Thursday, June 25, 2009

2009 AHACO Arabian Horse Show in Salem AAOTR Championship

My last class at the AHACO All Arabian Horse Show was the purebred Adult Amateur Owner to Ride (AAOTR) western pleasure class. As I get further along this road of finishing my western pleasure horse this class is the one that tells me how far I have come and how far I have yet to go. I know I must be consistently competitive in this class before I will ever be competitive at the national level.

Also riding in this class is the woman on the chestnut stallion that collided with my horse in the qualifying class. I may have missed her in the warm-up arena before that class but I certainly wasn't about to make that same mistake again. I was painfully aware of her presence at what seemed like every turn as we warmed up.

My horse was going well in the warm-up. It's a big arena with lots of commotion going everywhere. Horses seem to be working both directions while their support personnel all congregate in the middle. Maybe that added congestion gave him a sense of security in regards to the "threat" from that other horse.

Whatever the reason, as soon as we went into the ring my horse became immediately tense. I had to shorten up my reins to keep him rated at the proper speed. It's frustrating to work so well in the warm-up only to loose it upon entering the ring but riding the horse I had was going to have to be the game plan yet again.

Then there was that other horse. Already having had one wreck, I sure didn't need another. It was obvious the horse had issues in the ring. Keeping a safe distance was going to have to be my top priority.

It's not that I haven't had to be wary of horses before but this situation was different. Not only was the other stallion more volatile, the rider seemed to have less control. Also she seemed to be unaware that she was having a problem at all. That made the pair even more threatening. Combined with my horse's brightly checkered past of ring mishaps, the last thing I needed was another wreck that might cement his fear in the ring.

At the jog finding a safe distance seemed to be easy. It was at the lope that things got difficult. Each time I would circle around to avoid the chestnut stallion, it seemed the horse managed to come right along with me. I found myself making repeated circles at the one end of the arena looking for a place to go that provided that safe distance I needed.

By the time I was able to find an opening on the rail without that stallion coming up behind, the announcer called for the jog. I'd spent most of the lope just circling at the far end of the arena away from the judge. That's not really the way I prefer to show my horse but at least we'd avoided any issues.

When the announce called for the line-up I waited for the chestnut stallion to find a place in line first. I wanted to keep my horse as far away from him as possible. Blowing up in the line-up was also one of this horse's issues. When the class finally all settled into place, I was at one end and the red stallion was at the other.

As they called out the placings I pondered my ride. I'd spent the entire time focusing on the position of the other horse first. My actual ride had come in a distant second. Imagine my surprise to find I'd placed third in this class. Legs was improving despite the outside interruptions.

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

Dandy in Walk Trot

Visit Blog Village and vote daily for this blog with this link They are now measuring the rankings by votes out, so if you find my blog on the site, please click that link too to improve my rankings. TY


  1. I respect your choice to distance yourself and Legs from this particular pair.
    I find it quite curious that they were even gracing the arena at this level. There are many other venues to work through issues that would not impact others who are competing in championship classes.

  2. Great foresight and a fabulous finish under the circumstances. No blow ups at all this time around and your first really positive ride without any scary stuff in this arena with him so it can only get better from here. He will remember the lack of trauma I am sure and you will have a better time next time you are in this ring.