Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Horse showing

This is cool
Horse showing is probably one of those things I will just never really understand.  Not understanding things other people enjoy is common for me, so this isn't surprising.  I don't understand weddings or Christmas trees or giant houses on tiny lots, the list really goes on for forever, and those are some of my least controversial points of confusion.

But relevant to this blog, horse showing is hard for me to get.  I pay LOTS of money in order to deal with disorganized chaos, out of control people and horses, waiting, waiting and more waiting, all to try and earn a 10 cent ribbon?  It doesn't work for me mentally.

Still, I want my horse to have value.  I could die or lose my job or get sick or who knows what all could happen on this planet and if I ever have to sell Odin, I feel it is my job to make sure he is well rounded and could find an excellent home.  Which led to us spending 3 days at a horse show this weekend.

From a baby horse experience situation, I think it was really good.  He trailered down like a dream and walked quietly into his stall.  There was lots of whinnying back and forth with all the horses, Odin wasn't even close to the loudest.  He immediately started eating, drinking, and sightseeing.

We walked him over to the longing area and he quietly plodded along, head down.  As he started longing I was ready to check for signs of life, we could barely get him to trot.  But then the canter at least got a little squeal and buck.  For about a second and then he wouldn't even stay in canter.  Guess he wasn't too thrown by the change in venue.
This is fine too

Later in the afternoon, R2 rode him in the warm up ring aka hell.  I wasn't there but she said that though he found it stressful, he did really well.  We took his best friend Hawkeye along as a baby sitter which ended up being a good call.  When I first got Odin, he couldn't even really handle other horses in the ring with him.  Not surprising for a track horse, right?  They go the other way, they get close, they pass you, they go different gaits, none of that makes any sense.  He is totally fine at home now, but the warm up ring was hard when horses spooked or ran past.

Being a good soul, he didn't do anything but he was internalizing it and sweating a lot.  They took breaks by letting him tuck his head into his friend (Hawkeye is an old show pro and couldn't give one shit about anything that happens) and relax, then walk and trot around again.  After maybe 20 min of that, they took a trail ride around the property which made Odin very happy.
Spoiler alert!

Saturday he was able to get some round pen turn out for awhile and then he and I spent most of the day hanging out waiting for a chance for more schooling as the trainers were wrapped up in the insanity that is horse show scheduling.  It was a total cluster fuck.  I saw at least 4 people get thrown and one ambulance ride and I don't even know how many loose horses - is this normal?

Jasper, because he is adorable
Finally, I hopped on Hawkeye and R2 got on Odie and we went back to the warm up ring.  Baby horse learns fast and wasn't stressed out at all this time.  Hawkeye could stand off to the side while he walked and trotted around quietly.  R2 did some cantering and focusing was definitely harder there, but he wasn't disobedient, just kept squealing and lead swapping.  No stress sweating and one tiny meltdown (when a horse went bolting and bucking past him, sigh) that he immediately calmed down from and went back to work.

Another trail ride and another happy baby.  A long fricking day though.

Sunday was another quick turn out and hang around day, followed by Odin's actual chance to show.  The schedule was a total disaster (sense a theme here?) so we kept switching the classes he was in just to try and get something soon instead of having to stay there until 7 at night (not joking!).  We finally entered him in the flat class because it was supposed to only have two other horses and happen in an hour.

Got him tacked up and warmed up (now a total professional at the warm up ring) and realized they skipped the flat classes.  WTF.  They had gone instead into the cross rail division.  R2 sighed, hopped Odie over a couple cross rails in warm up which he was quiet for and said ok, he is doing the cross rails today.

Side note funny moment - a horse jumping in the warm up bolted after a jump straight at Odin.  Odin pinned his ears and squealed and damn if that horse didn't immediately change directions.

So after a bit more waiting, he went in to do his class.  And there is even video!

 In case 3 minutes of a horse trotting cross rails is super boring, he was great.  He trotted in and cantered out of the lines.  He got a little nervous going into the first corner but came right back to R2.  He jumped everything the first time.  He got super excited at taking the long spot once AND getting his lead change but a circle got him calmed down.  There was quite a lot of squealing and cross firing, but nothing unexpected.
I got this

Basically he acted the same as he does at home which is really good to know.  He strutted out of the ring like he owned the place and didn't even want to come see his buddy.  We called it a day there, because what more can you ask for?  One last trail ride to cool down and we packed up and went home.*

He barely cleared it
*Except for the part where the truck blew a tire and we had to call for a rescue.  Ah, this horse stuff is never boring.  We were able to swap trucks and not have to unload the trailer on the side of the highway.

So despite me being a crabby bitch who hates horse showing, I think we had exactly the experience we need.  Odin is awesome, and when I get back from Iceland, we need to start hitting it hard on my fitness and his jump schooling!
So much love for my trainer giving up her holiday weekend to help out


  1. Come to the dark side where we have ride times. ;)
    I don't know how people manage without them. I would have a meltdown.

    I'm glad that it was a positive outing for all. And that everyone made it home.

    1. I was just waxing poetic about dressage shows because not only ride times but written notes at the end!

  2. Glad he was a good boy! I kinda love horse showing haha. Not so much the "hurry up and wait" at some shows... But mostly I just do it to have fun. And sure, in some cases showing may increase a horse's value... But idk if you don't enjoy it I wouldn't worry too much about that. Unless maybe you think you would learn to like it too ;)

    1. Yeah, I don't think we will be doing much showing since I never seem to like it. And I would rather spend my money on training and lessons. Mostly I want him to have off property experience but maybe I can be more creative about that.

  3. Glad he had a great first show, I am like emma and love showing!!!! I don't even mind the hurry up and wait especially since at Rated shows its easy to sneak in a round or two when other trainer's are busy. In and out, it's not that bad.