Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Daffodil Spring Show..... Select Rider Western Pleasure 40 & over

Part 1

Thinking over last night's post I'm beginning to think my class was not the next one into the ring after that wreck although it certainly felt that way. The first horse the loose horse ran into was a hunter horse from my group at the horse show and that horse's class was right before mine. That means the hunter class must have been next but it sure didn't feel that way.

I do know because the schedule was so far behind, they were running those classes through lickety split. The judges knew how to speed things up. The gate would barely get closed and the next gait would be called. They moved through those gaits pretty quickly and the next thing you know the class would be lined up. Maybe that's why it felt like we were the next class in the ring.

Regardless of my memory lapses, we were in the ring shortly after the wreck and Legs was a bit faster than normal. In addition to that I thought he was elevated some and a bit bracey at the poll. I didn't seem to be able to find a way through that while in the ring since it's pretty hard to incorporate lateral work with horses coming right up behind.

Legs went into the arena looking for trolls. I think that's what his elevated head position was about. Going down into that far corner of the first rail I could really feel him tense up beneath me so I moved him off the rail and turned before getting all the way to the corner.

There were light beams coming in between the windbreak tarps shining down on the footing. Legs was looking at those strips of light like they were going to swallow him up. The closer we got to them, the lower his head got as he tried to take a good look at them.

Since the gate wasn't closed yet, I took this opportunity to pet my horse. The minute my hand hit his neck, I felt Legs relax, not completely, but enough to bring him down a notch and quit thinking the light beams were actually trolls. As we made our way to the far rail I felt like my horse hadn't totally tuned me out even if he was troll watching.

We were about a third of the way down the far rail when the gate closed. I didn't even make it the rest of the way down the rail before the announcer called for the lope. Going into the corner I pushed Legs up into the bridle, then off my leg to the outside and asked for the lope.

Legs obliged with a nice smooth transition into a collected lope, something he is not always prone to do. More often the horse is likely to make a smooth transition but into a sloppy lope and I spend the first five or so strides pushing him together to get it right. This was an unexpected response getting a collected lope even if it was a bit faster than I wanted.

We did get a chance to lope past the second judge before the walk was called but not much farther than that.. Again I pushed my horse up into the bridle before sitting down, pushing my feet forward, just a little, and asking for the walk. Legs responded with a pretty good transition although he jogged a couple of steps on the way down. Still he was sitting on his back end so I was pleased with that transition.

When they asked us to reverse, somehow we seemed to loose our steering. I'm not really sure if it was Legs or me because I remember being indecisive about which direction I wanted to turn at the time. We did finally get turned around facing the opposite direction and walking down the rail but it was not the most confident turn we have ever accomplished.

I always let Legs walk out like a normal horse instead of doing that mincey little thing most trainers do. I figure the rule book reads a ground covering walk so I am safe to do it that way. Much of the time the judges will watch us closely to see if Legs is being pushy or if I am actually allowing this walk but that's ok. I'm sure they can see I am not trying to slow him down so this rate must be my decision. Most times doing the walk like this will help Legs relax if that's what he needs. I know on this day, I heard a small sigh as we reached the first corner.

I think we actually walked almost as far as we had loped the other direction. Then the announcer called for a lope. I took my time pushing Legs into the bridle and getting him nicely collected underneath me before I asked for the lope. This time we were right up next to the wall so I really couldn't push him laterally to the outside, however, this direction is Legs' good way so I didn't really think I needed that move to get a good transition and a nice lope.

Because Legs is really not fit at this point, I am picking him up and holding him through the transition. Once I know I have him well underneath himself, then I let him go. This particular transition probably looked as good as the other, but my horse was not as well underneath himself. It was a couple of strides with me pushing him forward before he smoothed out and I let the reins drop back down to his neck.

From that point forward, Legs was loping pretty well. Still a little faster than I would like but well within the range of the other horses in the class. Every few strides I was pushing him up into his face again but most times I could accomplish that with just my legs and little to no movement of the reins. It was a nice ride.

I remember coming down the rail and hitting about the two thirds point right by the judge and thinking I was having a pretty good ride and they would be lining us up soon. This was the select rider class which I had placed first under one judge and second under the other last year. I was thinking maybe, just maybe we might be able to do that again when something crashed in the stands right next to us.

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

The Wreck.......

Scandalous Chance at about 4 months of age. From this point on out to about age 5 he was a growthy thing.

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  1. Oh Man! That's why I don't mind my kids running around and hooting and hollering outide the arena when I'm riding, prepares them for crazy stuff like that.

  2. Always leave us hanging, dang it. Now I have to wait and see :)

  3. Well, since you're hear to tell the tale, you made it, but I'm anxious to hear how poor Legs did.

  4. Chance looks gorgeous in that photo.

    Sounds like you were having a nice ride until the disturbance in the grandstand. What's the matter with people anyway, they should know better.

  5. Oh goodness!! What a show! Poor Legs, finally getting confident and relaxed and then something happens again :( Sometimes I wish people couldnt watch classes so they wouldnt have the opportunity to ruin someone's ride. Im sure you pulled him together though, I look forward to the next installment!

  6. Dang!!! Hope Leggs trust in you made it a small episode

  7. I'm sitting on a cliffhanger again! ha! You know how to keep us begging for more Mikael! I can imagine a few things that might have happened but will be looking forward to the real story. Your last post was amazing. I can't imagine being in the ring with that horse just blindly bolting around. Lucky no one was hurt. We had one show that we went to that had the fair there the same week. Now let me tell you that was challenging. My old appy, Smokey Jack, thought the ferris wheel and everything else there were trolls. It was horrible. Finally gave up on that show, just too much going on and oh so noisy!

  8. Wow sure a lot going on at that show!

  9. Another cliffhanger? What gives? lol

    Sometimes it may feel like it is all about to fall apart, but for those watching it appears as if everything is fine. I hope this was one of those...

    Hubby had a similar incident at a show a few years ago. The horse was just not settling down or into the class. Somebody parked right up by the Equidome and their car alarm went off. It echoed under the cover and was noisy, but it appeared that the horse was fine. Luckily they were at the far end of the arena when it happened, but still.

    This is one of the reasons we have pushed as many buttons as we can on my pony before putting him to a cart. We have pushed him, tried to set him off, blow him up, rattle his cage and anything we can think of so he learns it is not a big deal and if he listens he will be fine.

  10. Ah! Nobody does cliffhangers like you do!

  11. horsemom, I'm with you. I really appreciate any kind of schooling opportunity I can get along those lines.

    Mikey, sorry about that. The post was getting sooooo long I had to stop somewhere. ;-)

    Leah, being able to tell the tale does leave clues, doesn't it? ;-)

    Arlene, it was a decent ride, I guess, although not what I am striving for. The people in the stands are definitely a "wild card" when it comes to showing. You just never know what they will do to affect the ring.

    smazourek, it must be part of my nature.......they just seem to come out that way.

    PHM, ya, it really did start off pretty wild. They tell me "back in the day" the stands were always packed. I wonder if that made it easier for the horses to get used to weird stuff.

    fern, I sure wish there was a sure fire way to build trust for situations like this. It seems to be different for each horse.

    MM, there is a show in Oregon with sanctioned Arab classes that goes on during their fair. I have never attended but hope to some day. Thanks for the heads up about what to expect.

    Crystal, first show of the season can be a little hectic but this was definitely beyond that.

    CNJ, nope, I'm pretty sure everyone who saw him, knew Legs spooked.

    I always worry about the cart horses. It is so dangerous when they spook. I never thought about working those issued out before the horse is hitched. Very smart.

    Story, thanks, I think. ;-)