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First show in 7ish years on Saturday! Show nerves and advice requested

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  • First show in 7ish years on Saturday! Show nerves and advice requested

    So, I bought the AQHA HUS horse in my other thread, who is positively a joy. His name (for those following that thread) is Tuff Twisted Clue and honestly, I could not love this horse any more if you paid me to. He is so cool.

    An opportunity has opened up to do a hunter (not AQHA) schooling show on Saturday and I'm going to take him to do the pleasures, since he doesn't jump yet.

    The last time I did the pleasures it was on a green horse (7 years ago) and the focus was on keep him from running over the judge. I'm currently trainerless so I'm asking for some advice here!

    The three classes (all flat) are Hunter Pleasure, Road Hack and the Bridle Path Hack. So Hunter Pleasure...lovely, accurate, loopy rein and a pleasure to ride. Road Hack, should we look like we're going somewhere? And what on earth is a Bridle Path Hack? Can the same horse do well in all three? I'm obviously going to want to keep him more up than a HUS horse (not hard to do with this horse) but also more forward (a little trickier, but we're working on that...his favorite gear is sllooowwww).

    I'm nervous! I haven't shown in so long, I keep thinking I'll forget things...I keep trying to remember that it's JUST a schooling show for fun, but my nerves are all after me (I showed for years over fences, but haven't shown at all in 7 years! I had to buy all new show stuff because it was either dry-rotted, I'd given it away, or I couldn't find it after that length of time ) I know I'm just doing the flat classes so I don't have to worry about screwing up too much, but I barely know this horse (I've had him for 3 weeks now) and since our ring is not finished yet, we've barely had a chance to really practice flatting well. Is this a totally crazy thing to do? Perhaps...but it's going to be fun, right?

  • #2
    If I were in your boots (ha) I would focus on the day, in sections. With absolutely no pressure or expectations for each part.

    1) We are going to load up, and head over to the show.
    2) We are going to unload, go for a walk, and see how this guy does in a new, crowded place. If that goes well...
    3) Saddle up, walk around. Play around in the warm-up arena, hang our ringside, watch some classes. If that goes well...
    4) Enter the first class. If that goes well...so on and so forth.

    This mind-set seems to help with my students, anyway. If nothing else, you will learn what a "bridle path hack" is (I am not familiar with this, either, interested to hear from another cother on that one).

    This is the best kind of show! Zero pressure, zero expectations, all for the experience and enjoyment. Especially with such a new horse; the smallest success will be big.


    • Original Poster

      Thank you eastend! That's really good advice. I'm not used to being so underprepared and I generally do put wayyy too much pressure on myself. But you're right. New horse, rusty me...there's no reason I need to do that. This should be fun!


      • #4
        In road hack, expect to be asked to hand gallop.
        Blog chronicling our new eventing adventures: Riding With Scissors


        • #5
          Google gave me this:

          Bridle Path Hack or Road Hack

          This is a basic flat class that can also include extended trot and hand galloping in at least one direction around the arena. The judge may also ask for your horse to halt and back up.

          So those two classes may be quite similar. Read somewhere else that Bridle Path may also include a tiny jump. If your guy doesn't jump yet I'd ask about that beforehand.


          • Original Poster

            Yea - from the prizelist, it's just flatting. It's interesting that they have both, that's why I was confused as to the nuance between the two. I was thinking that they'd want a more forward horse in the Road Hack, to imitate the hunt field, but then how does that go into the same division that the Hunter Pleasure does?

            I may be overthinking this!


            • #7
              I would pretty much follow eastendjumper's outline.

              Make sure to get there nice and early to allow yourself plenty of time. When you are rushed that just makes things more stressul for both you and the horse. Start by walking around the grounds for a while to let him get a look at things. Then do some longing if you feel the need before you get on to ride.

              I wouldn't worry about being really forward or hand galloping for the road hack class. Just ride the way you do at home. Most open/schooling shows in my area also have a walk/trot class that's all ages. Maybe this is too much of a baby step, but it would be pretty safe first class together.


              • #8
                Congratulations on your new horse and the return to the show ring ! ENJOY !

                Congratulations on your new horse !
                and your return to the show ring !

                It will all come back magically ~ ENJOY !!!

                Jingles for a
                wonderful Saturday ~
                Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                • #9
                  I'm sorta in the same boat this weekend. My last event was in 2005. I've done some jumper and dressage shows in the mean time, so not a complete hiatus from jumping. However, I've had 3 surgeries in the last 6 months and was hospitalized as recent as last week. Needless to say, since then I have probably ridden the equivalent of what I use to ride in a month, in the last year.

                  3 days ago, I was soooo nervous! Today, I'm cool as a cucumber (it does help that my horse made the 850 mile trip and is acting like an old pro!) I'll tell you what I did and maybe some tidbits will be helpful to you.

                  First I asked my self "why am I doing this?"
                  1) to have fun
                  2) to hang out with and support my friends showing
                  3) to get my horse all dolled up
                  4) to hopefully earn a "qualifying result"
                  5) to get out there and try it... If not now, when?
                  6) have a mini vacation

                  So what was making me nervous? (This took a while to really pin point).
                  1) having to tell my friends and family, all cheering for me, that we failed (for any reason, didn't do well.)

                  Honestly, it's not falling off or even disappointing my self (although I had to "let to" of the thought of how much money this costs, becaus the thought of wasting doesn't help!)

