I had a fun time this past weekend at the first English and Western Pleasure horse show of the season. My mare did pretty well for her first go, winning a 5th and 6th place ribbon in an English Pleasure and Equitation class. I need to make some adjustments and work on conditioning her to maintain a canter, but hey! Placing at all among tough competition at her first show was awesome!
Now for the less than positive part of our day. There is a trail/obstacle course that you can ride for extra points and as a tie breaker in the buckle series. I thought we would have a few issues, but overall I thought my horse was ready for the obstacles. I was incorrect.
I should have known it wasn’t going to go well when she refused the rope gate (which I had been working with her on gates, but this gate was different to her), so I finally moved on to the next obstacle. She struggled with that. So I moved to the third obstacle. She was ok, but not great. Then it came to the fourth obstacle which was backing through three cones in a “zigzag” pattern. I thought she would be able to handle that since we had been backing a lot and she was ok with it. She started to dance around when I asked her to back around the first cone, so I tried to work with her and get her to understand what I was asking her to do. After only a few seconds or so of me trying to get her through the obstacle, she worked herself into a tizzy and before I knew what hit me she reared up and almost over backwards and I fell off of her. Thankfully I was well out of the way and was unhurt, but still! Holy crap!
I got up, grabbed the reins and told the judge she didn’t seem to be in a good head space for that today and we’d try again at next months show. I walked her to the mounting block, got back on her and we waited quietly for the next class to start. No one besides the judge and his assistant saw the incident, and my friends were all mortified when I told them. My horse just stood there, looking like she was asleep and nothing had happened. So needless to say I will be working on obstacles with her so we can at least make it through the next trail class in a month. Don’t really want to get squished.
After the fourth class my mare started to feel like I was lugging around a bag of bricks beneath me. She didn’t have any energy left so she went to the trailer to rest and I took my friend’s horse into the ring for his first ever day of being ridden English. He did great for his first time! The picture above was my first time ever riding him. He’s going to be a fun horse to show this year!