Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rachel and Grandma and Arabian Horses at the Daffodil Summer Show.....a whole herd of them! Part 3

Part 1

As I rode my Arabian horse into the ring I couldn't help but think about the evening classes in Salem. It seemed like every time I rode in the evening in that ring something bad happened. My horse got scared or something. I was hoping that my horse wasn't remembering those things too.........

Earlier that day during the dinner break I had schooled my horse in this ring. Legs had been absolutely awesome in the bridle. The horse had jogged slower and loped slower than he had done in any earlier ride. I was beginning to think the horse might be getting close to truly being competitive.

So now as I was jogging nice and slowly down the rail, I couldn't help but smile thinking of how far the horse had come in such a short time. Next thing you know my horse was jumping out from underneath me. I was reeling in those reins as fast as possible trying to make direct contact with his face and get my horse under control.

I have no idea what got my horse. It doesn't show on the video but something spooked my horse.....big time! He leapt up and then bolted right out of the corner. It took me several strides to get the horse back under control.

The only thing good about this incident was the gate was still open. Judging doesn't officially begin until the gate is closed so it didn't count against my ride. Not that something like that couldn't affect a judge's decision, but the rules state it's not supposed to be a factor in the outcome of the class.

Poor Legs, here he was again in another evening class and I could feel his heart beating between my legs. The poor horse was absolutely terrified. Every little sound and I could feel his body twitch. He was trying, however, to hold it all together.

Riding a horse that's been scared like that takes a lot of concentration. I remember riding by Colleen and her telling me to relax. Her words broke my concentration and I was frustrated. I was relaxed! I might have been very focused but my body was very relaxed.

That's one thing I'm really good at, staying relaxed when I ride no matter what gets thrown my way. My ability to stay calm and keep tension out of my body helps my horse to regain his confidence despite his fear. Legs was relying on me and I didn't let him down.

The horse really surprises me with how well he can come back to me once he's been so badly scared. Even though his heart continued to race Legs was dialed in on my cues and giving me everything he had.

His transitions up and down were nice and I was beginning to think that we'd saved this ride. Then it happened again. This time we were going the second way of the ring. We had just begun the lope on the opposite wall and were loping into the offending corner from earlier. This time we were off the rail but that didn't help. Something scared my horse again and he was off!

The horse came back to me quicker this time. I think I had him back in two strides. But that didn't change the fact the judge was looking right at us as my horse leapt sideways and then bolted. I was beginning to worry that we had a pattern developing.

Neither time did I see or hear what had caused this reaction in my horse. I was totally lost as to the whys and wherefores. All I knew was that my horse was frightened. Now, his poor heart was beating twice as fast as before..........and before it was the racing heart of a frightened horse.

Angie won this class on Midnite Eclipse. You can see her in the video. She's the one who saw what happened to Legs and to other horses in that corner. (I missed any one else's problems because I was too busy trying to keep my horse settled.)

There were actually a couple of things going on in that corner. Neither was good for the horses. There were boys out behind throwing rocks at the tarp that is the wind block on that end of the arena. Then there was a woman with a squeaky stroller who was pushing it back and forth right on the rail while her two small children played peek-a-poo on both sides of it. Both kids were popping up from below the rail and evidently scaring more horses than mine.

Angie asked the woman to stop telling her the stroller was scaring the horses. The woman looked Angie right in the eye and pushed the thing again. Someone from the horse show had to go down there and speak to her to get her to quit. By that time it was too late for poor Legs.

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


  1. Oh, that's tough. That arena has been one of the toughest my daughter has shown in. Certainly not very horse friendly, and most of the horror stories happen to start with unruly kids or people with scary stuff on the rail!
    I could tell Legs was not there with you at the last, didn't see the problem, just the evidence. Slow was not on his agenda at the end, poor guy.

  2. Oh That stinks!People can be so rude!

  3. Man MiKael that makes me so mad. I am always so careful when I am in and around the ring photographing that I dont cause a distraction for the horses but unfortunately some people just done care. Was that Colleen striding down the side in the pink baseball cap? She looked mad if it was.

    I am sorry that a good ride turned into a nightmare for poor Legs and you.

    Looking foward to the next instalment and hope you are taking care of yourself. ((((Hugs)))))

  4. I liked the nice touch of your camera woman singing along with the song. I wish I were there so that I could have disciplined the boys throwing rocks and had a chat with the lady with the stroller. Are these people just spectators who know nothing about horses? Or do they know that they are scaring the horses and they just don't care? Or perhaps the lady with the stroller was planted by someone who did not have spooky horse with the hopes that all the other horses would spook, so that she could win?

  5. That's horrible. I would've been hard strapped stopping myself from shovelling out the trailer into the front seat of her car. That's just unnecessary, even if it wasn't what scared Legs.

    I didn't see the vidoe (stupid dail-up internet, so slow) but I can just imagine it. That's no good at all. Hopefully that corner won't stick in his mind for the future!