Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Moving Up: So That Happened

So yesterday I mentioned that I botched the warm up (badly) and screwed my horse over, which resulted in  alternately explosive/conservative rides.
on alert
I was determined not to do that twice.

My first ride Sunday was at 12.24, so I announced that I would be in the saddle at 11.24. I pulled him out at 11 even and hand walked around the grounds (all of which we'd seen/freaked out about yesterday), lunged him (lightly) in the halter to get him listening and focused on me, and climbed on at about 11.15. Better a little early, right? I can always walk a few more minutes.

Or like.

No.

I cannot.

Sigh.

I realized I'd forgotten my number (this is a boo boo, but not a big one). I thought I'd just hack my horse over to the trailer that he's walked back and forth from several times now. I like to focus on positives, so I'm going to say that I bailed before the shit really hit the fan. Also I thought to snag a lunge line at the trailer and try that over again.

Earlier this spring, I lunged Courage a lot while we figured some stuff out. We've since pretty much dropped it and generally just don't. Unless it's at a show.

Then we spent an hour running and dolphin leaping and screaming our damn fool heads off, because I don't know, that's so metal. Alyssa showed up sometime around here. She can verify that it is the single worst Courage appearance at a show ever. (Noted: possibly not the worst if you include XC schoolings, but I don't).
I figured we would scratch our classes and I would make smart choices so as to minimize my chance of death. I kept thinking eventually he'd give it up, but pretty much as soon as he did, another horse would call and he'd lose it all over again. Leaping bucks into the canter while completely distracted? Yeah I'll pass.

I don't really know how long that went on. Long enough that people were like "damn girl, long round pen session", but thankfully no one else needed the lunging area I guess. I eventually got on and C was still mostly a basket case. We walk/trotted around and it TENSE but it was at least less explosive. Sort of. Then they told me I was two rides out and what the hell. Might as well use the classes I paid for.
yay schooling show
I kinda planned on just making C get his stupid bay ass into the show ring and down centerline and then retiring after the salute. My trainer (bless her) kindly led us past the horse-eating judges booth and down the scary long side. The judge whistled us to start, and well, it seemed easier to try and do a pattern to get him to focus than try to leave the arena without our trainer leading us.

It was bad. The judge knocked us hard for TENSION and LACK OF SUPPLENESS and I forget. Not being forward? But hey! If we went forward, we were leaving (tried that already), so we just tried to make two calm-ish positive-ish experiences out of what was otherwise a trainwreck.
somehow Alyssa made a good picture out of it
I guess it sort of worked--I stayed on, we stayed in the arena, and I did ride the prescribed pattern. Sort of. We didn't actually do any lengthenings until the last trot diagonal in first two and even that was more like "allowing working trot" than a lengthening per se. Also the judge was not impressed with our impersonation of a giraffe doing free walk, but we kept all four hooves on the ground.

She was critical of everything, which stings because I know it was deserved. More so because there was nothing I could do about it. I made the best of a bad situation and it can never be our first level debut again.
once was enough
I liked that I kept breathing and kept riding and kept making choices to help C keep his brain in his head. I liked that once I was able to get on, his brain never fully left his head. I liked that he got on the trailer to leave.

I liked that we didn't bolt. This is actually big--the horse I had last year would have used any of these components as an excuse, given me a big ol' middle finger, and exited stage left. HARD. We didn't do that this year. Even when he declined to lengthen his trot, it was rideable.

Our scores were as expected--57 and 59. We actually got no 4s and one 7, so I guess that's nice too.
twice. she led us in twice.
I don't really know how to wrap this up. The show sucked, I drank a lot Sunday night, I'm sorely disappointed, and we're definitely not showing recognized any time in the near future.

The good news is I didn't get launched off my horse and have a shattered wrist and compound fracture in my leg. Nothing like a little perspective, eh? 
also this dorky cat makes me laugh

38 comments:

  1. UGH. So frustrating. I'm sorry the show didn't go better :(

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  2. I'm just going say damn girl if you can get close to 60 with a train wreck ride imagine what will happen when he shows up to play.

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  3. You got through it! Next time will be better - it's a long road with these difficult horses. A year ago you would not have been able to do what you did!

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  4. So frustrating, but he stayed in control which is great! Sounds like a horse you can work with and build up into something a little more relaxed and supple. Hopefully more schooling shows for you in the future?

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  5. Oh man, rough show. But like you said, "I made the best of a bad situation and it can never be our first level debut again." You did just that. But I understand how frustrating it must have been.

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  6. Sorry to hear it wasn't a better experience, but sounds like you did well with what you had.

    Ditto to EventingSaddlebredStyle, you KNOW that you and Courage can put in a much better test, so that says great things about your potential future scores.

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  7. That's really disappointing day 2 didnt yeild a better experience. Next time! Next time!

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  8. I'm so sorry that he declined to play. Hugs. :(

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  9. While I 100% understand your frustration, the things you mentioned focusing on the positive do seem like actual huge improvements. It still sucks that he wasn't more willing to play along though.

