Monday, September 13, 2010

How did it go?

Funny you should ask...

Before I tell about the show, I have to say one thing. People who board are lucky in one respect. On the day of a horse show or competition, they take their horse, a flake or two of hay, tack, clothes, etc. and off they go. They don't have to worry about feeding the rest of the horses at the farm or facility, making sure everyone is in or out, have water or anything else. You are ready, you get your horse loaded and you leave.

People who own their own place are lucky in another. When you own your own place, at the end of the day you can pull in the driveway, park the truck, unload the horse and go inside. Unloading tack, clothes and anything else can wait. Which is what my stuff is still doing out back. My hunt coat is still hanging in the truck outside, here at work.

The show has moved to a new facility. Clean, spacious, level, ample parking, nice bathrooms, covered arena, bleachers, warm up arena within range to hear classes being called, barns... Nobody would likely guess it has been built on top of what used to be the landfill. Two minor drawbacks- no shade in the trailer areas which is a bit of a distance from the arena. This makes it tough to hear classes being called. Two minor things compared to so many beneficial things? I think it is a pretty nice place overall. They do need to scrape the driveway again though, there were a few potholes.

The last facility the shows were held at, there was plenty of parking, new bathrooms, trees here and there- everything was near the arena, but it was not covered and there was one small set of bleachers right out in the sun... Decent enough place, but it could use some work as far as improvements go.

We arrived at the grounds around 9:30 am. I had fed the horses and the cow, lunged and bathed my little guy at home, gotten everything together, hubby hitched up the trailer for me and so the day started. My friend who has been staying with us for the past couple months used my phone and was my paparazzi at the horse trailer. There are of course a few not so favorable pics and a few nice enough pics, included below. Once in the arena, hubby was able to take pics and video. Yay!

Getting the bridle on and adjusted at the trailer...

A few times practicing standing him up and trotting off before going over to the ring.

We were the only stallion in the halter class, 4 yrs and up. Judged schooling rounds or exhibition classes as some call them. Unless your horse is a total jerk, you pretty much can't help but win. I don't care much for these small victories... As it was, this was more of a schooling round. My little guy was not behaving as well as he should. At the trailer he was whinnying and squealing. This didn't stop until we left the showgrounds and were on our way home.

He went into the ring at a jog and was playfully throwing his front feet out ahead of him and tossing his head back and forth. He wanted to show off and he was. *eyeroll*. He did stand nicely on the rail, but up in front of the judge- he kept creeping on me. A step here, step there, inch by inch, getting closer... He didn't stand still like he is supposed to and knows how to do.

As the judge came around behind him on his left, something in the stands made a loud noise and he spooked a bit. That's what you hear (if you have the sound on) and why he jumped. The reason my hand was back and forth and all around his muzzle- he keeps trying to grab the reins in his mouth. One of my biggest pet peeves. Stand still and pay attention, would ya.

In the Championship class, we didn't do so well. Again we were up against horses you can ride later on in life... To some people I guess size does matter.

Sport Horse Stallions and Geldings- Again we were the only entry. If I can get the video to load, you can see him bumping into me and not behaving as he should. It has been a while since he has been to a show. All in all, he wasn't misbehaving horribly, but he also wasn't behaving as well as he should.

The judge was a trainer who I recently found online. He trained for some time with the dressage barn next door and I guess he recently spent some time overseas competing. Not having seen some of his students in action, the jury is still out on that one.

Blogger Kellimare was also at the show, but I really didn't get to stick around and see how her students did. Maybe at the next show we will take a horse or two to ride and will be able to stick around longer...


  1. Ok for his first venture back, I would say, although frutrating I am sure knowing that he in fact knows better.
    He sure cleans up nice!

  2. I was able to figure out how and get the videos up. Yay me!

    You can see for yourselves how he behaved. He really didn't misbehave as bad as some horses I have seen, but why is it we always seem to focus on the negative so much more easily than looking at the positive stuff? Especially when it comes to our own performances? We truly are our own worst critics. Gah!

  3. Yup , he had a couple Uppity moments , but overall , for his first time back at it ... I think he did well. Like you told me , now you have a starting place to work on for next time . One thing , it may not matter to the judge but I would far rather see a handler standing quietly with the horse as you were , only correcting what needed to be a dressed quickly then back to standing ,than all the dinkin around that was going on with the other horse on the left of you ! Also loved to here JR's dry wit in the firdt video ,it so struck me funny!

  4. Oh he is a lovely little guy! Kid's that misbehave in church, sigh...

  5. I haven't watched the videos yet, but from your description... I'm a bit surprised. Why didn't you use the "training" classes as training classes, and have him realize he needs to be the same at a show as at home. The creeping up on you thing, for instance... wouldn't you have addressed that promptly if he did it at home? A few of those now and perhaps he will learn he can't get away with more just because he's at a show.

    Of course, as a trainer, I guess you always have the issue of prospective clients watching...

