Tuesday, April 5, 2016

How to Train Your Dragon: A Guide to Surviving a Horse Show with a Mare in Raging Heat

Rawr.
So, as you may have noticed, Sprinklerbandit and I made it to the first horse show of the year. A friendly schooling show at a local barn that offered TOC dressage tests and jumper and hunter rounds as well. Bacon has been a pretty sensitive ride this spring, and I noticed that she was in a rather unfortunate heat when we were to be traveling to the show grounds. Ugh. We planned on having them stay the night before the show to make things a little easier on our incredibly chauffeur, Lindsey.
Bacon wishes she had Papa's curves.
Now, Bacon is your typical peeing all over themselves mare in heat. She just gets even more sensitive and crazy and nervous and touchy. There was fairly minimal weaving on the trailer ride there. But when we stepped off and stuck them in the stall, it was the most nervous I had ever seen her anywhere. She paced and weaved and paced, and we left the stall open between her and Courage because sometimes he thinks he is a stallion. Later on, I pulled her out for a hack around the property and into a big pasture. She was tense, but mostly listening. In the pasture she got a little rude, but I put her to work and got some stuff out of her. Despite her being crazy, she was still rideable and we even popped over the tiny xc jump out there. Well, more like sprinted at it, but I stayed on. There was not a lot of bend going on, many half halts, and opening of the outside rein and she kept wanting to drop her inside shoulder down, and I kept pushing it back into that outside rein. I was able to walk her stretched on a loose rein, so that was nice.
Bacon on a hill.
When we went back to put the into their stalls, people were filing in for the Open House party for the new addition to the facility, and a an even crazier horse that was already dripping sweat had been put in the pen in between Courage and Bacon. Oh goody. Bacon stayed calm for her undressing, but when I turned her loose, she fed off of the other horse and acted even more insane. She was also very offended by him and thought that kicking him might be the best option, but instead hit the metal fencing and wouldn't put her leg down onto the ground. More sighs.
This is connection, yes?
I grabbed her out and walked her around and she seemed fine. I think she mostly stunned it like a stubbed toe (although it is swollen today). Aimee and I moved our horses away onto the backside of the barn, as there were no other horses there. It was the best choice all the way around, and Bacon settled in a bit better, though still not excellent. We hung out at the party for a little bit, checked on the ponies, and then headed home.
At least the outfit was pretty good on my part.
Sunday morning, I was a little bummed when I showed up at the barn and my horse left some of her dinner still there. But she ate about half of it and drank and pooped and peed, so that was good. I checked in and proceeded to grab tack out of my trunk. Except for my dressage girth. Which was still at home. Whoops! Soooo, dressage was done in the jump tack/dressage bridle. It was a little gross looking (to me) but I like my jump saddle better.
Not too terrible.
We had to warm up in a cramped and dark indoor arena. At first, Bacon was not too excited about any of this. We walked around for quite a while, and then I held my breath asking for the trot. To my surprise, it was kept together and she wasn't piling 50lbs into my hands. That pleased me. It was a super conservative trot, where I minimally asked for bend because leg is equivalent to fire when you are in heat, but it wasn't bad. We cantered too, both directions, both without running into the transition. Then we did a little stretchy walk and then were called in.
Well, maybe a little terrible.
I knew the plan was to keep the test conservative. And that we did. She was pretty tense, but still obedient and remained consistent in the contact 90% of the time. There was little bend in our circles and length or swing in our stride, but they looked like circles. We had some stretch in our walk, but the comment on it was "hasty" as it certainly was. We got the incorrect lead on BOTH canter circles, but they were quickly fixed. We had our worst halt ever, where normally we grab an 8, but we stopped, so that was good. All in all, we earned a 38.3, which is better than I thought it was going to be. I'll take it.
A brisk morning.
I was fortunate enough to watch Lindsey and Aimee go around once each, and then went back to saddle the pony for jumping. I had the course pretty well memorized, and it you went clear through the first 7, you continued through 6 more jumps that was power and speed. We were one of the first ones to go, and I knew in warm up that I wasn't going to be able to do much except hang on. In 2'9", that was a correct thought. But upon watching the video, there was not enough pace in either of my 2'9" or 3' rounds. We went clean in the 2'9", but I just really couldn't find the rhthym or distances in the 3' round. It felt so horrible. And my saddle had slid forward sooo much, that it wasn't even on my horse's back anymore and a strap from the breastplate went around my knee. We did not go clean after taking a rail on the first jump.
Purple flowers!
Bacon ZOOM INITIATED.
All in all, it definitely wasn't our best show. But there are some things to be thankful for. Like the fact that my horse didn't dump my ass for the saddle incident. She didn't look at any of the jumps at all, just went right over. We stayed in the dressage arena and I didn't poop my pants. And I got a third in the 2'9", so that was pretty cool. There is a lot to look forward to this year and lots of room for improvement!
Weeee
This dragon is the most saintly dragon ever. Like, HOLY HELL. Sorry Bacon. Thank you for not killing me.


24 comments:

  1. I love the title of this post! Hhahaha

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    1. Well, the dragon part is true. It being a guide, not so much ;)

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  2. I agree, best post title ever! And Bacon looks cute in the pics so that's all that matters.

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    1. It really is all that matters. Still rocking the ooze clip too.

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  3. That is an epic saddle malfunction. Way to not kill your mom, Bacon!

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    1. Holy crap, I appreciate her. Even if she is insane.

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  4. So badass you don't even need the saddle on her back to jump a 3' course. RAWR.

    I'm impressed.

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    1. Saddle on a neck will do just fine when you are a giraffe.

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  5. Well done for your first outing of the year! Dragon indeed, crazy mare! You guys look great!

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  6. Sounds like an excellent outing to knock the rust off so to speak,

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    1. There is a bit more rust. I can feel it. But I am feeling a little looser!

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  7. Gahhh saddle malfunction sounds crazy! She always looks so happy to be jumping. :)

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  8. Replies
    1. There was lots of pulling. And hanging on.

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  9. Good on Bacon for being a Saintly creature during the saddle malfunction, lol. Love those breeches on you!

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  10. You guys look really sharp! I think first show of the year is allowed to be a bit not perfect. Despite her raging heat it seems y'all still did well!

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  11. Saintly dragons are BEST dragons :) congrats on a mostly successful first outing of the year!!

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    1. If I were her, I would have dumped my ass into a fiery pit.

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  12. At least her speedy sounds like a 'i love my job' speedy :) sounds like a great fun time

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