Monday, October 27, 2008

Baby Boomer Dreams - Dandy's Story - The Western Class

Part 1

I remember clearly that first time I rode my Arabian horse into Tingsley Arena. Tears welled up and a huge lump formed in my throat. I was so proud to be there riding a horse that I had not only bred myself but that I had trained myself as well. It was a dream come true just getting to ride in that arena.

Looking around at the other exhibitors it was easy to see that many of them were not with the big named trainers like I had feared. Even though I had been worried about the amount of collection in my horse, it was obvious that he could be competitive in this mix.

There were even a couple of horses going around the ring totally out of the bridle and gawking. I really hadn't expected to see horses at this level competing in such a manner. But then this was my first trip to nationals and there was a lot that I would learn.

Dandy has this slow relaxed comfortable jog and even for a big horse he makes it look effortless. It was fun to ride him down the rail behind some little squirt of a horse and watch that horse pulling away from him. Maybe the roundness of his neck wouldn't be such a big thing after all.

One of the other really cool things about Dandy are his transitions. Even when he isn't quite as round as he should be the horse's transitions are always killer. The horse just seems to float into or out of any gait asked. His transitions will always be the measure that all other horses I ride will have to measure up to in my eyes.

At each change of gait Dandy effortlessly did what I asked. It seemed like the farther into this class we got the more proud I was of my horse. Despite his fear in the warm-ups at this event the horse was giving me his all in the ring. I was really beginning to think maybe we had a shot a making this cut.

Then it happened. We were travelling the second way of the ring at the lope nearing the end of our ride. From behind me came one of those horses raised up out of the bridle and gawking passing us on the outside. As the pair went by they were so close the rider clipped my stirrup jamming my leg into my horse. The rider was gawking just like the horse and oblivious to this contact.

My horse stayed calm despite this intrusion but as the other horse got partially by us it dove for the rail. I think it was the rider's foot that hooked on Dandy's rein right at the shank of the curb actually pulling my horse's face towards the other horse. My poor horse was really slammed in the face by this contact so he stopped and raised up out of the bridle to escape the assault. The intrusive pair continued on down the rail without ever noticing the damage they had caused.

I put my legs on Dandy and pushed him back into the bridle and forward back into the lope. With a big sigh and little hesitation the horse rolled over and did exactly what I asked. I glanced over to see what the judges had caught only to see two of them striking our number off their sheets.

It had happened again, a wreck not of our making had eliminated us. I will never forget that sick feeling that took over my stomach.The only hope I had left was trail. Would Dandy and I be able to do what we had a the regional championships? Win the trail and sneak into the top ten at Nationals.............

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

Trail at Nationals

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  1. Interesting! I like your title, Baby Boomer Dreams.
    Don't forget the Nov.1 Blog Carnival!

  2. Oh My Gosh!!! That is SAD!!! I know that sick feeling, from the rail, anyway. My daughter was showing in a big class. Her horse was "on" and they were doing well. When a horse and rider, ran into her horse knocking her mare sideways. My daughters horse didn't lash out at the intruder and recovered quickly. This out of control pair went on to interfere with others too, she tells of 3 times during the class this horse interfered with her ride, she couldn't seem to stay out of their way! She felt like she had a 'bullseye' on her somewhere! From the rail, I remember holding my breath nearly covering my eyes wondering when this 'train wreck' was going to end!
    My daughter now talks about her "combat classes", the ones you win because there is no vet bill or doctor bill attached. It's sad that people don't prepare to the minimum of not interfering with other's!

  3. You have the worst luck. It's too bad the judges didn't see the whole thing, but then they never seem to. Someone should be able to lodge a complaint about people like that.

  4. I wonder why the judges would mark off the victim horse in a situation like that? That is just odd.

  5. enlightenedhorsemanship, I don't even know where the Nov Carnival is. I will have to see if I can track that info down.

    jeanette, ya, that sick feeling is hard to forget, isn't it? I have had classes like your daughter's.

    grey horse, I do seem to get myself into things sometimes, that's for sure. As for the judges with 28 horses in the class they had a lot to keep track of. Having stood in the middle to judge a time or two I can understand how things get missed. But it was frustrating.

    oringinal l, the judges wouldn't mark off a victim horse but they would have had to see the whole wreck. Evidently they were looking at something else when it occurred and only saw my horse stopped afterwards. At that point there's nothing they can do but assume my horse was not doing what he was supposed to be.

    Someone at the time told me it was my fault. That I should have seen that horse coming. But how I was supposed to see a horse coming up from behind me, I don't know. The horse can see back there but I sure can't. Oh well, you win some and you loose some. It all balances out in the end, I think.