First Show. Part II.
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Sunday, August 29, 2010 09:43 AM
Sunday was a different day. Right from the start I knew he was not happy. He didn't do anything out of line but he wasn't' willing to cooperate for braiding, standing tied, saddling, etc. Watching him I thought of lunging him first then decided not to because lunging ring was away from everything and there were no horses in it. He again was happy to be in warm up ring. I was prepared to allow him to go very forward if he wants to to shake the stress of being inside for so long. He was willing to trot and canter but wasn't keen on running or going strong. I didn't want to ride him for so long that he would be tired and lifeless. However, our warm up was cut short and I was told that I'm next to go when I thought I still have at least 15 minutes. I wasn't given an option to wait until my time. I thought: "Well, that is just my luck today. May be it is for the best." Nope! He almost refused to walk in the indoor ring. He was so upset and so spooky. After a minute of fighting with him to simply go large I told the judge that I will not ride a test and I want to spend my time schooling him a little bit inside. She let me. I rode him as forward as I could and I used whip if he wanted to pull me toward the gate or slow down. I argued very clearly and strongly if I had to and then released instantly to very light contact and quiet seat when he agreed to go my direction. Things improved quite quickly so after I had a nice large round of forward trot without any arguments and even almost came up to the judge's booth I quit and let him walk out on a loose rein. When we were at the booth the judge told me it was a wise decision not to ride my test. Half way down to the gait he picked up trot and by the time I gathered reins he was determent to shoot out of the ring. Well, I was determent to stop him. So, we jumped up and down right in front of the gate still inside. The thought he may rear came to my mind, his front hooves left the ground a few times. Fortunately, he decided to quit and we walked calmly out of the ring. We went back to warm up ring. He was still rowdy and argumental, so I rode him until he quit. Didn't took long, after about 10 minutes he was very cooperative.
Looking back at the whole thing I feel like his behavior in indoor ring overshadowed how good he was rest of the time. Being a young stallion, away from home for so long for the first time in his life, seeing so many horses and so much going on he took it like a trooper. People commented on how quiet he was in the barn, letting horses walk by his side when he stood in the aisle, how easy it was to keep him in control. Stud chain. What stud chain? Never even crossed my mind that I needed it.
On the other hand, the argument we had at the show was the biggest one we ever had between each other. I was wondering when we will have something like that because it was bound to happen sooner or later. Seeing him in action and seeing how much pressure I had to put on him and how he came around and started to listen gave me a great deal of understanding this horse better.
What could I have done differently? I came up with three solutions that would helped made the experience more positive for him:
  1. I shouldn't have entered him in any classes. I think bringing him for the experience would be enough for the first time.
  2. However, he was entered in couple classes and after Saturday ride the only chance to make it better on Sunday was to ride in the indoor arena late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning before the show starts. This option may not be available depending on the showgrounds rules. You need to speak to show organizers if you are allowed in the ring before or after classes.
  3. The last option, is to come 3 hours earlier than his class, lunge him first to shake the stiffness of standing indoors for so long and than proceed with regular preparations for the show. It would made him calmer for braiding and saddling but does not necessarily made him feel better about indoor arena. Unfortunately, I didn't have time for that option.
P.S. Next time I rode him at home he was perfect. I think he was the best I have ever seen him...
Happy riding...
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