Tuesday, June 9, 2009

2009 AHACO Arabian Horse Show in Salem Select Rider

Before Rachel got her next chance at showing Dandy in hunter pleasure, it was my turn to show Legs. The purebred western pleasure select rider class was the next class for the two of us.

For those of you who don't know what a "select rider" is, it is a rider who has not earned a top five at the regional level or a top ten at the national level in a given division. A select rider may win two titles in the select rider category before becoming ineligible to show as a select rider.

Because I've done most of my showing on green, unfinished horses, I don't have the wins it takes to make me ineligible for this class. The only top five I have achieved is with Dandy in the trail division.

There's a lot less pressure for me to ride in this class. While I know most of the horses in this class are more finished than my horse, I also know I have more experience riding than the other riders. For me that balances things out a bit and I feel like we can be really competitive in this class. I also know the day is coming when we will no longer be eligible to ride in this class but in the meantime I'm going to make the most out of it.

The other thing about these classes is they are also smaller. For a horse having problems in the ring, smaller is definitely better. With less horses working, it's much easier for a nervous horse to relax.

With all of the problems with Legs being scared in the ring, my only goal was to get around the ring with a clean ride. I know if this Arabian horse is ever going to get over his fear it's going to take clean, uneventful rides in the show ring. All the clean rides at home just aren't the same as racking them up in the show ring.

Legs was totally relaxed in the warm-up arena. His transitions into the lope were a bit fast but he came back easily to where he belonged. Also our "friend" riding the chestnut stallion didn't appear to be riding in this class, so I had hopes for smooth sailing.

Jogging into the arena, my horse tensed up. The rate of his jog moved up a bit and I had to shorten my reins. I had hoped to ride him on the nice drape of the warm-up but the clean ride was more important than the draped rein.

I remember the judge mixed up things in this class. Instead of the usual jog, lope, walk, reverse, lope, jog the horses get to know tooooo well, he broke us down to the walk and had us lope from there. I was glad for the change up, it really helps keep the horses from getting too ring savvy.

Legs's transition from the walk into the lope was actually pretty darn good. Having not practiced that transition in the warm-up, I was surprised the horse actually nailed it. Not only was the transition good, the horse didn't speed up immediately. He stayed nice and round for several strides before I had to remind him to round up again.

There were a couple of odd noises here and there. I felt my horse tense but he didn't pick up any steam. He just seemed to roll with things listening to my cues. I was relieved when the announcer called for the jog. We'd made it through the first lope without incident.

The second way of the ring went about the same. I still had a shorter rein than I would have preferred but I thought the horse was giving me a nice ride. He seemed to be attentive and trying his best. I really couldn't ask for much else.

We did have a bit of trouble with him dropping his shoulder to the outside at the lope. He's just not got the hang of that romel rein yet. Funny how holding the reins in two hands I can put my inside leg on the horse and get an immediate response of him bending around it but you put the reins in one hand and he gets stiff like a board...........totally forgetting that inside leg means to flex. Other than that it was a good ride.

I felt pretty confident when we pulled into the line-up. Despite the shorter rein, Legs had stayed soft and responsive. I hadn't picked him up enough to "feel" the bit even once. It was a world of improvement from past rides. Probably the best ride I'd had to date.....even if I did have a few things to fix. Progress............that's a good thing............and the blue ribbon wasn't half bad either.

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

More Horse Show

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  1. Did you really get the 1st place BLUE?! If so, good for you! Congrats!

  2. Congrats on the blue ribbon! I know it had to be a bit of a relief since you have had trouble with him. So does this win mean you're done with being a "select rider"?

    And you get the glory for being the something new I learned today.

  3. Congrats on your blue ribbon! Can't wait to hear how the rest of the show went and if you won any more ribbons.

  4. Wooo Hooo!!! congratulations!!! Oh I am so glad all your hard work paid off finally!!!
    How cool it will be when Legs gets even more comfortable in the show ring!

  5. Yay! Congratulations. It seems like your hard work is really paying off.