                  I had to figure how to get rid of those nerves. Part is just recognizing the cause and realizing it not a big deal. The other is making a point of telling my friends my goal is to just get experience this weekend and that I'm planning to pull out early due to my health issues. I'm not sure that it changes expectations in anyone else's mind, but it sure changed my mind set.

                  I hope you can figure out your nerves. Don't forget, when they are actively bad remind your self that when you get on your horse, you'll be fine and can leave your nerves back at the trailer/stall. Some poeple like to "put their nerves in an imaginary locked box."


                  • Original Poster

                    Wish I could pinpoint what is bothering me. I think it's the unknowns. I don't know him very well yet, so I don't know what his routine should be. That sort of thing.

                    He's all bathed and ready (our classes are in the afternoon, and we've already registered). I'm just about ready.

                    Thank you all for your help and encouragement!!!


                    • #11
                      Good luck today and have fun!


                      • #12
                        Ditto what Noctis said. A first step is a first step. Enjoy it.
                        “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                        ¯ Oscar Wilde


                        • #13
                          How did it go? I hope you had fun!


                          • Original Poster

                            Well, the morning getting ready was disastrous lol. It started pouring, which made my horse mad, and just complicated everything. He was calm getting of the trailer and walking around and then all of a sudden he lost his mind and started bucking and caprioling and acting like an idiot. The judge had to help me because I couldn't get him back :-( Nice judge though!

                            So after a quick spin on the longe to finish getting the bucks out ( which he did require, mental note) he was fine, we schooled and then went into our classes.

                            Classes were large (15 in the first 17 in the second and 18 in the third) and we got two 6ths which is not too bad considering that it took everything I had to keep him going around the ring! I have always had hot forward horses and he is a push horse! In the third class I almost fell off when someone on the rail told a nearby rider to woah, and he slammed on the brakes hahahahhaha

                            So all in all, it was a good day. Considering that I've only had him for 3 weeks and we have never cantered the whole way around the ring, I'm pleased! Now to collapse with a glass of wine and a big burger!!


                            • Original Poster

                              I should add, the judge gave us great feedback. He said that he really wanted to use us higher but that's when he would stop cantering! Lol so the good news is that I can fix that easily!


                              • #16
                                Glad you had a good day. He sounds great. You will figure out his show routine soon enough.
                                Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thanks!!! And thank you to everyone :-) I really appreciated all the advice and encouragement. You guys are the best!


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by eastendjumper View Post
                                    If I were in your boots (ha) I would focus on the day, in sections. With absolutely no pressure or expectations for each part.

                                    1) We are going to load up, and head over to the show.
                                    2) We are going to unload, go for a walk, and see how this guy does in a new, crowded place. If that goes well...
                                    3) Saddle up, walk around. Play around in the warm-up arena, hang our ringside, watch some classes. If that goes well...
                                    4) Enter the first class. If that goes well...so on and so forth.

                                    This mind-set seems to help with my students, anyway. If nothing else, you will learn what a "bridle path hack" is (I am not familiar with this, either, interested to hear from another cother on that one).

                                    This is the best kind of show! Zero pressure, zero expectations, all for the experience and enjoyment. Especially with such a new horse; the smallest success will be big.
                                    This!!!! I had not shown in 5+ years.......was reallysick in renal failure and just got a new pony. Got on him april 1st and went to my first show on april 29. i did exactly as above. I actually entered the Enlgish Model class and pony won it. I did not do so well in the jog portion, but the saint of a pony (and saint of a judge) were very understanding of my limitations. Pony won the model (no suprise since he is gorgeous <wink>) I took a long rest then entered the pleasure classic. I was NERVOUS!!! wasnt sur eif physically I could do it, if pony was going to kill me or not (tough experience wit a greenie prior to), etc. Pony won the class - lol. no thanks to me...i was a passenger. i was exhausted after, like was gasping for breath and dizzy, but I did it!!!!!

                                    winning wasnt important, although it meant I was able to "look" fairly competent, which was a huge plsu for me given my situation I tried an over fences class and bombed. Pony took off, missed all changes, missed all distances - lol. BUT, I wasnt afraid, rode it through and managed not to pass out, so all in all a success.

                                    Do it!!! Allow yoruself to be nervous. have a good friend (horsie or not) for support. go slow...one class at a time. You wille ither now if youw ant to continue, or hang it up. i cant wait for next weekend for my second show I know the same challenges exist, but I think without the nerves, it will be better.

                                    Good luck and let us know!!!!!
                                    Last edited by Silk; May. 12, 2013, 09:20 AM. Reason: ooopsss...guess my post was a little late :)
                                    Save a life...be an organ donor! Visit www.Transplantbuddies.org


                                    • #19
                                      Oh....bridle path hack and road hack i thought were basically the same thing. In those classes an extended trot and hand gallop are often asked for. at the local level, most will only get a "lenghtened trot" and a "fast canter". a little more animaltion in those goats, but basically the same trot and canter as in a pleasure class. In those divisions at an open show, usually you get some arabs, morgans, and other "light orse" breeds. at a hunter shw, its just asking for some more advanced gaits.
                                      Save a life...be an organ donor! Visit www.Transplantbuddies.org


                                      • #20
                                        Congratulations!!! It sounds like you really rose to the occasion. eastendjumper's advice was wonderful. When you face something that seems huge and insurmountable, break it down into tiny steps. Having a set of small, doable goals instead of one big intimidating one is the key to getting through tough challenges. And this was a tough challenge that you handled beautifully!
                                        Taco Blog
                                        *T3DE 2010 Pact*