Took reactive, easily distracted horse to another show. Last one was a rain soaked, mud covered, OMG the other horses are going to eat me, the drain pipe noise is scary, look at my giraffe imitation nightmare (Still we did eke out 60.4% on both tests at that one).
No rain this time! A bit windy, but gradually warming. He behaved pretty well for his first time in a warmup where there were a LOT of horses. Since we're still TL, usually our rides are very early and one or two horses in the warmup is probably the most he's had to cope with (ditto situation at home, since I am one of the few who rides at night, i.e., after work). He was momentarily petrified by the life-size lion statutes near the show arena (!), but fortunately, we were able to pass by them at a decent distance. While he is still a work in progress and should be rounder and even steadier, he behaved quite well, was nicely forward, and...ta da! 65% at TL, T2, 2nd place (1st was 65.714%). I was really surprised and delighted.
However...lions, and tigers and bears, oh,my.....focus went out the window for TL, T3. For some reason, another competitor chose to ride around the outside of the show arena as I was about a minute into my test (?!?!?). Neither judge, nor TD (I have no idea where the TD was) said boo. Despite my best efforts to keep him properly bent and on the bit, he kept counterflexing to watch this other horse and trying to shy away from the rail, and at one point finally did shy moderately violently (on the canter circle of course). I managed to get it back together and we finished, but it was not nearly as good an effort as the first test. 56%. Sigh.
Still, it was a definite improvement. This horse is easily capable for 70% at training level if we can only get it together and keep his focus and me...well... firm, rather than aggressive with his yeehaws!!! Altogether, I was delighted that his overall behavior was so good. We ARE making progress!!! ROFLOL I guess continued exposure is the only way (I knew that!), but his sometimes rodeo antics have been discouraging at times! Perhaps he is finally growing up.
Congrats!! I am riding a youngster who sounds so similar. The things she spooks at are very legit-not one to spook at leaves-and the spooks are rideable, but when the focus goes it just doesn't work. She can be a rock star when there no one else around, but other horses, dogs running, trash trucks, etc...no more focus on me and its all over the place. Sounds like you did a great job.
Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!
Sounds actually like you had a overall very good day. He faced lots of stuff and held it together for much of it...shame about the lack of TD control over the other rider touring around the ring, but I would look at that test as follows: it was one more test of his focus; so he lost it a bit in the end but you were able to get it back together and finish, and thus he did not win, you did. Don't get discouraged, though sometimes that's easier said than done.