Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Festival of the Horse

4am is still dark outside, and on a Sunday most rational people are sleeping. But it's a show day and I am wide awake several minutes before the alarm goes off. I put on my sparkling white outfit, makeup and shlack my hair down with more hairspray than one person should ever use. Then I am out the door and driving down deserted streets to the barn.

I wake the horses from their sleep as I walk down the barn aisle and have to drag Figaro out of his stall to be braided. I think he is still asleep. I watch the sun rise out of the mountains as I finish braiding his forelock. Janet shows up with coffee and breakfast, I eat while her husband Richard brings the trailer around. Then everyone is in the trailer and we are headed for LAEC. I review my tests and notes about my warm up as we drive. This will be my first show on Figaro this year, and I am stoked. In no time at all we have arrived, I am mounted and we are headed for the warm up.

He is tense but we start working through our exercises and he begins to concentrate. A scratch ahead of me sends us into the Equidome early. I can feel his tension come back as we walk down the hill into the arena. So I repeat the exercises we have already done to get his focus back, it works wonderfully and then it's our time and we trot into the arena.

The test starts well, he is tense but listening. Then comes the canter, it starts well and then he doesn't want to step under my outside seat bone. So instead he breaks and backs off my leg. I breath sit down deep and tap him with my leg till we are back on track. The rest of the test switches between good moments and extrema disobedience. We finish strong and I get a comment about the test being tactfully ridden. Back to the warm up to work out some kinks and then a water and snack break before my next test.

The second warm up goes even better, and I realize quickly I don't need as much time as I planned. Luckily there are some more scratches and we can go early. As soon as the person before us halts, we are ready. This test is much better, not one disobedient moment, but he is tired. Everything is very accurate and smooth. He just doesn't have enough energy to really push for the lengthenings or to drive his poll up or open his throat latch. We improve over our first score by almost 10% points and I am thrilled.

Showing a young horse is not always easy but I couldn't be more please with how he focused in the second test. There is a lot from this show that will affect future warm ups, but I look at every day as a chance to learn something and improve for the next time out. I can't wait for our next show.

A big THANK YOU to Janet and Richard Kurtosik for being such wonderful clients and so supportive. :) Couldn't have done it without you guys.

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