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Baby's first show--a good learning experience!!

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  • Baby's first show--a good learning experience!!

    Let's just put it at that! I showed my 4yo Friesian/SWB cross this weekend at a night show, but was hoping my ride times would have been while it was light. Well, they weren't and I was nervous about how my horse would take it. He didn't take it too well, but it may not have been the darkness in itself, but just the whole show experience was a bit overwhelming for him.

    All in all we kept it together, but he really was unglued the whole time. I certainly had "FORWARD"--LOL! which is something we don't get enough of at home. He's pretty lazy at home, and very laid back. I've exposed him as much as I could, taken him to away barns for schooling, but the show experience is always a lot more stimulating, and with it being it the dark--wow.

    So we had to warm up in the indoor, and they have a viewing room on one side where the lights were on, and he really took issue with that.

    So then we had our first test Intro A. Going into that huge, brightly lit arena was really intimidating for him. Going past the judges trailer, even more so!! Before we started our test and were going around the outside, I tried to get him past the trailer. Nuh-uh, he freaked out, starting backing up, and backed right into the ring border which was white garbage cans with PVC pipe, proceeded to get his legs tanged up, got back out of it, and spun and tried to rear. Luckily I have the crank head around thing down pat, and prevented the rear. I booted him forward past the judges trailer and they set the ring back up as I proceeded back to the entrance at A. The rest of the test was tense, tense, tense, and damage control. He just about left the arena at A at one point during the test, but I managed to keep one foot in there and got him back in and finished. PHEW! Got a pretty low score but still finished 7th out of 13. Don't know how we pulled that off!

    Intro B was an hour later, so I got off him for a while then got back on 20 minutes before the test. I decided that warming up in the indoor was counterproductive since the viewing room freaked him out, and just walked around by the in gates. He started getting very attached to the horses that were also hanging out there, and they became his security blanket. So having to leave them and go back in that scary arena all by himself was even worse than the first time. Plus it was PITCH black outside by then and he couldn't see anything beyond the lit arena and that made him very insecure. Again, we managed to do the test but it was all damage control and this time finished dead last, VERY low score but rightfully so. Every time we went towards A at a trot he sped up and even broke into a canter a few times, and every time we had to go toward C you could almost hear tires screeching as he slammed into a walk when he should have been trotting! The judge did say I was a "quiet and tactful rider", I guess she didn't see me booting him in the sides to keep him straight and in the arena-- !!

    I'm just chalking it up to a learning experience! The judge from the other ring who I take lessons with occasionally came up to me and told me that we had some REALLY nice moments and he's going to be brilliant with some more mileage. She said I've just got to keep getting him out and I'll have myself a VERY nice dressage horse, she loves him.

    Here's some stills from my husband's taping of the tests. I don't want to post the videos as it's pretty ugly. But like my trainer said, there were some nice moments such as these:

    I can trot REALLY big but I don't like to let my owner know that at home:




    TRYING to get a halt out of him:


    Saluting really fast while he's still dancing!


    PHEW! We're done with that one!!


    Yeah! I get to leave this scary arena now!!


    Some of his ugly moments, let's see if I fling my head around enough I can get her to let me outta here!


    Last edited by WBLover; Sep. 21, 2009, 10:40 AM. Reason: Picture links

  • #2
    I can't see you pics
    Fair and kind, but with authority... - Jennie Loriston-Clarke


    • Original Poster

      OK, I tried different links--see if that works!


      • #4
        What a gorgeous horse!! Think of it this way..there are some advantages to riding a black horse in the dark! ha ha
        "The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli"


        • #5
          Aww poor Beau... I bet it was scary being in that lit indoor when it's dark outside. That's nothing like anything he is used to! He really will be quite lovely... if you ever want to bring him here just for the experience of getting out and about you are welcome to.


          • #6
            Hey - he stayed in the ring! That alone is a BIG accomplishment!

            I have a friend who was at that show as well, it was the second show for her mare, who is really a pretty good girl. She was better at her first show then this one. I think that it being dark out beyond the arena is pretty unsettling for a youngster if they're not used to it. He'll probably be a lot better at a day-time show, so don't feel bad. My friend said one of the people working the show told her they didn't expect it to get so dark so quickly. Well, duh! Where have they been the last month!? I think she had to show in the second arena that wasn't lit, which she said was really interesting.


            • #7
              Well, they hold the Starry Nights shows every month, so maybe they were thinking the sun would have the same timing as it does in June haha - oops! However, I don't know why some people are surprised to ride in the dark at this series, it's called the Starry Nights series for a reason haha!


              • #8
                I wish organizers would look at times when organizing these shows. I just took my 3-yr old to her first show under saddle. Had her in the 3-yr old materiale class. I'm pregnant so I had a rider up on her (well in advance - it was posted in the bulletin that he would be riding) and they had him handling another horse (it was a breeding show) back to back with her.

                I lunged her to warm her up but he LITERALLY was pulling on his boots and getting thrown into the saddle. He asked for a few minutes to ride first but they said nope, he should have had someone else warm up the horse for him (who me? The pregnant lady?) and he had to take her STRAIGHT into the ring without so much as a trot around the warm-up ring.

                My horse was good as gold under the circumstances but I thought it was VERY unfair to the babies. Won't be showing there again.
                The rebel in the grey shirt