Thursday, August 7, 2008

Salem for the Region 4 Championships - Western Pleasure 50 & over

Part 1

Because the fees for regional championship classes are so high ($55 per class) I had figured that even if I qualified my Arabian horse for the adult amateur owner class I wouldn't ride it. I knew my horse wasn't competitive and there was little if any chance we could place. However, after some encouragement from Angie and Richard and my daughter, Colleen, I changed my mind and entered Legs after all. I was just going to go show my horse and have fun. I certainly was pleased that we had even qualified.

With each ride the horse was getting better and better. It was hard not to wish we had a few more weeks. If the horse kept improving at this rate, he might have been ready with a little more time.

I remember looking around the warm-up with all the amateur riders working with their trainers and thinking that I was doing well to have even gotten this far. The 40 & over purebred Arabian western pleasure class has been the most competitive class at the Arabian horse shows since my show career began. Now looking around the arena it looked like that distinction might just be travelling along with me into the 50 & over division. There were definitely some tough horses here and all seemed to be trained by Big Name Trainers. I can hardly wait for the day that my horse is competitive.

The only other amateur who trains her own horse that I saw riding in the ring that day was Melanie on Khemosabi Miss. They are on this video as well and both Melanie and I are wearing the same colors so there might be some confusion. However, Missy has four white socks and Melanie is much shorter and more petite than I.

I remember jogging into the ring fairly early. I'm just not big on keeping the judges waiting. That and I make use of that extra time before the gate is closed to school my horse if need be.

By this time in the week Legs was getting a bit tired and his jog was definitely slower than it had been. The beat of the music seemed to be keeping the horse going and I was glad that I didn't have to use so much leg to keep pushing him. Also, he was caring his head lower more consistently.

The horse's transition into the lope was good and his lope had slowed down considerable from that first class in this arena only three weeks before. It was hard to imagine that the horse had made that much progress in so little time. The best part was I wasn't fighting him to keep the gait true. He was really underneath himself where he belonged. He just needs to get more confident so I can pitch that rein and we will be right where we belong.

The transition down into the walk was a bit sloppy. The horse was round enough but he took a few jog steps before he hit the walk with two of three judges looking straight at him. A transition like that would kill even the best of rides and actually it surprised me because it's not something that Legs does often.

The only other thing that stood out for me about this class was they had us jog the second direction before they asked for the lope. Changing up form the usual walk to lope to jog format is great for the horse and can actually mess up some horses that go on auto pilot but Legs didn't seem to be affected at all. He stayed nice and soft.

I remember when they did ask us to lope that I waited a bit long. I almost got the horse boxed in the corner. I have no idea what I was thinking. I usually wait until the horses in front of me lope so that I have someplace to go but I really could have messed up my horse on this one. As it is he did ok and it was a nice lope.

I was pleased by the time we jogged into the line-up. My horse had again improved over his last class. There wasn't much more I could ask of him.

If I remember correctly, the class was won by Sue Rainwater on her new stallion. Sorry but I can't remember his full registered name only that it has "eclipse" in it somewhere. You can bet this horse will be a contender at nationals this year.

Melanie and her mare made it on two judges cards and she was pleased with that. Legs and I "got the gate" as I expected but I was really proud to have made it to that class in the first place. It's been a several years since I've shown in this division and it was nice to have qualified and ridden it in my first year with this horse.

Rachel still had her class to go on Dandy and I had decided to show him in the Adult Amateur Class on points that Rachel had earned. Both of those classes would be on Saturday, the last day of the show.

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

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  1. Hi MiKael
    He sounds like he is settling in nicely you must be very proud of him and yourself even if you didn't place. As long as you are moving forward that is all that counts.

    Good luck this weekend, I have terrible sinus at the moment thanks to all the darn corn tassling and the pollen and feel aweful but also have my Pinto show so will check in again on Monday probably after I have recovered.

    Drive safely and take care. (((Hugs)))


  2. Also want to add, I have just watched the video and I must be one very unobservant person (we already know that) because Legs and you looked awesome, I certainly wouldnt make a good judge.