Sometimes you just know things aren’t going to go your way. Like when your horse comes out of his stall in the morning, takes one look at the trailer and says, maybe not today. To be honest, Dino loaded just fine when I asked him to. But until I gave him a very firm load command, he gave me lots of hints that this wasn’t a good plan for the day. He walked slowly and dragged his feet. He tried to stop and even gave a little squeal and meager attempt at a spook . That’s when I had to break the news to him….I know you are a bit grumpy and tired because you are teething, but we still are going to the show today. Sorry buddy.
At the show grounds he seemed excited and lethargic all at the same time. You know…that perfect combination for pulling an avocado green ribbon in your classes (what place is that anyway…like 15th?). I lunged him. He bolted. It lasted exactly 4 circles before he came right down to his lethargic self. Getting him to ride forward was going to be fun.
Warm up was not great either. There was an excited horse in the warm up arena calling to its friends and that really scared my little dinosaur. He was noticeably tense. We mostly walked. When the horse left the ring, Dino relaxed and warmed up nicely. It didn’t last long though.
When it was our turn to show, 3 horses trotted up on the trail just to other side of the creek next to the arena. Their horses called to Dino and he lost his confidence. The bell rang. It was our turn, and Dino was a tight ball of nerves. I rode him as quietly as I could, and to his credit, he didn’t bolt or spook or anything bad. He just found it hard to relax for the first 1/3 of the test. Just when we were settling into our test, a gooseneck horse trailer drove right past ‘A’ with the horses heads hanging out the windows, and you guessed it, screaming to my horse. I actually started laughing…I mean seriously…This is like cowboy challenge meets dressage. If we can ride through this, we can do anything. And ride we did. Dino pulled a first place in the class. Good boy!
Our second class went better for Dino. He was just fine. However, it was a First Level Test where you sit the trot. Not really a problem under normal circumstances, but something wasn’t right. There was a large lump just in front of my right seat bone. It was grinding into my joint and thigh. It felt like the size of a rock and the consistency of a piece of wood. Did something break off my saddle? I tried to get the thing to move to a less painful spot, but it wans’t budging. That’s when it dawned on me. I had felt this same thing before. It’s a freakin’ carrot chunk! I do a lot of positive reinforcement and had been using carrot pieces for rewards during the warm up. I didn’t have my coat on for warm up and had no pockets for my carrot, so I stuck the entire thing in the waistband of my breaches. A large chunk must have broken off and migrated downward. Needless to say, it was a looooong test! I will never forget it.