Monday, June 6, 2016

Horse Show Hungover

Things with Courage have been rough lately. Not fun. Not easy. Not pleasant. I'm working my tail end off and doing the best I know how, but for me, this has to be fun. It's not. 
pictured: people who jump
I mentioned we were signed up to do a dressage test at the event derby this past weekend. They only have the small arena set up, so we dropped down to training level. I spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning auditing the Karen O'Connor clinic at the show facility, then skipped out at the lunch break to ride my own beastie.

It was bad.

Like. Bolting. Leaping. Tension. Had to get off and lunge and watch a massive flailing meltdown for quite a while, and even when I did get back on, it took a long time to get a right lead canter without bucking. It wasn't pretty or good or fun.
this outfit needs polos

Not gonna lie--I had to very seriously ask why I was even bothering. I've been at it almost three years with this horse and that day, he felt less broke than he did a year ago.

Then I went back to the clinic and watched good friends have horrible rides and good friends have great rides.

And I realized that no matter what horse I have and how good (or bad) I am, I only have what the horse can give me on any given day. Bad days happen. They're part of the process.

And either I can deal with that or I need to walk away, because that's the reality of horses.
look who's not terrified!
So on that positive note, we headed off to the show Sunday morning. Courage loaded and unloaded like a champ. He wasn't an idiot when we got there, and when I got on, he was the calmest and most relaxed he's been in weeks. I got on well over an hour early just in case. Didn't need it--I trotted him around for 5 minutes before our test and had a relaxed, rideable horse.
can't argue with that halt
I mean, don't get me wrong: it wasn't brilliant. It wasn't amazing. I didn't push him for much. It was the hottest day of the year so far and I certainly wasn't killing it with my rider score.

But given our last outing or even our last ride, I was ELATED that I didn't need to hit the panic button. I didn't even want to. He felt comfortable.
i said comfortable, not brilliant
It was a schooling test of choice with no ribbons or competition, so I did make the call to ride in a standing martingale with the judge's permission--Courage does not need help learning that he can blow up and leave when we go away from home. I used the neckstrap a couple times just to give myself some security to and from warm up, but otherwise he never hit it.

Our score was fine--a 61 and change for a conservative ride. There's even video if you're super bored. The competitive side of me is really disappointed in us because I know we can do so much better. The horse trainer side is absolutely stoked for one more calm, positive experience in the ring for a horse that is still learning his new job.
All in all, I'm pleased. It was exactly the outing we needed. I'm seriously tempted to see if I can wiggle in to the next show in two weeks and move us back to first level, but there are a lot of variables to consider before I jump on that plan.
sexy face while making plans
Oh and PS you can all thank Redheadlins for the video, Alyssa will have pictures in the near future (or possibly already, but I'm writing this Sunday and then I'm DONE) and we had a fun meetup with fellow #teamidaho blogger Nadia, but I utterly failed in the friend selfie department. 


  1. What a good boy! I watched it, and loved how you could see your sparkles glimmering in the sunlight. And also how quiet and on his game Courage was. Congratulations!

  2. So glad that Courage was good at the show! You guys look really good... and if even I can see improvement, then you've REALLY improved, hah

  3. *Batman voice* That might not be the test you want right now, but that's the test he needs.

  4. This made me super happy to read :) yay Courage! (And you of course!)

  5. i am glad you had a nice quiet ride in the show. I have been following you for a few months now and really have to give you kudos for hanging in there. My guy is having some issues (but nothing like Courage) so you help me feel a LOT better about my lot in life!! But i think you look great (and brilliance can come later) and kudos to you for getting on as well (after the day before ride) HA. PS love #equestrianbatman :)

  6. yassss i'd give that weekend a big old "Mission Accomplished" label :D

  7. I totally get it about being tired of the shenanigans. However, I think you should be thrilled with the quiet/calm test. That's what I'm aiming for.

  8. Sorry he's been difficult lately, but happy you had a positive outing!

  9. Your patience and ability to think positively is inspiring.

  10. yo some days they're horrible for no discernible reason and then turn around and are amazing. Been there done that 100 times

  11. At this point, I might give my right eye for a test that relaxed and lovely to watch. Seriously, that is a LOVELY test!

  12. It was so fun seeing you and hanging out AND getting to see you and Courage have such a lovely ride together!! Don't beat yourself up. Had you pushed for more and gotten too much, you'd be upset. This seemed like a great confidence building ride. And you scored an 8 on a movement and I can attest they weren't being handed out willy nilly!


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