Posted by: shannonc | April 6, 2009

Some Days

Event report:

Judges are nice!

Judges are nice!

Arrive at AKF.  It’s cold, cloudy, and windy.  Unload horses to handwalk.  My assignment for the day comes off alert but respectful.  It immediately becomes obvious, though, that he prefers to remain glued to his barnmate.  Any effort to walk 10 ft in another direction causes horse to barge and/or shake head around, etc.  He hops up and down a couple times.  So I explain that I think we need to get apart and stay apart, walk horse off, make 1,000 circles with horse at top of road until horse stops threatening to charge down road every time he’s turned in that direction.  Horse then begins to scream.  He’s behaving now, just screaming nonstop.  Keep walking, walk walk everywhere, let horse scream.  Gain deep understanding of how parents of kids having tantrums on planes feel.  Horse finally gives up and eats some grass, relaxing.


Press horse by reintroducing barnmate then walking one of them away.  Horse is OK with this after a couple of practice sessions which result in screaming reprise.

Groom, tack horse up and get on horse without much fanfare, even though his buddy has gone to warmup already.  No dancing, no prancing, no worrying.  I genuinely believe at this point that horse may be perfectly good.  He begins to warm up really quite well.  A little scoot or two when someone passes close.  Then, out of what seems to me to be nowhere, horse bolts through its shoulder in direction of trailers.  After nearly running down a poor child on her pony, I get control of horse, apologize to pony trainer profusely, put horse back to work.  Walk down hill to dressage arenas, horse mini-spins and tries to bolt again.  When stopped, hops on its hind legs a little.  I get horse into second warmup area and try to put horse back on aids.  Horse seems to do well for a bit then pulls a barge and run through shoulder back to trailers from judges’ end of dressage ring area.  He bolts off sideways from the walk without any kind of warning I can feel and covers 40m like the fine racehorse he is.  I am screaming HEADS UP and scattering horses and spectators everywhere.  I finally get hold of horse before he gets to the road.  I know I should get really mad at this moment and kick horse hard, get horse forward, and give horse a lot of other things to think about.  But instead, for a variety of reasons including that this is my fourth time on the horse and I don’t know whether he might escalate if I get mad at him, I get off.  I don’t take him back to the trailer, I keep him moving around until his owner completes his own test and gets on horse himself (horse works through it when he does).  While waiting, I entertain in brief flashes the idea of hopping on horse and riding directly into arena, thereby at least completing test.  I doubt that horse will try to run through chain.  I don’t do that today, though.  Today I’m done. 

Very handsome boy!

Very handsome boy!

Scorecard:  Arrival timing – A; Plan of events – A; Pre-ride relaxation – starts with a D but finishes with what I would definitely call an A.  Warmup – has its definite B, maybe even B+ moments until exam gets interrupted by bomb scare (F-.  Really.  I remember getting an F- in Trig once).  Post-ride ride and finish:  I’d say, all in all, bordering right on A.  Good for horse in the end, right?  It’s a day for the lousy-feeling rider to suck it up.




Can I come out soon?

Can I come out soon?

It did cheer me up a bit that in other news, Pip got to attend his very first event!  He stood in the trailer mostly patiently while the other horses were busy, and when we were done everyone was kind enough to hang out while he got a tour of the whole grounds!  He sniffed stadium fences, goggled at the food vendor noises, investigated porta-potties, and spooked himself in the warmup ring at the judges’ booth.  A pretty exciting day for a 4-year-old!  I bet he slept well.  :)

One of my all time favorite Blue moments:  we are at one of our very first competitions, a 2-phase.  Rick Pearson is judging the dressage.  I am having a little trouble steering in the canter circle and we are still heading for the chain as we come to B, instead of being back on the track.  Blue sees the boundary at the last moment and throws on the brakes so hard you can hear horseshoes squeal on the grass – an event for which I’m grateful, since we clearly weren’t going to make it around the corner.  We complete the test.  After our final halt and salute, Rick says to me with a smile, “I hope your horse jumps a whole lot better in the jumping phase.”  And he did. 

HTML is totally kicking my ass today, so please forgive the poor formatting!




Indoor explored...check.

Indoor explored...check.


























  1. I LOVE THE BLUE STORY!!!!!!!! That is SOOOO funny, and I’m surprised you never got the E in dressage for jumping out – he’s such a jumper ;)

    Well, I think I probably would have done the *same* thing you did with the new horse. I probably would have beat him a bit, too….but hey, that’s just me ;)

  2. Horse’s owner is most grateful that horse was able to be there at all that day.

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