Monday, August 23, 2010

The Summer Show..............the Challenge.........

Part 1

Luckily my next class on Legs was early in the afternoon session. The temperatures were rising rapidly and I couldn't even imagine how hot it was going to be later in the session. I was grateful we were only about the fifth class in because we'd be missing the hotest part of the day.

There were other classes I could enter. I was already paying post entry fees. Since they were only an additional $5 per class, they weren't enough to deter me from entering classes late. The weather, however, was enough to set me on my ear. The heat was going to be what dictated the classes I rode, not my checkbook.

I don't think the hot weather particularly bothers Legs. Unlike some horses that get pretty droopy, my horse seems to relish the hot weather. Maybe it's those Arabic roots going back to the desert. Yet the rest of the horses in our aisle seemed to be wilting.

I think the only thing bothering Legs was he still hadn't managed to finish his breakfast. Between the morning schooling session, our class and schooling at the lunch break, Legs still have at least half of his hay in a tidy pile in the corner of his stall.

The compact pile was enough to tell the horse had been allowed little time to eat. Given the opportunity Legs would have strung that hay all over the stall as he searched for the tastiest morsels. I was feeling a bit like a villian when I saw that hay, poor Legs and the price of being a show horse.

The first classes seemed to be moving pretty quickly. I didn't really spend much time sitting around in my show clothes. I still hadn't even put on my show shirt when I saw the red stallion coming down the aisle. I'd already figured she'd be riding in this class too. As she rode her horse out the door, I headed for the dressing room and my shirt.

There was a little breeze as we made our way up to the arena so I wasn't baked by the time I hit the warm-up. This time the red stallion was working on the rail. That made getting into the arena much easier. I set about getting my horse limbered up and figuring out what I wanted to work on most before we entered the arena.

I think the most impact Legs' hesitation has caused has been on the jog. It was much faster than normal and rough. I worked at flexing the horse in on the circle and pushing him laterally away from it trying to get the horse to step deeper underneath himself.

I spend a lot of time working on this exercise at home. We half pass all the way across the arena, switching directions at the other end and working our way back. Usually when we've done this a few times my horse is stepping deep underneath himself where he belongs.

Warm-up arenas are not really conducive to such an exercise. This narrow warm-up makes it particularly difficult to improvise anything as well. There just is not much room for several horses to work just going down the rail without someone like me trying to work on lateral movements. Still Legs hung in there and tried to give me the two or three steps I could ask. I was making headway but it just was not enough.

By the time I'd reached the point I had to stop asking for lateral movement, I still didn't have a correct step from my horse. Legs seemed to sense the release was more about our confined space than getting 'it' right. I began to sense some frustration from my horse who is always trying to give me what I'm asking even if he doesn't undestand it. The horse simply hates not getting 'it' right.

I can only imagine what goes through his mind as he struggles with the barrier in his mouth and my requests to step deep underneath himself. Somehow in there I know that message is mixed up and I sure wish I could figure out a way to simplify it for him.

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

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