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Are stars aligning for awful show? Advice sought

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  • Are stars aligning for awful show? Advice sought

    I am entered for my first show in more than 20 years!! Just started re-riding this fall with my trail horse.
    I am set to do a walk-trot Into and a 12" jumping course at a schooling show.
    Well, our last 2-3 rides have been awful, he resists any contact, even pins his ears and bucks when I put my leg on to go forward. I know it's partly me, I seem to have suddenly lost feel and balance.
    Now we have dreadful weather coming in (cold and snow/rain mix) and I am one of the first rides, which means we'll trailer in and pretty much go so won't have much times for him to look around and warm up.
    I just feel like I am headed for a train wreck!
    Any advice? (Sadly, we can't get over there any earlier as I am trailering with someone else and can't ride today between the weather and a busy Friday at work)

  • #2
    I just want to say, I think it sounds like pure nerves, which is totally normal & to be expected. Perhaps go to the show & see how it feels when you get there...still alive? Get on your horse. Still alive? Warm up. Still alive? Start your test. And so on. As long as you feel safe keep trying to move to the next thing. At any point if you feel truly endangered, pull the plug, hang out, hack around, help your friend then go home and try again another day.

    I think the get on & go situation in the morning might be for the best. Leaves you no time to over think & worry.

    This first one may be hard, but it will get better from here on out. I promise you.


    • #3
      Dress warm, go as early as you can, and don't worry about it. The first few shows of the season are officially "stay alive" shows for many people, they're either outside for the first time, on a green horse, or on a horse who has not been worked on a regular basis. You will NOT be alone.

      I have seen plenty of ugly WT tests, and you can always walk over those fences.


      • #4
        It's W/T at a schooling show. Forget about putting him on a contact. You are not going there to win...you are going there to school and get yourself back into the game. Since someone else is driving....have yourself a nice cup of hot coco...or an adult beverage and allow your self to just go in and do your test and have fun. Worry about be competitive another time. Lower your goals a bit and therefore lower the pressure you are putting on yourself. If it is ugly...don't pick the fight.
        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


        • #5
          What BFNE says..I did my 1 st event in over 30+ years and went with I am going to have a GOOD time regardless and give my horse an even better experience...be happy stay warm be positive do not think about scores do not worry about how you look just give your horse a nice day...go home and have a drink on us...


          • #6
            What everyone else says!

            And...I recall from long, long ago that when I had a lousy 'last lesson' before a show, we did well. Probably because I really thought about what I was doing, when I got to the show. And if I had a great 'last lesson', we didn't do well. Probably because we got complacent.

            Go, have a great time, don't sweat the sillies in the walk-trot divisions, nobody else will either. Heck, you'd probably get more grief if your horse was really nicely behaved, from the peanut gallery deciding that you're a ribbon stealer that belongs in the higher divisions!


            • #7
              Breathe, laugh, and learn Like everyone else said: take the pressure off yourself and have fun.
              Piaffe Girl -- Dressage. Fashionably.


              • #8
                I say go, but mentally give yourself a "pass" - don't beat yourself up afterward if things don't go as smoothly as you'd like.

                That's my plan for this entire season! Next year we'll be serious


                • Original Poster

                  I was going to braid him tonight but am now thinking I will just trim his mane a bit and concentrate on cleaning him up in the morning. He is out 24/7 in a turnout blanket and it is raining/snowing all night. The show says "neat and casual" so I don't think we'll be the only ones unbraided.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FatDinah View Post
                    I was going to braid him tonight but am now thinking I will just trim his mane a bit and concentrate on cleaning him up in the morning. He is out 24/7 in a turnout blanket and it is raining/snowing all night. The show says "neat and casual" so I don't think we'll be the only ones unbraided.

                    neat and casual is code for don't braid and you do not need to be in show jacket (tucked in collared shirt/warm jacket or sweater and clean). Just trim his mane, get him clean in the morning and clean your tack.

                    Good luck!
                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                    • #11
                      Don't braid. Wipe most of the dirt off. And then don't worry about it. Schooling shows are exactly for this reason - to knock the rust off and have fun.

                      When you go in the ring, don't ask for contact. Just let go and go forward. I suspect that nerves may be causing you to have a bunch more feel on his mouth than you might usually, and that's why he's being a cranky pants. Just let him walk and trot along with almost a loop in your reins, and you'll be fine.


                      • #12
                        I agree.

                        Don't braid, just get him clean (as practical) and neat.

                        In Dressage don't worry about contact. If you can stay in the ring 8-) and be "forward and relaxed". You are doing great.

                        In 12 inch jumping just take your time and focus on each jump. If you need to circle to get reorganized, do so. At that level, most judges will let you continue even if you have 3 "technical" refusals by circling. But even if they don't, don't worry. The horse doesn't know if the course is 3 jumps or 8 jumps or 10. You want to make it a positive experinece for both of you.

                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                        • #13
                          Take it all one step at a time and give yourself the freedom to call it a day if you get overwhelmed. Break it down into small little successes: get the rig to the destination, get unloaded, get tacked, warm up etc.

                          That said, do prepare well-pack and do everything you can in advance. Have a time schedule and follow it. That eliminates a lot of the stress.



                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks for the all the reassurance.
                            We're going to just give it a go and see what happens. I'll supply an update.


                            • #15
                              Go FD! By this time tomorrow you'll be warm, fed & happy, and riding an emotional high, I'm sure. So much to be said for just getting yourself out there...will be rooting you on from afar.


                              • #16
                                Rooting for you from afar! Looking forward to your update


                                • Original Poster

                                  The day did not go as planned but it was a fabulous day.
                                  My horse absolutely refused to load in the trailer, although he had loaded fine a couple weeks ago to go schooling.
                                  But my friends and instructor came through! I rode someone else's horse in the dressage test (got a 70%) and we pulled a former BN packer out of the field for the 12" jumping. We went clean, got 5th in the jumpoff.
                                  More important, I had a blast!
                                  We'll have to rethink my horse's future if this loading issue can't be fixed. But I feel so confident that I know we can make something work.


                                  • #18
                                    Good for you for seeing it through, glad you had fun!

                                    There's been lots of useful threads regarding trailer issues, do a quick search and I'll bet you guys will get it down to a science
                                    Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                                    The Grove at Five Points


                                    • #19
                                      For what it's worth, I'm proud of you.


                                      • #20
                                        Don't let the loading issue make you sell your horse just yet, there are plenty of threads on here about trailer loading and I've had several horses go from not getting close to loading to self loading.

                                        One of the keys I have found is to load them several days a week, not just when you have a lesson or show. Some horses associate trailer loading wtih a stressful event away from home. I loaded my current beast every single day before I rode for almost a month after she had a small trailer accident (all my fault and she wasn't %100 before that either). After they get used to loading every day, and realize that showing isn't a big deal they are fine.