Sunday, May 31, 2009

2009 AHACO Arabian Horse Show in Salem

A couple of weeks ago we went to a horse show in Salem. Between Richard's barn and mine we took a total of eleven horses. Most of the horses needed to qualify for the regional championships which are coming up this month.

This is the same horse show where all of the problems with Legs in the ring began. I posted the series Rachel & Grandma and Arabian Horses Go Show in Salem about that horse show not knowing how far reaching the effects of that first disastrous class were going to be on my horse. Who knew that one year later we'd still be working on trying to get those issues resolved.

We went to this horse show not because I needed to get points to qualify but because I needed to have the opportunity to school my horse in the arena where these issues began. There's no way I wanted to be paying those bigger fees for regionals for a horse still having issues in the ring. I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about what I was going to find upon riding my horse in this ring. It's not fun having a horse jumping out from underneath you for whatever reason.

The first night we arrived, I took my horse into the arena for schooling long after everyone was gone. Instead of riding him as I had done the previous year, I decided that I would longe the horse. I wanted him to deal with his demons on his terms without having to be in a required frame. Maybe that way he could put all his attention into "seeing" what was there instead of finding things that were not.

The wind was blowing just like it had been last year and a flag hanging from the old rafters overhead was flapping and cracking. The old building was creaking and groaning in protest just like it had last year as well. I wondered as we walked into the arena what kind of trolls the horse would hear taunting him. Would he freak out.......or would he handle it?

I took the horse to the far end of the arena where he had first encountered those trolls. I hoped that maybe he would see there was no reason for him to be frightened. I let the horse loose and sent him out to the end of the longe line waiting for his reaction to all those noises generated by the old building and the weather, yet none came. The horse just casually motored around like he was bored with the thought of longeing all together.

It didn't take long before I decided the horse wasn't going to find any trolls...........on this night anyway. We'd have to see if things changed when he got into a class. Since our first class was to be a night time one, it would definitely be a test of how much the horse had learned over the winter.

After our experiences at the Daffodil Spring Show I really wasn't sure what to expect. It seems like this poor horse just hasn't had any luck in the arena since that first episode that happened a year ago. Every show has had some kind of troll (sometimes in the form of people or little kids out of control) to reinforce the ring is just NOT a safe place.

I know I have to get him to the point he can deal with whatever life throws at him if he's ever going to make it in the arena. It's just that you can only do so much schooling on these kinds of issues at home. At some point you have to do them in the show ring. The horse has been shown enough he knows the difference between the two places. The real question is has he learned to respect the bridle enough to not go through it when he's frightened.

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


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  1. So true, you can prep all you want at home, but you never know what horse is going to present itself when you go somewhere else...the crazy one or the cool as a cucumber one. Hope the show went well.

  2. I like the Salem arena (This said from a spectator, I like historical old buildings), however, from a horse's perspective...I can see how it might be un-nerving.
    I can't wait to hear more!

  3. Hope you have video of the show! Glad he didn't encounter any at least during his lunge experience!

  4. Glad to see another Arab horse lover who shows! Good for you.

    The problem with showing is you work months to give a 5 to 10-minute perfect performance in the arena. Those minutes can seem like a life time and alot can wrong.