Friday 30 July 2021

Survival and Staying in the Ring

You know what is not conducive to good blog recaps? Finishing up a 3 day show weekend and then immediately finding out that your in-laws are coming to stay the following weekend.... when you haven't had anyone inside your house since before the pandemic! My husband and I aren't slobs but let's be real, there was definitely some extra tidying to be done after not having guests in so so long. In particular my home office had been taken over by piles of paper and horse stuff (and I can't just hide the clutter behind closed doors because you have to go through the office to get to the backyard). My collection of clean saddle pads may have also taken up residence on the bed in one of our spare bedrooms, oops lol.

So anyways, full show recaps including media will still be coming but just a short post today to start things off.

You also get one pro show pic today since
I don't have any media from Thursday night

In my last post I was feeling pretty good about the shows, but let's remember that Naia is 5 and has only had 2 off-property trips before this (clinic with AM, and hunter show). On Thursday I hauled Naia to the show grounds. I first did some ground work and lunging with her, and then tacked her up to do a warm-up ride. She was up and looky but I figured that she would settle with more work. However soon after my butt hit the saddle I realized that I needed to downgrade all expectations to just survival. I told myself that even if I had to scratch my classes that just riding in a new place with all the atmosphere of the busy show grounds was great exposure for Naia. I needed to focus above all on giving her good rides and good experiences, even if that meant not getting through the tests we had trained for. For that warm up ride on Thursday Naia was more tense than I have felt her in a long time, and while she was listening to me to a degree, she just was not relaxing. We walked cloverleaf and figure 8 patterns in both directions but I could tell she wasn't ready for trot. Also any time I tried to halt and just park for a minute she started to spin, back up or throw her head up. So, we just walked, and walked, and walked some more, focusing on bend and where her feet were going. We started losing the light so I basically waited until she was settled enough to stand for me to dismount and then brought her back to the barn. 

One advantage of a local show with multiple disciplines is that lots of other horses from our barn were also showing on the weekend, though only 2 others hauled in Thursday night. Luckily it was one of her paddock neighbours that came and was stabled directly across the aisle from Naia. He is an older well-seasoned show horse and as I had hoped his calm presence really helped Naia in the barn so I wasn't too concerned about her overnight. 

I'll talk in more detail about Friday's classes in later recap but I started the day with survival and exposure for Naia as being my primary goal. We went in for our first test and fairly quickly got eliminated because Naia ducked out the open gate at A and all 4 feet left the ring. I've honestly never had a horse do that with me before so I was completely unprepared for it. The judge rang me out but very nicely allowed me to complete the test as she could see Naia was green and a bit freaked out, though as we were going through the rest of the test Naia ducked out at A again! At least the second time didn't matter as much since we were already eliminated. After the first test I now had 2 goals: to survive and stay in the ring! I'm happy to report that for the rest of my 4 dressage tests on the weekend, we achieved both of those goals! Small wins! 

There was video malfunction for start of first test so
this is actually the second time she left the arena!


  1. Way to go! Those first outings are nerve wracking! Also, WTG on the house today. Ours is a disaster zone since horse and office stuff has migrated everywhere.

  2. The best, sweetest baby pony I ever trained jumped out of the arena at R at his first show! I thought we were eliminated, but the judge let us back in and told me to continue - apparently (in SA at least) jumping out of the ring is only an elimination if the boards are a certain height, and these were not that height, so we just scored a 0 on the movement.