Sorry this recap took me so long to get to, but I think it kind of worked out because now I have SHOW PICTURES!!!
Yes, I brought professional pictures from a show in which I trotted 2' jumps. But it was his first show, and he was a freaking genius, and if you didn't have these you'd only have two lousy cell phone pics from me. Plus I have rarely seen my horse jump so I need to tuck these under my pillow for a rainy day.
Everything started out fine--I got him off the trailer and just hand-walked him around to see what kind of mood he was in. He was very chill. He munched on grass, enjoyed seeing the sights, and received several compliments and questions on his breeding (I don't get why people are surprised to hear he's a thoroughbred. He looks like SUCH the classic thoroughbred to me. Maybe it's because he's a fatty).
|Not from the show, but shows off the belly.|
So I had decided not to lunge, because the only place to do so was on the side of a hill. I had him all tacked up and was listening to M give me my coaching for the day ("I need you to be the professional. You have done this a million times on a million horses and this is no different") before she scooted off to help the kids, when something spooked him. I heard it too, and before I knew it I was holding onto a flying kite. He reared, bucked, and spun, and then stopped like "WHEW." M quietly handed me my lunging gear and was like "have fun with that!"
I lunged him for a little while, but he didn't do anything. I hand walked him around and then M indicated that I needed to get on in the empty schooling ring (everyone else was warming up in the show ring). I was so relieved that we were in there alone because he wasn't being a perfect gentleman. Nothing too outrageous, and he was actually fine at the walk. But once we started trotting, he wanted to spin out. Cue eight million w/t transitions. Most horses I've ridden are easier to chill out at the trot and might jig or prance around at the walk, but not Mosey. You can walk him on a long rein under most conditions. I find this refreshing, if it's causing me to rethink my warm-up strategies.
The stars aligned to have only a couple other people in the ring near the end of the open schooling session, so even though I did not have a perfectly relaxed thoroughbred, I took the opportunity to go in and jump everything in the ring. It was a little tense, but Mo jumps what is put in front of him, and the histrionics were minimal. At that point, I knew we'd be able to enter the puddle jumpers and get around, even if it didn't look polished and perfect. We even gave a recalcitrant pony a lead through the two-stride, which a lot of horses stood around in front of instead of jumping because it was next to the judge's stand. Mo don't care 'bout no judges' stand.
Not long after we left the schooling area, the judge was ready to begin. Folks were standing around, no one wanted to start the day. You know what I LOVE doing? Starting the day. So we trotted in and got to work. My plan was to trot everything, but if he had a jump in his sites and was in a reasonable canter, not to mess with him to get the trot. The jumps were small, so he could have walked over them if he'd needed to. Fortunately, the trot/maybe canter worked out just fine and we jumped around the first course clear. A little bit of discussion about steering and pace here and there, but nothing anyone would worry about for a horse like him his first time in the show ring.
|I can't stop admiring his neck, |
which is the thing I didn't like about him when I bought him.
The second round was power and speed, which I think is the kind of thing he'll like when he's more broke. The course was actually going better than the first one until we pulled the last jump in the power phase. Bummer. It was my fault, kinda--it was a skinny (they have skinnies in puddle jumpers? There was also a liverpool and the above mentioned two-stride). Just like when we schooled them at home the other day, I had to keep him a little under the pace to get him over the middle of it, and he just slid a hoof over it. No big deal. The judge, being kind, didn't whistle us out of the ring until we'd jumped the next one, because pulling up a green horse who has his eye on a jump and is making a genuine effort at it really sucks. And it was a schooling show, so schooling was allowed.
|So he'll clearly be fine in the 3', ha!|
I was very proud of his behavior between classes as well. He stood around, relaxed and happy, and LOVED the kisses and pats from the pony club kids. He searched a good many pockets for cookies and found more than one, I'm sure. I'd just hop on him about two rides out, walk a couple circles, and go back in for the next round. This might not be the strategy we carry through his whole career, ha, but at this show it worked out. Riding him back and forth between the now-crowded schooling ring and the show ring was probably going to wind him up. He didn't need to go jump between classes or school at all, he just needed to chillax, and that is what he did.
I thought he was really a superstar and I could not have been more proud of him. He seemed quite pleased with himself, too.
|I am Mo, conquerer of puddle jumpers!|
|I mean, I LIKE satin when I get it!|
I'm just thrilled to death with him and feeling a lot more confident in getting around whatever we go to this year. Now we just have to get that pesky canter depart done!