    The kitty is freaking adorable!

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  10. I would have sold him for dog food right now. Obviously that's a dark joke though... so no one call me a heartless animal abuser please. I'm mostly sorry you didn't have fun, but am glad that you didn't shatter any bones.

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    1. My trainer asked what my plan was. I said alpo.

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  11. You made the best of a bad situation, you didn't get any 4s, he didn't bolt, and you improved on your day 1 mistakes. These are all super awesome things.
    But he still didn't want to play and none of the above make that feel any better :( Hugs.

    Super cute kitty!

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  12. 57% and 59% for your first time out at 1st Level at a Recognized show is really good, don't sell yourself short! He's young and inexperienced at dressage shows, this is going to happen. You will eventually figure out a better warm up plan for the two of you, but that comes with time and experience!

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    1. ;-) not a recognized show. Just a schooling show with nice ribbons.

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  13. I'm sorry it didn't go super well! Hang in there though, for an awful test you didn't score super awful! I'm sure he'll figure it out once you trailer to more venues.

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  14. At least you braided for a schooling show? props

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  15. Good job for making the best out of a frustrating situation! My current goal at schooling shows is "Don't Fall Off", and I nearly had to change that goal during the warm-up at the last show!

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  16. You made it through. You rode it out even when you didn't want to. And despite how you feel right now your horse learned. Nice job.

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  17. Things will get better. OK, for the dozenth time...have you tried treating him for ulcers or eliminated that possibility. I know I am harping on this but his sudden explosions and anxiety could well be related. Made a huge difference when I treated my erratic boy. You don't need a vet scoping. Just trying the meds...ratinidine for a short check, omeprazole for treatment as it takes longer to take effect.

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  18. It seems like thoroughbreds always work up, not down. I gave up lunging them a long time ago, now I take the "outsmart and keep very busy" approach. Sorry that you feel a bit let down, but good on you for sticking it out and giving it a shot. All things considered, the scores are not bad.

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    1. I tend to agree with you, which is why lunging is a last resort/worst case scenario option that I only pull out when I don't have any other options.

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  19. He's going to take some time to figure out. And it sounds like he's going to need a lot of miles. My advice is to get him to as many shows as you can tag along to, even if you have no plans to show. Just get him there, teach him that it's no big deal. You'll get there, you have already proven how much patience you have for this little horse. And on his good days he's proven that he's worth it.

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    1. I was going to suggest this as well. Tagging along to as many shows as possible and just paying the schooling fee is a great way to get some experience off property.

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  20. But just think, next year you will look back on this blog post and laugh! And say "Damn, we've come so far."

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  21. He's just holding out a little so that at your next show when he lets everyone see what an awesome dressage horse he really is they will be that much more in awe of him :)

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  22. At least you'll be saving money on entry fees not doing recognized soon? Small wins?

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    1. Yeah not sad about that. Recognized was going to be $$$.

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  23. How confusing that it sounds like he was more anxious on the 2nd day. I think Marissa's suggestion was a good one. Showing is a practiced skill, just like many other things.

    This may not be a popular suggestion, but have you considered using Perfect Prep? Just to take the edge off and help him keep his brain in his skull while he's learning his job.

    I'm sorry this was such a different experience than the schooling show you went to in April where he really showed up for you.

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  24. Horses man. That's rough, but good on you for sticking it out and not letting your horse intimidate you (too much). Hopefully he'll get better at this job, and if nothing else I bet you're learning useful skills.

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  25. Ugh, so much sympathies. The second dressage test I ever rode, the mare I was on lost her ever-loving mind at the sight of the trailer where the judge was. We eventually made it to X, at which point she was NOT going farther.

    To make it better, I misheard the judge and thought she said we could leave the ring and try it again later. So we did. And, well, oops, that was a DQ. The second try, which the judge generously scored for us anyway, we managed to make it to C, kind of half-passed along the rail to the long side - this was what was Green as Grass test B at the time, and I think it's Intro B these days? - and gave me a super-energetic trot every time she could flee the horse-eating monster, but hey, we made it through that time...

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  26. Aw, bad pony. At least you stayed on and nobody got hurt, so that is a win! Our first couple of shows when I first got Sydney were much of the same, and I just wanted to pack up my toys and go home so bad. But my instructor made me stick with it, and I am kind of glad that I did. It will get better!

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  27. I'm very curious (because I don't think you've mentioned it in a post before) but what a day in the life of Courage is like? Feed, turnout, riding etc? And I wonder how much of those things may play into his shenanigans.

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  28. thank god for schooling shows. good job making it happen even if it felt somewhat miserable.

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  29. Oh no. sorry to hear it didn't go as planned

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  30. I agree with Karen- you'll be reading this post in a year and laughing! Chin up girl- you guys looked fab anyway!

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  31. It's all in the perspective really. My goal for our first schooling show at the end of May is not to die. To me, it seems like you had a huge success :)

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