Thursday, April 29, 2010

Daffodil..................Select Rider............ part 2

Part 1

The first few strides of that lope were absolutely awesome. Then we began moving into the scary part of that arena. My horse tensed up expecting to find trolls somewhere waiting for him. With that he sped up just a bit, bracing at the poll and raising up a little too.

Instead of riding the horse deep into the corners as I usually do, I decided it was best of ride him a dozen or so feet off that scary rail. With wind gusts flirting with the tarp wall, it was only a matter of time before "something" got Legs.

I figured if there was a little distance between the offending tarps and my horse I might be able to convince him to manage his fear. That would also give me room to move the horse laterally off my legs to the outside. Those lateral moves are difficult so the horse must "think" about what he's doing. I knew the more I could keep Legs focused on my the less likely he was to spook.

We managed to navigate through that end of the arena without a major incident. I knew my horse was not as soft or responsive as I like but at least he hadn't jumped out from underneath me. In my mind, it was good.

We actually loped a couple of complete laps around the arena before being asked to transition down into the jog. I think we were actually in the exact spot the beautiful lope transition had happened. Something about that location must have been good for Legs because the transition to the jog was as flawless as the one up into the lope. It was easy to see my horse was and is finally getting it.

Because we had already walked, I figured we would be asked to reverse at the jog. I pushed my horse off the rail anticipating the request from the announcer. By the time it came, I had my horse far enough off the rail I was able to turn him into the wall to make my change of direction. That allowed me to "use" the wall as a barrier to shorten my horse's frame.

Legs is used to this kind of change in direction, although it's normally done at the walk. He stepped deep underneath himself and rolled over softly into the bridle. Our jog down towards the call judge was smooth and slow. Then they asked us to walk and my horse accommodated with a fluid transition.

The new Judges and Stewards Commissioner, Stan Morey, has made it clear he expects judges to judge ALL gaits equally. It's my understanding that means that the "walk" must be treated as the gait it is instead of just a few step transition into another gait as it has been "used" for many years by some judges. It didn't surprise me that we walked a good portion of the ring before asked to lope. I suspect with this insistence by Stan Morey, we'll be seeing lots more "walk" in shows to come.

For me, that's a good thing. I allow my western horse to do the "ground covering" walk the rule book calls for. The rate of my horse at the walk isn't because he is disrespecting the bridle (as some trainers think) but because he truly is engaged from behind and carrying himself properly. I love getting the opportunity to show off the softness and responsiveness of my horse at this gait. All it took to keep Legs in the bridle was a soft squeeze of my legs every now and then.

By the time we were asked to lope we were heading down into that far scary corner again. This transition was not what the first one had been. The funny thing about that is working to the right really is Legs' best way. However, the tension in his body translated to stiffness at his poll. While the transition wasn't terrible, it wasn't the poetry in motion I would have liked. It was pretty clear I was getting a different ride from my horse at this end of the arena than at the other one.

The rest of the ride went about the same. As we'd move out of the troll zone my horse would soften. The closer we'd get to moving back into that zone, the horse's anxiety would return. I was relieved when they called for the line-up even though we were just beginning our move into unfriendly territory.

I saw the opportunity to reverse my horse instead of heading all the way through the scary part of the arena so I went for it. The unexpected change of direction took my horse's mind off his search for trolls and we actually made it into the line up without incident. All in all it was a clean ride, if not the prettiest. At this point, that's a good thing.

This Daffodil All Arabian Horse Spring Show is really considered to be concurrent shows. There are two judges and the results from each are considered to be a separate show for the purpose of qualifications and points earned.

This format is new to the Arabian breed beginning in 2009. While I showed at Daffodil last year, with the foal watch on and my time limited at the horse show, I didn't really get the "feel" for this new format. This line-up was my first "realization" of the new format with it's resulting ring behavior.

I'm not particularly fond of this type of show. Riding with my friends, I like to know how each did. I find it difficult to keep track of who gets what in this two judge system. Once the horses move up for their first set of ribbons, I'm lost when the second ones are beginning to be presented. .The one thing I know for sure is a unanimous decision by the judges is about the only way I can keep up with what's happening. Once they no longer agree, I'm lost.

In this class, Legs was first on the call judge, Josh Quintos's, card. They placed the rest of the class on that card while Legs and I got our picture taken. From there I wasn't sure where I was supposed to go so I just moved up out of the way of the horse first on judge Lewis McKim's card.

