding their purebred Arabian horses followed Legs and I into the arena. The procession of western pleasure horses always seems to take forever. You'd think there were thirty horses instead of sixteen making their way into the arena.

When Legs and I reached the far end of the arena, I looked out to see the trail of horses still waiting to make their entrance. Since the rules state the class is not to be judged until the gate is closed, I turned Legs back towards the first rail. Moving him sideways off my legs, I half passed the horse and played a bit with his mind. Anything to mix things up and break-up the regular class routine.

I think we actually cut back a couple of times in that far end of the arena before another horse even reached that end. I even turned the horse once right into the wall to rock him back on his butt before moving off down the rail. By the time the last rider finally made her way through the ingate, Legs and I were in the right position to head on down past the ring steward to find a solitary place on the rail.

This judge, Larry Hoffman, had the horses reverse at the jog, just like Shannon Armstrong had done at Daffodil. While I really like the judges mixing things up to help stop the horses from anticipating, two shows in a row is too much. The horses have learned the routine and are on to the game.

When the announcer called for the lope, Legs thought he should listen to him. Instead of waiting for me to ask, he tried to start on his own. I could feel the horse coiling up underneath my seat so I quickly scolded him with my voice stopping him in his tracks.

Because he'd tried to rush, I took a little extra time setting him up and asking him to lope. He actually tried a couple of times to jump the gun again but I kept holding him back wanting him to wait until he was cued.
Again riding the horse I had and looking down the road for the bigger picture was my plan. One ride at a time we'll make our goal as long as I don't try to shoot for the stars when we're only ready for a little cruise.

Cruising was a good description of Legs speed around the ring. While he wasn't in warp like he'd started out at Daffodil, the horse was still fast to be competitive. His rating was still off as well with him fluctuating more than he had the last week at home especially at the lope.

If I tried to slow him up, the horse wanted to stall altogether. It was like he ran right into the wall that curb bit represents and died right there. I was just going to have to be content to keep the speed he could keep true. But looking around at the slower loping horses it was hard not to want to go there.

The transition down to the walk was decent, not the best we've ever done but still good. I let the horse walk on much faster than the other horses. That creepy crawly thing they call a walk has never been my thing. I've learned many judges actually appreciate a horse that walks a real walk as long as the horse is soft so I take my chances and ride the walk I prefer.

Today, my horse was soft at the walk until we reversed to go the other way. The he began anticipating that darn lope again. I had to catch him trying to "go" a couple of times before the announcer even called for the gait. At least once I stopped him, the horse decided to wait for me.

I let the horses in front of me go before I asked. My horse rounded up and loped off in a great transition. Then promptly dropped his shoulder and flattened out. That's pretty much how the rest of the lope went. I picked him up and let him go only to have him flatten out again. Three to five strides at the most before I'd have to fix him again. This class was work.

I found myself sitting in the line-up next to Angie and Eclipse. I think the slow moving horse from Bret Becker's barn won the class. Angie and Eclipse were second. Maybe Jeff Lee's rider on the pretty, pretty chestnut mare was third, Tomi Sage's bay junior horse was in there and after that I got lost.

I knew out of sixteen horses there was no way we would get a ribbon. I had not seen any major wrecks that might have caused enough disruptions for us to sneak in. But it was all good. It had been a good schooling class with all of Legs's attempts to go on auto pilot. Might just as well nip those in the bud before the horse was going right.

At the dinner break I schooled Dandy and gave Rachel a lesson in the arena. Then Bev, Wendy and I went off to find food. Rachel stayed behind to hang out with the gang. The bad thing about that was by the time I returned, Rachel and the gang were ready to go get something to I went again.........this time for dessert. There's no way I'm going to drop thirty pounds!

That night I really thought I was going to sleep like a rock. I have visions of me flat out dreaming of Arabian horses and things. Instead, our new neighbors were setting up their tent in the dark and doing lots and lots of giggling.

I don't know what time they quit, but I was ready to kill them both. Only problem, they were from our barn. Wouldn't you know it. Not that I would have complained to someone I didn't know either but I really, really needed some sleep.

Patience is a virtue that I'm still trying to learn. I have considerably less of it when I am tired but I managed to restrain myself............and sometime after 1 am I actually got to sleep only take wake at six with the sun blazing in my eyes and the temperatures rising.........who knew that Salem would reach over 100° in May, no less.

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

Salem....Day Two........

See the loose rein on the front bay horse in this picture. That kind of drape even at the lope it what we're working for. The bay horse ridden in the bosal is Tomi Sage's junior horse.

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  1. I would have flipped my lid. But then again I have NO patience and little to no sensor....

  2. Legs is a smart horse to anticipate what comes next in the show ring after only doing it once, you've got to give him credit for that, right. I'm thinking even though it's nice to get a ribbon, you're doing a much more important job teaching him along the way what behavior is wanted at shows.And I'm also guessing that sooner than later he will be right where he needs to be, he's gorgeous and talented and smart.I like a horse who thinks for himself.(Although sometimes to much thinking gets them in trouble).It's good to hear you did a proper walk, I don't know where they come up with 'new rules' all the time,but the judges should leave it the way it's always been. I'd be a lot less tolerant than you about those gigglers,people can be so rude.

  3. Very interesting! Looking forward to the next post as always.
    I agree I am not much with the Western Pleasure lopes, me and my mare tried it once when they had a open horse show at our church. I couldn't get her to that slow lope that all of the others had. Don't get me wrong she has a solid lope, but not turtle speed! I decided that it wasn't for me!
    I really enjoy learning about your Arabians and the things you all do on them.
    Have a great day!

  4. I'm learning so much about Western Pleasure classes. Stuff I would never have known.

  5. beth, I guess the truth for me is that I'm such a light sleeper that even if that hadn't been giggling I would have been unable to sleep anyway. So there was no point of making a scene.

    I have to admit as I was laying there awake, I was thinking how nice it was to see a mother and daughter getting along so well and having such a good time. I've been in similiar situations where it was nothing but fighting. This was definitely better.

    grey horse, yes, legs is a very smart horse. I always have to take that in consideration or he'd be running the show. lol

    As long as the rule book states a ground covering walk, I'll be right there doing just what I am.

    kwdhorses, as long as I ride horses who can do that slow lope and keep it a true three beat gait instead of that funky four beat thing I see most of the time, I will work on it.

    But if they get it to the point the horses look off balance and uncomfortable to watch like those western pleasure horses in the AQHA and pinto shows, I'll no longer be interested. There's nothing pretty about those horses throwing their heads around to balance themselves going that slow.

    It's really helpful for my horses to be able to lope so slow when showing in trail classes too.

    callie, just as long as I'm not boring you half to death, I guess it's good.

  6. Yeah patience isnt one of my ftrong suits either LOL, but considering all that has happened over the past weeks in your life and so little time to prepare properly, I think you must have been pleased with him.

    Looking froward to the next instalment from the mistress of suspense.