Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Morgan Show.......... A Little Something New for Legs.....

Part 1

Getting up at 5:30 was getting pretty old by Saturday morning. When my alarm went off I felt more like pitching it across the room than getting my b*tt out of bed. The snooze alarm is not my friend. It only makes me meaner. I swear I'm better off just getting up and going for it than trying to catch an extra forty winks.

The only thing that made the early hour feel not so daunting was knowing I would get to spend some time with my horse. This far into the show I was really realizing the advantage bringing my horse had been. I was definitely a lot less stressed and there had certainly been enough tests to have be tied up into one huge knot. Instead I didn't feel stressed at all.........just plain tired.

By the time I got to the fairgrounds my mind was already buzzing about the footing. I was really hoping that the fixes I'd made the day before were going to be it. Footing can change so drastically with a simple weather change, I didn't really know what to expect.

Legs was napping when I got to his stall. I guess he was exhausted from this show too. Even though he hadn't done the kind of work he normally does at horse shows, I think the commotion all around him and those loud speakers blaring class calls and announcements all day wear the horses out too. He looked up at me when I opened his stall door with a look that read, "You've got to be kidding!" I had to put the halter on the horse and cluck several times to get him to his feet.

Funny how he can be dragging one minute and tossing his head at me the next. When we walked up to the arena, the little bugger flipped his head and even half reared not wanting to enter the arena. This time I knew his reaction was more about wanting to do something different, that really being afraid of entering the arena. With all the commotion of the show, I hadn't allowed the horse any sight seeing at all. Something this horse really likes to do!

My ride was short and sweet. I think I took longer warming the horse up than I actually did riding. The footing felt great underneath us and the horse seemed to have resigned himself to keeping "it" together when asked to be collected.

I felt comfortable letting the paddock announcer's daughter ride my horse in this "spooky" arena would go off without a hitch. I was thinking we'd get that done at the lunch break and then maybe if she wanted to participate in the ride a fiver at the exhibitor party she could use Legs if she wanted.

As usual, those plans got pushed aside. We had trail classes scheduled at the end of the afternoon session. The show committee had hired a trail course designer who not only designed the courses but brought all the stuff and set the course up. Then riders could school their horses on the course (and get tips on how to ride these particular courses ) for 5 bucks a go. That meant it wouldn't be until after trail that S would ride Legs.

I know that Legs had started off being a little goofy about this arena. I also know from past experience that Legs is usually just fine when I put a kid on him. Doesn't matter how much experience the kid has, Legs usually goes into caretaker mode. I was counting on that here.

S does have experience riding. She just doesn't have her own horse. She has experience showing and has done pretty well. I just didn't know how the way she was taught would mesh with what Legs knows.

The way things turned out the exhibitor party was going on before we actually got to Legs. That meant they were using the show arena for their party games so S would be riding Legs in the outdoor arena where the trail classes had been.

I'd had S tack the horse up while I finished up with trail. Immediately afterwards, the trail course designer and her partner began dismantling the course while I warmed Legs up in the other half of the arena. That all seemed to be going ok so I went ahead and put S aboard my horse.

It took a couple of times to get her stirrups right. What she thought was good turned out to be too long and Legs wasn't quite sure what to think of S in the saddle.

I don't know if she was nervous or tense because it turns out the horse's cues were totally foreign to her. It started off with my horse going high headed more like a Morgan horse than rolled over looking like an Arabian and it took some work for her to get him rolled over where he belonged.

I think part of that had to do with her hands. She held them high like she was riding an English style horse instead of down lower. Then when I told her how to get him to lower his head, she'd catch him just as he'd start to drop confusing him. It was just a little error in timing but she hung in there and eventually got it.

All the while she was riding, that trail course was coming down. Legs seemed to be paying attention to the moving trees, poles and such as they were being moved into a dark horse trailer right near where we were schooling. The horse was still listening to S too but I could tell he had concerns about the noise and stuff.

At one point S asked the horse to lope. Just as she cued him, the man inside the horse trailer dropped some poles. Legs began to buck.

I don't know if it was the clashing poles or if S over cued the horse but either way it wasn't a "I'm going to dump you kind of buck" as much as it was the "spring being over tightened" looking kind of thing. I watched S's face as I told her what to do and the kid did good!

She wasn't frightened. She just pushed the horse on through as I instructed., pulled him into a small circle and spanked him for protesting no matter what his issue was. Then she came in and shortened her stirrups yet again, another two holes, no less. With the horse bucking she could tell the length was still much longer than helpful.

S didn't try to lope the horse again after that but she did work him at the walk and the jog. She figured out how to move him laterally off her legs and she finally got him going looking just like an Arabian horse. Both his jog and his walk looked just like they should and were well rated. The horse looked relaxed as did the rider.

Her mom told me later her friends had all been watching her ride the Arabian stallion. Mom thought S was stressed that she might make a fool out of herself in front of them.

I don't know what her friends thought but I thought she did a great job of adapting to riding a horse trained totally different from anything she'd ever ridden before. In the end the horse was looking just like he should. That would never have happened had S not figured it out.

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

A Little Stress

1 comment:

  1. Good for her keeping her seat. :) Even if she chose not to lope again she still didn't get scared and decide to get off but rode through the whole experience. That's great!