Monday, May 2, 2011

A Little Horse Show Drama in the Warm-Up

Part 1

That first day of the horse show there were more stressors than not getting to school my horse in the show pen before the start of my session. As it turned out the first session of the schedule ran long, very long.

It was a new schedule and those always have their kinks. What you think will work never does because the numbers of horses are never what you expect. Because of that trail went on for two and a half hours. The the halter classes were huge compared to normal for our area which set it back more. It was mid afternoon before what was supposed to be my morning class came around in the schedule. The waiting, wondering and trying to time getting ready became a real chore. I could have taken a nap or two to make up for my early rise before it was even time to get my horse tacked up to show.

Somewhere around 2:30 Legs and I were finally in the warm-up arena waiting for a call to the gate. I was at the far end of a the arena just on the turn when I saw a horse misbehaving in front of me. I turned Legs into the rail because it was the only place for us to go without continuing on into the panicking horse.

That horse ended up turning into the rail too and then began rearing. Next thing you know the rider was in the dirt and the horse was bolting. I called to the rider to see if she needed assistance as her horse headed away from us right into another horse and rider. At that point it reversed like any horse who has been cut off will do. That meant it was heading right back towards the corner where Legs and I were.

There was an exit right in that corner and I already figured I'd block it with Legs so the horse couldn't exit through there should it come back our way. If it went out there it would be bolting on asphalt. Definitely not a good combination.

There was one flaw with my thinking about closing off that corner. I had figured we'd make the corner before the horse ever came our way. Because running into that other horse had turned the bolting horse back our direction, my solution didn't work. There was still about a three feet opening between Legs and the rail when the horse crashed through sending Legs backwards in his own brief panic.

Luckily for me Legs is a trusting horse. As soon as he began flying backwards, I put my legs on him and he listened to me. His head was high and his eyes wide but he still waited for instructions on what to do next.

Equally as lucky the loose horse turned the corner left instead of right and out into the open area. The horse crashed down the rail towards the only way out it probably remembered, that was the way it had come in. Despite what had just happened I proceeded to use Legs to close off that corner. Just in case the horse made it's way to us again, I wanted that opening closed.

My friend, Crystal Baker, who does not always think of herself when making decisions jumped out in the opening at that end of the arena. With the horse pounding straight at her, she threw her arms in the air flailing to ward the horse off. Thankfully it did not run through her like it had Legs and me, instead Crystal's behavior caused the horse to turn the corner so it stayed in the small warm-up arena.

There were probably a dozen horses out in that warm up trying to figure out which way to go to avoid being caught in this wreck. By this time I could see by its eyes the panicked horse was slowing just enough to begin really thinking about what to do next. With the placement of the other horses it ended up on the far rail but acting confined to the one end even though it was no more confined there than it had been in any other part of its flight. In that smaller space the rider and another person were able to get the horse pushed to the rail and finally caught while the stunned onlookers slowly got back to what they'd been doing.

It was one of those things that happened so quickly it takes more time to write than it actually took to happen. Legs' heart was pumping along with every other horse out there and every rider too and even those grooms etc waiting in the middle to do last minute spruce ups before horses entered the ring. With the whole warm up arena in a heightened state, the paddock announcer called my western pleasure class to the ring.

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

Select Rider........

This is another picture of Legend at the same photo shoot as the picture with the milk in his nostril. This is one of his many bleating trips around his mother. Poor baby wasn't sure what to think of Mary Little underneath her "bear" rug moving around to get his attention and his ears.

Visit Blog Village and vote daily for this blog Here They are now measuring the rankings by votes out, so if you find my blog on the site, please click that link too to improve my rankings. TY


  1. Nothing like a little excitement in the warm up arena before a class. Glad it all turned out okay.

  2. Wow, what chaos in the warm up. I didn't hear about that and we didn't have a horse up there during that time. Thank goodness Leggs handled it pretty well. That is very scary! I hate that warm up arena, it is way too small and it gets so darn crowded.
    It was good seeing you last weekend and glad we got to talk! Leggs is very good mannered and a pretty boy!

  3. Legs is a star, to listen to you and wait for instructions under such circumstances. You must treasure his trust. So glad no one was hurt. It would be very hard to go into the show ring after that.

  4. Yike!! just what you needed...NOT!
    But what a great horse Legs is!

  5. Lots of excitement. I just spent the past hour and a half getting caught up on the end of the TNJ posts and read about the troll.

  6. Of course they would call the class right then.

    Am hoping that by the time Legs got into the gate, his heart rate dropped.

  7. Just what you needed before a class but you did the right thing in helping. I cannot wait to hear more about your class and the rest of the show!

  8. Good thing Legs listened to you. I'm sure I'd have been the one in the dirt :-)

  9. You must thank your lucky stars everyday for Legs! He's some horse.

    I was at a show on Sunday where someone came off during warm-up and got hauled off in an ambulance. That was the wrong kind of exciting.

  10. I'm glad that no people or horses were injured in that debacle! My goodness, I bet your class was interesting. I hope that you and Legs were able to compose yourselves to have a nice ride! :)

  11. Always watch the warm up arena if you are looking for excitement. That's where it happens the most. Usually due to horses (and sometimes riders) who aren't ready for the show, yet the pushy owners and trainers go for the gusto anyways.

    It may seem to happen in slow motion at times too, but it's over in a flash either way. Glad nobody was hurt and always good to have a sensible horse under you when stuff like that happens.