Wednesday 15 June 2016

Roller-Coaster Start to a Show

So this past weekend Kachina and I were in a show. Our first recognized show, and we were woefully unprepared. Entries for this show were due a full month in advance, I posted about entering back in May here. At the time, four weeks sounded like plenty of time to work on all the things we needed to learn and improve on. Those four weeks ended up being filled with a lot of work and life obligations that left little time for riding. It's unfortunate, but that's life. Also, scribing, while educational, took away two weekends of me being able to work with my own horse.

The preparation and the show itself started with a roller-coaster of good and bad


The bad:

- My last ride on Kachina was more than a week before the show
- I had hoped to leave work early on Friday to get ready and leave for the show, instead I had to stay late
- When I finally got to the barn (with no time to bathe), Kachina had some of the most giant manure stains ever
- I was going to arrive too late to school in the arenas
- One of the highway turnoffs had confusing signs, so I ended up on a different highway from what I was supposed to be on, resulting in an extra 40 minutes of driving
- As I was pulled over checking the map, I get a text from the SO telling me that there was a blue bag hanging at the front door - my blue coat bag that held my show coat, stock tie and pin, hairnets, and all my gloves! I had carefully put everything I needed by the front door, but had apparently missed transferring it all into the truck *face palm*
- At this point, it was dark and raining, I was tired and I was seriously considering just giving up and turning back home

The good:

- Kachina and I made it to the showgrounds safe and sound
- The facility was nicely set up and it was easy for me to find Kachina's stall and unload everything
- My mom decided to come watch me at the show the next day and I arranged for her to bring my missing coat and supplies
- I got a second wind and stayed up a while longer to work on the manure stains and brush out her mane and tail
- My cheap motel room had a super comfortable bed

The bad:

- I only got to take advantage of the bed for a little over 5 hours

Saturday Morning

The good:

- Kachina was nice and relaxed in her show stall
- With the help of Braid-eez braiding wires and Quik Braid spray, I was able to make my nicest dressage braids to date
- I taught Kachina to stand still for braiding and spraying (she didn't like the Quik Braid) by introducing a game where she would get half a cookie after being sprayed, and then get the rest of the cookie once each braid was complete. After only about 3 braids she was standing nicely, and politely turning to look for her cookie each time I took my hands down from her mane.
- My mom arrived with my show coat just in time for my first class of the morning
- The show had a fun warm-up class in the morning called "Let's Get Rockin'" where all riders could go into the show ring for a flat class to walk/trot/canter and let the horses see the flowers, judges table etc. Everyone in the class was named a winner of some made-up category (tallest horse, loudest snort, etc.)

The bad:

- In Let's Get Rockin', I won for "Best Rodeo", not exactly the title I was going for *rolls eyes*. I used the fun class as a start to my warm-up, but she wasn't ready to canter so soon (usually we do lots of slow and lateral work before cantering) and she showed her unhappiness by having feet leave the ground in dramatic fashion (I'm not even sure whether it was bucking or crow hopping or what exactly but it wasn't pretty)
- After the "rodeo" Kachina was all kinds of tense and kept balking and not wanting to moving forward - I think it's because the saddle had shifted forward a little and felt weird to her, but the class was still going on so I couldn't get off and fix it in the moment.
- Kachina spooked at the plastic bag when the judge was handing out treat bags to all the winners
- My mom, the one who barely ever watches me ride and is a super nervous nellie about horses was there to see the whole thing
- After the Let's Get Rockin' class, the only place to warm-up was an outdoor ring that was super super sloppy from all the rain

The good:

- I didn't fall off in Let's Get Rockin', and I was able to control Kachina enough whereby we didn't endanger anybody else
- I'm glad I didn't end up spending a bunch of time bathing Kachina or polishing tack, because the warm-up ring meant that there was mud splattered on Kachina's legs and belly, all over my girth and on my boots all the way up to my knees by the time we went in for our first test
- despite the sloppy appearance of the warmup ring, after cautiously testing it, I found that Kachina still had good traction so I was actually able to walk/trot/canter
- we were able to shrug off the morning's issues, do our regular warm-up routine and get some good work (this is a HUGE win for me because previously that kind of incident has really shaken my confidence)

The bad:

- the tension returned when I went back inside for my first test of the day (Training 1). Kachina was hollow, rushing, and wouldn't bend right, especially at the canter. I was tense too which was a big part of it
- being my first recognized show, the steward's tack check was a new experience. Kachina did not want that gloved hand anywhere near her mouth and was throwing her head straight in the air no matter how gently the steward approached - definitely something we'll have to practice at home!

The good:

- despite the tension, it was an obedient test (by that I mean that the movements weren't good, but at least we did the right things in the right places)
- we got correct leads for both the canters
- there were some nice movements that we got 7s on
- really, considering our lack of prep and everything else I was really happy with how Kachina did

We had a few hours break before our next test so I untacked Kachina, fed her mountains of treats, and put her back in her stall to chill until the afternoon.


  1. It stinks that things did not go as planned but it does sound like you still had a productive weekend.

  2. You two look great! Sounds like it was a good experience :)