Show # 2. The Good. The Bad. And The Lumpy

Dressage Show first level May 2016

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.

The Bad

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.

The Good

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!

Dressage show May 2016
If we can do this, we can do anything!

The Lumpy

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.

Dressage show fun
The “carrot chunk” in all its painful glory!




Dino’s First Show-And He Read the Wrong Test…

At 4 years old, Dino was ready to stick his Clydesdale-sized hoof into the world of showing…..but I think he was reading from the wrong test. Some excerpts from the tests are below:

Training Level 1 : Enter Working Trot, Halt, salute. Proceed working trot, Track Left

Dino performed the very common but non-sanctioned version: Enter Working Trot, Halt, salute, Proceed working trot. Spook at Judge. Track Left early or be prepared for a spin and bolt.

Judge’s Comments: Slightly Inattentive 7

Me: Seriously…a 7 for that? Wow, that was a gift!


Training Level 1 Test: Circle right 20 meters

Dino’s Version: Controlled bolt 20 meters

Judge’s comment: Prompt and Accurate

Me: Yeah, I guess by definition a BOLT IS PROMPT. Feeling pretty good it was actually accurate too 🙂


Training Level 1 :C-M-B Working Canter. Between B&F Working Trot

Dino’s Version: Huh? Did you see the pretty warmblood mare outside the arena?

Judge’s Comments: Came off rail. Prompt Transition 7.5

Me: Oops…I never could perform a one rein stop perfectly straight….but at least it was prompt! I win 😉

Training Level 2: Circle 20 meter allowing horse to stretch forward and down

Dino’s Version: Quadrangle 20 meters allowing horse to stretch forward and down

Judge’s Comments: Good stretch. Irregular O

Me: Yep, I took Geometry too. That was definitely not an O

When it was all said and done, Dino performed exactly how i thought he might. He was completely inattentive during his first class. He was THAT horse… You know the one that is screaming to the mares hoping to catch a date when the show is over.

The second test went much better. I spent almost the entire time between classes just walking him in the warm up arena. Worked like a charm. He was solidly OK during his second test (except for the quadrangle of course). I was actually just going for OK. I didn’t want to push too hard and have Dino blow up on me. One big step at a time.

The best part about the show is that after Dino calmed down, nothing really bugged him. There were horses flipping out right and left at this show. It was the most un-dressage like show I have ever been to. It must have been the foggy, cool weather. Horses were rearing, bucking and bolting right and left. Dino took it all in stride. He has the potential to be a really nice show horse… happy!

Oh and if you are wondering what kind of ribbons my little 4-year-old Dinosaur got at his very first show….. both Blues. Today a solidly average performance was good enough to beat out the competition. He scored a 73 and a 74.

Dino first show ribbons




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