The Gray Wonder
Schooling Show (Hunter/Jumper)
El Gezira Riding Academy
Harpersville, AL, USA
Saturday, June 8, 2019
A surprise horse show experience! Milton’s first h/j show. My first in over a decade.
Change of Plans
A rainy Saturday morning put our scheduled schooling in jeopardy. So, while the horses digested their breakfast, we went over to check out a local show. We had been to the farm many times with Previous Horse, but that was years ago. We wanted to make sure they hadn’t added an alligator-filled moat around the arena.
The show was small. The atmosphere was relaxed. The weather was gorgeous. The ground was squishy. Since the show was just around the block – or 15 miles, out here, that qualifies as around the corner – might as well go back and get Milton. Standing around the show was going to be the best use of the day.
We arrived. Milton lunged. I got on. We stood. Walked over to warm up. Stood. Walked back to the side of the ring. Stood. I got off to give my knees a break. A brief rain squall sent us all scurrying into the covered arena to wait it out. Near the end of the show, I got back on. After the show, we schooled in the arena.
Report Card Minuses
– As we were tacking up to long line, Milton pulled back, broke his leadrope before I could get to him, and ran across the show grounds, bucking merrily. It was either a horse suddenly coming around the corner or a car passing on driveway. On the up side, no one wondered why we were there to school after that.
– He got fussy about standing at one point. One explanation is that he was bored/over it. Another is that the horse and rider in the ring were not having a harmonious ride. Milton does not like tension anywhere near him. If we yell at Rodney, Milton gets upset. Perhaps the horse in the ring was sending out I’m Not Happy signals. Your guess is as good as mine.
– When we were sheltering from the rain, Milton thought the rain on the tin roof was the weirdest noise he had ever heard. His run-in shed has a tin roof. Then, he took violent exception to an attack tree outside of the ring. Kinda glad I wasn’t on him at that point.
– When we were schooling, I asked for the canter. Didn’t get it. We’ve been having trouble with our canter transitions since our freestyling at Mid-South [Hanging With The Saddlebros]. It’s not just me. He’s less reliable on the longlines as well.
– Of course, part of it is me. At one point, he landed from a jumplet, cantered off, and tossed his head. I shut it down immediately, without waiting to see if it was a simple head toss or a precursor to worser.
Report Card Pluses
+ As we walked toward the mounting block, I got the sense that Milton was a) having a big time & b) trying hard to keep it together.
+ He stood excellently. He had his ears up, studying & absorbing everything around him. When I saw him looking at a trailer in the driveway, I walked him away from the trailer and over to his minion. I thanked Milton for telling me about it and letting me handle it.
+ We jumped a whole passel of little fences. We did four jumps several times each, as they deconstructed the course around us. Started with crossrails; moved up to one-foot verticals. Milton was game for it, but required much hoof holding. There was jumps here and jumps there, and people, and dogs, and piles of poles, and jumps near the rail … and … and …
stuffing encouraging a horse over low fences is a skill I’m actually good at. I once jumped George [photo] around a 3′ course, which is akin to dancing with a tractor. Milton did all his jumps. Mainly trotting. We cantered one fence that was the second in a line.
+/- He behaved admirably. I wish our victories were higher up the scale than standing at a horse show.
Update: The horse Milton objected to in the ring was the same horse he may have spooked at. At least he’s consistent. Maybe he’s a breedist.
Thank you for reading,