Monday, June 1, 2009

2009 AHACO Arabian Horse Show in Salem -AAOTR

Taking that many horses to a show, it's hard for me to keep track of what everyone did. I have a printout from the show office with the information on the two horses of mine that showed. Without that I'd probably have forgotten already lots of what happened.

My first class on Legs was the AAOTR (Adult Amateur Owner to Ride) 40 & over class on Thursday evening. Angie and Melanie both ride in that class as well so that meant our three horses made up nearly one third of the ten horse class.

To be honest I was so focused on "just getting through" and having a clean ride that I didn't really pay much attention to what other horses went into the ring. Normally in the warm-up arena I'm scoping out the other horses. Looking around for any potential problems to avoid in the ring is always a good plan but on this night, I was preoccupied.

My Arabian horse warmed up nicely. He seemed to be quiet and relaxed. Right from the start he worked just exactly the way I wanted. He did get distracted a couple of times by things happening around him in the warm-up arena but it was reaction to this things that pleased me. Legs just seemed to take them in stride.

When the paddock announcer made the final call for our class, I headed my horse out of the warm-up arena and onto the walkway that leads to the arena. Most of the time I am the first one to enter the ring. Part of that has to do with my show management mentality and keeping the show flowing on schedule and part has to do with getting a few minutes to school my horse once he enters the ring.

Since this routine is pretty usual for me, Legs is used to entering the ring alone. The norm is it takes a bit for the second horse to even follow. The rules state the gate must close two minutes after the first horse enters the ring but that rule is rarely followed. Straggling horses entering the arena is commonplace.

Legs started off jogging a hair faster than he has been schooling at home but by the time we hit the first wall he'd rated himself right where he belonged. As the photographer lined up to take a shot, I remember thinking this might actually be a picture we can use for a change. So far so good, the horse seemed to be relaxed.

I remember hearing the music playing as I realized my horse was right on time with the beat. Now, I can't even remember what song was playing, but I do remember it feel cool to have the horse be so in sync.

When the announcer asked us to lope, I waited for the horses around me to go before I even asked Legs to make his transition. When I asked the horse responded with one of the best transitions he's done in the western pleasure ring. I felt a sense of relief that I didn't have a horse tensing beneath me at this faster gait.

We made one full circle of the arena before disaster struck. As we were just going into the first corner of the far end I noticed a chestnut stallion just entering the opposite corner giving his rider fits. The horse was clearly not going forward, he was bouncing up and down in place spitting the bridle out at the same time.

I tried to turn Legs off the rail as a diversionary tactic but my horse didn't respond to the request to move off the rail immediately. As I struggled with him I increased the amount of outside leg I was using to the point I was poking him sharply with my spur. Finally the horse responded by moving away from the rail and we headed towards a place on the far off rail.
Somewhere in the middle of that course, the red horse found us. I can't really tell you how he managed to reach us at this location because it all happened just way too fast. What I can tell you is I felt the impact as that horse ran backwards right smack into Legs's face.

My heart stopped at that very instant. I just couldn't believe the luck that Legs had been encountering in the ring and this last episode really took the cake. I can't even begin to tell you how defeated I felt at that moment.

My poor horse leapt into the air upon impact throwing me straight up and out of the saddle. I heard the onlookers gasp in horror at the wreck unfolding before their eyes. Richard says there was about a foot of air between me and the saddle but it didn't feel the least bit off balance to me.

I easily landed right where I belonged in the middle of my horse. I asked the horse to roll back over into the bridle and just like the trooper he is, he did just that. Within a stride or too we were doing the same nice slow lope we'd been doing before the wreck.

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

AAOTR cont.......

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  1. Oh, MAN!!! Did you accidently wear the "Run Into Me" show shirt that day(you know the one with a bullseye on the back)??? Oh, I was so excited to hear Legs was doing soooo well.
    I remember that feeling all too well (watching my daughter)...knowing you are working through the 'buggaboos' and getting it done and BAMM...dashed hopes (I would just about loose my lunch watching on the rail)
    The question...did the judge respond favorably to Legs getting back in the game??? Did he get back in the game???
    Oh the suspense!!

  2. OH MY GOSH! MORE! WRITE MORE! HURRY! This post has captured my interest, and I can hardly wait until I can read the rest of this ride! I'd also love to find out how your stallion placed in this show.

  3. Oh my!!!! That is so scary! I hope the other owner who was not able to control the red horse was penalized for loosing control of her mount! And that is fantastic that you stayed on! What a good boy Legs!!

  4. That's our Legs! Such a smart boy.

  5. Agghhh! I was afraid there was eventually going to be a "but" when things started out so well. If Legs did as well for the rest of the class as he started, he deserves a blue ribbon just for how well he handled getting run over by the naughty horse! What a trooper.

  6. Holy Yikes! I was riveted reading this! Now I want to know what happened next and once again , you've left us hangin', LOL! Can't wait to read the next installment!

  7. Sounds more like "Western Combat" instead of Western Pleasure. I hope you two finished the class well. Hard to continue calmly once the adrenaline is pumping.

    Don't leave us hanging!

  8. I am finally making an attempt to catch up and i know I need to go back much further but thought I better make a starting point and this is it!!

    Oh boy poor you and Legs!! Sounds like things havent changed at least at this point, I have got a lot of reading to do so onwards and upwards!!