Monday, July 27, 2009

The Region 4 Championships......Select Rider

I was relieved to hear from the owner of the red stallion that at least that horse would only be in one of my regional championship classes. Without the stress or interference of that horse, my horse should be able to focus on his job and give me the kind of ride I'd been having at least that would be my hope.

I knew we still had issues as far as trolls living in the ring but I'd had the opportunity to school on that issue throughout the winter. Schooling at the horse show was going well EXCEPT when the red stallion was anywhere in proximity.

The fact the class the red stallion would ride was the Sweepstakes money class bothered me some. That class is my measure of how competitive my horse really is. When we can place in that division I will know we've accomplished something. I didn't really want to be going on to Nationals if I wasn't competitive in the adult amateur owner to ride, yet with this thing with the red horse, would it be a true measure. That was now the question facing me.

As you can imagine by now the stress level for me has hit an all time high. I not only had this darn red horse to worry about. There was the ever unpredictable Rhet not to mention four horses in my care. Added to the tension was the issue with my daughter. It seemed to be over something so small, I had no ideal seemed to be walking on eggshells no matter which way I turned.

Carrying a lot of stress is not the best way to be showing a horse. Tension in the body relates to stiffness in the horse........or at least that's been my experience. It was getting harder and harder to climb aboard my horse and put everything aside.

My first ride in the actual Region 4 All Arabian Championships was the select rider class. I've been schooling my horse in a contraption that Richard calls an aperture. Then just before the class, I pull the thing off and ride directly off the romels.

Most of the time I have the exact same horse in the aperture as I do the romel but not on this day. As soon as I pulled the schooling reins, my horse raised up and braced against the bit. There wasn't the tension in his body that had been there when the red stallion was around but he was definitely stiffening at the pole. I wouldn't be riding this class with a soft round horse either.

We went through the gate with my horse nice and slow but braced ever so slightly at the poll. Every time I tried to push him up under himself, I got a bit of resistance. Instead of being able to just wiggle my legs and maybe jiggle a rein at him, I had to actually pick up on the bit.

Even with that the horse was a little slow in his response. He'd hit the pressure of that bit and push a little before he rolled on into it. This was definitely not the soft responsive horse I am used to riding.

Normally when I've ridden the select rider class, my horse may not be rock solid but he's always soft in his responses. Even when I have to pick him up a lot to keep him round, we do well because I'm right on top of the corrections and he gives them to me willingly. It was my guess this new issue would probably sit differently with the judges.

The ride was uneventful, thank goodness. There were no spooks, no problems with rating, just this ever so slight bracing at the poll. Transitions up and down were decent. It was all there except for a relaxed poll. By the time we lined up I was thinking we'd be darn lucky to get in the top five.

It was really frustrating. Mostly because I wanted to know "Why." What was causing this reaction in my horse. It seems like every time I think I have things worked out something else happens. I'd have to wait until getting back to my stalls to get to the bottom of things.

I waited impatiently for the results of the class. I just wanted to get on back to the stalls and strip my horse down to examine him. When they had finally verified our numbers and released us from the ring, I was ready to do just that but Richard called out my name and pointed to the burgundy ribbons.

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

Select Rider Part 2

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1 comment:

  1. Oooohhh, how did you & Legs do? Sounds promising!

    Try and stay cool in all this uncomfortably hot weather!