When I heard my number called for the second place, I was really confused. Knowing the photographer, Rob Hess, wanted to take pics of the "victory pass" AND I really want a pic of Legs going with soft rein, I wasn't sure if I should get my red ribbon first or stay put to get the pic and get my ribbon on the way out of the class.

I know there are probably bigger issues to worry about at a horse show, but like I said, I'm new to this concurrent show thing and I didn't want to look "new." I wanted it to appear I knew what I was doing........even if I didn't.

To be honest, I can't even tell you which way I ended up. I know I got my picture taken AND I did end up with my red ribbon. Which order I did them in...............I'm clueless. But, hey, a red and a blue from our first class of the year, not too bad for a clueless old broad.........and her spooky, shopping for trolls horse.

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

Western Pleasure AAOTR

This pic isn't of this class but it was taken at the spring show this year. I used it so you can see what that far end looks like. It's made up of green metal panels with sheets of plywood attached. Then there are those yellow tarps blocking off the view above the rails except down at the far end where there is a gate that can be opened to let the tractor in for drags.

There are bales of straw stacked outside next to the panels to stop the riders schooling horses outside from riding right next to the rail. People coming from the office to the ribbon room also walk right next to the straw bales quite often. It's really a spooky set-up for many horses, not just mine.

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  1. Congrats on your win!! Even though Legs tensed up in the scary part of the arena, sounds like he did really well!
    I was confused on the judging too. I didn't realize they considered it 2 different shows. Good to know!

  2. Congrats on the ribbons , and a safe respectable ride. I am still sure I would be a basket case in the show ring , but I guess I will have to try

  3. Congratulations MiKael! From one old broad to another. Well done to both you and Legs.

  4. Congratulations on the great result. I was looking at the prize list for the Arabian show here and saw that it, too, is a concurrent show. Sounds potentially very confusing!

  5. Congratulations on the First and Second placings! Those tarps are ridiculous, I cant get over the size of them! A huge tarp like that blowing and flapping about is a sure fire way to spook a horse, I'm amazed that any horse can stay calm and collected near them. It sounds like Legs was being as brave as possible under the circumstances. Looks like there may be good things to come this show season for you and Legs!

  6. Congrats on your win! I'm so happy yall finally got recognized by the judges. :)

  7. Paint Girl, yupe, two shows, two sets of ribbons and prizes and more importantly two sets of points. In the prize list it shows two different show numbers for AHA. that's what makes it a concurrent show.

    fernvalley, you just need to remember it's just another ride because that's all it is for the horse. If you always look at it like that, the nerves will leave you alone.

    Arlene, Thanks, I think I'm the oldest rider in that class. LOL

    Story, I think most of the riders weren't really sure what to do about getting their ribbons and the people awarding them seemed to be confused too. I imagine as we have more experience with them, we'll get some kind of routine. I must admit the double ribbons and prizes was kinda fun.

    AussieArabianLover, those tarps were fastened all the way around but if a strong gust of wind came along they made noise that was intimidating to the horses.

    They used to not bother Legs at all until he got scared at the Salem show two springs ago. Ever since then, he's worried about them BUT he is getting better in containing his reaction. I'm thinking we're on the right track.

  8. congratulations mikael and legs! i'm also impressed he kept it together. i'm also happy you are dedicated to keeping western pleasure gaits pure.


  9. Yea Legs! Nice going MiKael! Onward and upward.

  10. Funder, thanks, I'm happy it's finally coming together. It's been a long journey.

    lytha, oh ya, I hate those mincy little steps they call a walk when what they're really trying to do is make sure their horses are "respecting the bit" which translates for many to mean "highly intimidated." That's not western plesure to me.

    Molly, Thanks, we are finally getting "there" and I'm really pleased with Legs.

  11. that's always a wonderful feeling, isn't it??

    Congrads to you. And to Legs, who did what he could to give you what you want despite the Arab Eatin' Cougars in the ring.

  12. Congrats to you and Legs!!! I myself am confused, however, The ribbons say it all. Guess we will never know what boogers he was waiting for but I wish we could get in their heads when this happens.
    Congrats again on a winning ride!

  13. Congratulations! I'm sure those were Well Deserved placings...cause we all know how hard you have worked to get them.

  14. Just stopped by to say 'Thanks' for your comment & what do I find -- a horsey person!! Yaaay!! A horsey person who wins horsey things!! Double yaay! Shall definitely be stopping over more often.

  15. Congratulations on your wins! It must feel very rewarding to put in all that hard work and then do well.