  6. Um, Bif, if you watched the video...sheesh. Nothing like an opinion based on nothing...

  7. Bif- sometimes the horses will do things at home, they won't try to pull off at home and vis-versa. At shows you are somewhat limited as to how you address things. For one thing, you are being judged. Secondly, as you said- for trainers, there are always potential clients to think of. I have regained my Ammy status so this is not something I worry about, but others may and do.

    In regards of potential clients there is always the imaginary 'line' of what one person may consider regular handling, someone else considers discipline and another may scream abuse.

    My pony knows not to creep, doesn't do it at home, didn't do it out in the parking lot while giving it one last hurrah before going to the ring, but once inside he did it. In the moment, you do what you can to fix it, reduce the chances of it happening any more or make it look like you meant for this or that to happen and downplay what's going on as nothing major. Sometimes that is about all you can do.

    For the most part though, I will take his bumping, crowding and creeping over rearing, striking, biting and some of the other things I have seen happen in the ring.

  8. Fern- that is how Arabs and half Arabs are shown at halter. My friend was commenting on how the handlers looked to her, like they were 'overpresenting' their animals. That's how I feel the stock breeds are with their 'boxing' method of being one box away from the judge as they view your horse. I can't say I really care for 'overpresenting', no matter what the breed or even species. The animals are what they are.

    Kestrel- thanks. He is a handsome little devil. May be why he was misbehavin' in church...

  9. Kestrel- I can't watch youtube videos very well on my home computer, as they are very jerky or just a sporadic series of still frames in the visual. I was going by what Cut-N-Jump said; she said he didn't behave how she had hoped he would.

    I also wasn't under the impression it was a big or important show. He was the sole horse in several of his classes. So to me, personally, I would do everything as if it were at home, including corrections to the level appropriate to the infraction. I have worked with quite a few breeding stallions, and showing young stock in hand, and empathize with the breathing dragons that you see out there sometimes, that trult don't belong in a ring until they learn some manners.

    I had the luxury of eventing, where dressage is the only subjectively judged portion; and I have had a horse get rompy and refuse his correct lead (which he knew very, very well). We had a brief "discussion" and lost two points or so for that movement, but the rest of the test he was listening and scored very well. I've done it an equitation classes, too, and still placed well. I'm not talking about over-correcting or abuse, just insisting on good behavior and not glossing over disobediences.

    Depending on the size of show and the behavior, I think it is always best to insist on the behavior expected. Some horses start doing little things here and there and realize there are no repercussions for those actions. I think a bad ribbon or no ribbons in a show (or a few) is better if you fix a problem than a ring wise horse you want to show and will be disappointed in. Obviously not the deal with Cut-N-Jump's boy (I really did try to watch the videos, and what I saw didn't look like he was doing anything bad).

    I don't downplay misbehavior to the judge (rather than correct my horse) unless I am showing someone else's horse, or it is an important show. Otherwise, training the animal for the next class is what's always most important for me.

  10. He sure is a cute little booger now. We have a QH who was shown horsemanship and halter for 4-H. His manners in the presentation were impeccable, until line-up. Boredom set in--as in too damn many horses per class--and he played. Feet still planted where they were put, but the head! He tried to pick her pockets, play with the chain, sniff her hair, on and on. Subtle correction only worked for a few seconds. What do you do? She smiled and walked out of the ring with no place but a happy, happy horse. Since surviving the experince was her actual goal, not placing did not matter--too damn many horses in the class anyway. I hope the behavior goes away when he actually is in a class working and that may have been the problem. Bored. He still is a cute little booger, though!

  11. Bif, it ain't CNJ's first rodeo. She did correct him, appropriately. His misbehavior was minuscule. If you've showed extensively, you soon realize that your horse simply has some days that are better than others.

    Beating a horse in the show ring is a great way to make them hate show rings, and every horse has to be handled appropriately. In training there is no hard and fast rule book, so you wind up doing what you think is appropriate and safe. You learn what you need to work on, and some days, no matter how perfect your horse is, they're just not into it.

    I've also showed against people who were creating havoc for other competitors by throwing a public temper tantrum, blowing their horse up even worse, and upsetting everyone else. A quiet correction is not 'glossing over' anything.

  12. Bif is correct in that this is not a big show. Just a local, open schooling show, all breeds welcome.

    Some people use it for schooling and to take the judges words and comments to heart in hopes of improving for when it really counts. Others- you would swear it is the WEG or the Olympics as seriously as they take it...

    I expect my horses to behave whether we are here there or anywhere, on a plane, in the rain, cruising the moat in a boat, I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not... wait, sorry about that. lol

    Problem is that everyones perception of perfection is different. What I think the horse is doing can vary and differ from what someone on the rail sees. The judge may not think anything of something and react strongly over something else.

    Case in point. Several years ago I was showing a gelding under saddle in a championship class. He started to throw a tantrum. What do you do?

    I knew if I got after him on the spot- he was going to blow up and it would be
    E-P-I-C! I was not in a position to 'win' any battle with him, show ring or not. It would be ugly and not do either of us any good. So...

    I rode it out. I let him have his head and be stupid for a few strides. Then I asked him to keep going like nothing had happened. I didn't know or care if the judge was looking, I just figured the class was over, we lost, stay on and forget about any ribbons.

