Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Summer Show............Warming Up.........

Part 1
There was another rider from my division stabled in our group. Her trainer was riding the horse in the open so that gave me a barometer of how the schedule was advancing. Sometimes the amateurs get on later than I need, while others get on earlier. At least with it being the open division, I knew there would be no switch of riders and no premature schooling by an amateur doubting her own skills.

There really were no many cancellations. For a horse show with just around 100 horses that was amazing in itself. It seemed those horses were well spread out across the spectrum of possibilities afforded by the show's schedule. I was relieved to see that since there's nothing that can throw off one's maneuvering through the complexities of schedule timing like a bunch of cancellations. I have when that 19th class turns out to be something more like the 10th.

Finally the time came to put on my show shirt and grab my hat. I bridled up my horse and began the walk up to the arena. From the moment I stepped out into the sun all I could think of was where I might find some shade as I made my way to the arena.

In the morning hours there was a little shade on the east side of the arena but as the sun climbed the shade shrank. The bit of shade that was there was little respite from the burning sun. I could see the waves of heat rising off the asphalt. I was grateful the warm-up we were heading to was covered.

Legs seemed to be unphased by the heat. The horse was taking his sweet time walking while I wanted to be moving out to head from shade. It was a reluctant walk triggered by that darn bridle. If I'd bridled him up at the arena, he'd have been walking along at his normal pace. I had to bump him in the flank to let him know I was serious that his snail pace really wasn't what I wanted.

There are just so many ways that fear of the bridle has affected my horse. I wonder sometimes if it's ever going to go completely away. Now, out in the searing heat, I was wishing I done more work in the bridle before I attempted to show. The sweat was running down the curve in my back and I wasn't even riding yet.

Once in the covered warm-up, I realized our old friend, the chestnut stallion
was also in this class. I hadn't had to think much about this horse since the Region 4 Championships last year Now with my horse having so much fear of the bridle I was wondering how the presence of this advisory was going to affect Legs.

The warm-up area at the Puyallup Fairgrounds is a pain. Its probably long enough but the thing is just not wide enough to make it very useful. There's really no place to go if there's a wreck and it's next to impossible for people to work horses both ways of the arena at the same time. Staying away from the red horse was going to take some thought.

We stood out in the sun waiting for the red stallion to move to the far end of the arena. Of course, Murphy jumped in and the rider decided to stop and have a chat. Sitting there on her horse there was literally no place for Legs and I to go without passing close to this other horse.

I try not to communicate my anxiety about situations to my horse and I do pretty well with that most of the time. This situation with the red stallion has unnerved me, however, and Legs showed that when I squeezed him with my legs to move on into the arena.

Legs immediately raised up out of the bridle and looked around. Clearly he was thinking he really shouldn't be entering the arena but he rolled over and did what I asked even though I, too, felt hesitant.

I kept my eye on the red horse watching for any sign that he was aware of Legs approaching. The horse's ears flicked our direction but he didn't move. We managed to get by him and head down the rail without incident.

About the time we got past, the woman decided to end her conversation. That meant she was moving right in behind Legs and me as we headed down the rail. I looked for an opportunity to cut across the arena to put some distance between us. Then I proceeded to warm-up exercises for my horse.

The whole time I kept my eye on that red stallion. I didn't want him anywhere near Legs. Remembering Jay Goss's words that stallions with a grudge never forget, I knew I had to remain alert. I didn't want anymore confrontations between this horse and mine.

Legs seemed not to be aware of the specific danger. As long as I remained calm and quiet, Legs was just fine. He showed no signs of turning into that nervous horse he'd been in the presence of this red horse in Region 4 last year. That was a good thing. The only thing Legs seemed to be concerned about was the thing in this mouth.

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

The Open Class

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