Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Adventure Continues..........The Warm Up.......

The Adventure Begins

Much of the time when schooling in Tulsa I'd needed help to mount my horse. For some reason I was having problems with my saddle slipping to towards me if I tried to mount from the ground without help It didn't matter if it was someone holding my stirrup or if I borrowed a mounting block or small ladders left near the warm-up, either would work. Without this help I just couldn't get the job done.

Usually I don't have this kind of issue except on those rare occassions when I haven't ridden in a while. Then my joints get stiff and I can't seem to even drag myself up into the saddle. After a day or two of getting back into the routine and limbering my joints up, I do just fine mounting from the ground.

At Tulsa, however, I was riding in a different saddle. The only time I use my show saddle is at horse shows. Then I school in it too so I'm used to it by the time I ride my class. Besides, my show saddle is just not that broken in and it can use the extra miles. While I ordered it my very first trip to nationals and it was guaranteed to fit my horse, the saddle never did fit Dandy. I ended up putting it aside and have only recently been riding it again.

This saddle fits Legs pretty well so I only really began riding it when I began to get serious about showing Legs. I have not had this issue with the saddle slipping before Tulsa. I can't say I ever figured out why I was having it now. The one thing I knew for sure if I couldn't mount from the ground in my work clothes, there was no way I'd get into the saddle in my show clothes. The added restriction of those darn chaps are a killer when it comes to mounting.

As we made our way up to the Ford Truck Arena for our class, I was pondering this dilemma. I knew there'd be plenty of people around but it's not always easy to get strangers to help. With my horse being nervous about the area, it wasn't so easy to expect people would be willing. Most people don't want anywhere near a squirrelly acting horse.

I had decided that I wouldn't warm Legs up using the aperture. Changing from that to the full bridle would require getting off and then mounting again. Since I was already worried about getting help to get on, I figured only getting on once would be best. That would make this my first ride on Legs in Tulsa where I hadn't warmed up first with the aperture. Knowing the confinement of the device had helped Legs settle made me wonder what I'd get without it.

As I neared the warm-up outside the Ford Truck Arena a woman walked up to me asking if I was "MiKael." She introduced herself as one of my blog readers and we chatted for a brief moment. Then Dian held my stirrup for me so I could mount my horse.

It probably didn't seem like a big thing to Dian to assist as I mounted but it sure was to me. I had worried about looking less than graceful in the midst of my fellow competitors and I had worried about Legs taking advantage. Now with that out of the way I was ready to get down to the serious business of warming up my horse.

I had not spent any real time schooling my horse in this warm up arena since that day the horse had been scared by the water truck. I had meant to spend time here but just didn't get it done. Now I was wondering if I was going to pay for that mistake. There's just no way to know what a horse is going to remember..........and when.

The warm up was a zoo. There were so many trainers riding around intently schooling their amateur horses sometimes there were six horses abreast coming down the rail. Going the opposite direction was just as bad, there were clumps of horses spread across the rail that way too. Watching those horses meet each other was interesting.......but everyone managed to keep going and doing their thing.

Then between grooms, riders and friends standing in the middle there really wasn't room to cut short the arena to find a better position. It seemed like there were people darting in and out of the confusion all the time. I can't say I'd experienced this kind of congestion at all yet here at Tulsa......but it sure did remind me of the intensity of warm-ups in Albuquerque, even though I think those warm-up arenas were bigger.

I was not sure how Legs was going to deal with all this confusion. He'd done his usual spooking and snorting on the walk up the aisle way. Would he have flashbacks of that water truck or would he settle in and go to work? Would I have a calmer horse when I entered the show ring or would it be a big mess? There was only one way to tell. That was to get into the thick of it to warm up.

The horse started off a little tense. It wasn't the normal kind of excitement I feel before a class. It was more the same tension Legs had been carrying every since the scare but the horse seemed to be listening as I began asking to flex off of my legs.

I was trying to keep the horse out of the goofy traffic hoping to calm him some but it seemed like I was always riding straight into a pack of oncoming horses. Changing directions didn't fix the problem, there were just as many going that way. I was just going to have to figure my way to ride through this mess hopefully without running over anyone........and scaring my horse.

Legs seemed to be handling the traffic ok. Although I could still feel the tension, it wasn't building and his responses to my cues were good. I figured as long as I didn't let that traffic get to me, my horse would be as good as he could so I reminded myself to breathe anytime I got near those packs and I rode my horse.

I'd hoped there would be a brief respite from all the traffic when the trainers stopped riding to get their amateurs mounted up and riding. That didn't really work out because that process seemed to be more staggered than it happens at home. Then when the amateurs were really riding their own horses, it really did get a bit crazy.

Some of those amateurs lacked the confidence to ride in that kind of confusion just like I had done with Dandy those 14 years ago. That just made the warm-up even more confusing and a bit unpredictable. Both Legs and I were going to be glad to be heading into the show ring. Trainers wouldn't be yelling directions at their riders and we'd all be going the same direction and hopefully at the same gait. It was time to get on with the show..................

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

The Class

This picture of Legs and I in the class was sent to me by Dian. Thanks Dian!!

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  1. Yep! That sounds just like Dian, always doing something nice! We love your blog, keep the stories comin...Sally

  2. oh wow, you both look really, really sharp!! I know it already happened but...I feel I oughta say Good Luck! lol, especially since we still don't know what happened in the classes.

  3. Loved your story. You never know what is going to take place at a show. I disagree with what some riders and trainers do in the warm up ring.
    I love Arabs. One I raised and showed her. She was my friend and teacher.
    Loved the picture, Arabs are so beautiful and intelligent. Some individuals will say they are too high strung but it depends on how they are raised.
    Good luck with your showing.