    The judge? She watched the whole thing go down. Doesn't that just figure? She pinned me because she thought he was about to go off and that I had gotten into him and straitened him out before things had gotten any worse. She even complimented me in the lineup for how I handled his 'little bobble'. She had no idea what could have happened and that she may have watched the equivelant of an NFR bronc horse in action under English tack...

    That's the deal with showing. You have to be quick on your feet to react and think, when to let go, when to get after the horse, how much? What's more important- the ribbon, your horses behavior or safety & sanity? And so it goes.

  13. Reminds me of the worst horse show ever...rode a horse for a friend. Giant horse. Mean horse. HUS class. Who tried to jump over the gate to leave the show ring. Had to boot him in the nose to turn him. Would not trot. Bucked every time I asked for a canter. Dear god, just let me survive this class and not cause a wreck... Finally got a cross canter out of him and called it good, because how could I not have been totally busted for the 'leaving the arena scene?' Friend in class sneaks over in lineup to tell me "nice bronc riding!"

    Judge came over and told me that she really liked the horse and she would have pinned him if only I knew my leads better!!!!

    And the rank sob took a second in the next class. My fault was...riding with toes too far out. Anyone else recognize defensive mode and clutching calf on a canter that the horse is pitching at every stride?

  14. Oh he is cuuuuute!!!!!!!

    Doncha just love how they can be such stinkers?

    First rule of kids & animals: do NOT start something you're not 100% sure you'll win. Also there's a reason why you shuld show one level down from where you're schooling...

    I'm kind of with Bif, but also you gotta make decisions on the fly, and sometimes I know that I look like a total redneck bitch when I'm correcting a pissy horse, or naughty child, and I am not wanting to project that image in public!!

    I can't watch the vids at the moment. I'm on vacation in crispy cool NH at the moment. Gonna walk down the road & check out the neighbor's dressage horses tomorrow.

  15. Well, if I'd correctly interpreted what my horse was going to do at every show I'd sure have won more often, haha, and my kids wouldn't have made that memorable scene at the restaurant...

    I'm learning a lot from CNJ's not quite honest interpretation of what went wrong...and I say not quite honest because she didn't write a blow by blow account of what went right, which was 95% of the time. That's one cute pony with an attitude, that is cheerfully (and very mildly, kindly and gently, mischievously!) disobedient but so darn cute that I just want to cut him all the slack in the world. Ponies are like that! I remember my childhood ponies...

  16. He's, like, terminally cute!!!!!
    Haha my daughter had an epic meltdown today & I was getting frazzled, till my husband came up with the brilliant idea of feeding her dinner. Magical transformation.

    You just never know, and I can't wait to see Kat in action.

  17. Kestrel- that is exactly what I was wondering about ^^^ upwards in the comments. (#2 if anyone missed it) Why we all tend to focus on the 'bad' or even the mildly, not so perfect stuff in each performance? WHY DO WE DO THAT???

    For the most part, he did well. We won our two classes. If there were other horses in the ring for them, they would be a bit more significant (at least to me) as to having actually having behaved or performed better than, or fit the breed standard better... etc. I actually do like having someone to compete against because in a way it makes ME do better too.

    Cattypex- We have had a few of those meltdowns lately with the girls. One of them because we were trying to potty train, diaper was off and Vivi pee'd on the bathroom rug. No big deal, it can go into the washer, but she thought it was the end of the world. I treated it as no big deal and I'm sure it will happen again until we get it right, but sheesh.

  18. I wonder too CNJ! As an instructor, I think the biggest challenge is to get people to let up on the self criticism. It snowballs into being critical of their horse, and creates a loss of joy in the process of becoming a rider. We all want to be perfect, and get demoralized if we can't keep up with *the Joneses!* an imaginary standard that we'll never attain.
    One rerider comes to mind, she rode to a very high standard as a young woman. She was saying that she'd never ride again because that perfect ride was forever out of reach. I laughed and told her "We're old bats! The perfect ride will still happen at the walk or trot, or seeing the light in a student's eyes." She is now happily trail riding and teaching. And her horses are happy.

    And then you get the students who just want to be told they're as perfect as they think they are...snork!

  19. Sorry so late to the party!

    CNJ, what a gorgeous pony he is. People here would die to breed to him.

    Yes, he was definitely testing you as many ponies will, but I liked the way you handled him.

    I was able to watch the videos so I feel I can comment. Correction is certainly warranted, but even though it is "just" a schooling show, over correction isn't appropriate. Professional or not, overcorrecting something that isn't dangerous behavior is not appropriate and creates a bad feeling with the horse/pony, the bystanders and judges who you might see later when it does matter.

    Bif, in the hunter ring, if you pick up the wrong lead, you don't just lose 2 points, you are pretty much DQ'd unless you correct it before the judge sees it.

    BTW, sorry to say, you sound condescending.

  20. GAWD, he's so cute!

    Every day is for learning.

    Ya done good, girl.

    OH, he's so cute...
    That's part of his problem. He KNOWS how cute he is..
    Sorry for my tardiness, I now has new box for typing into.