Overcoming Obstacles in Our Way
Show report split due to superabundance of media. TLDR. Best he’s ever adjusted at a new place. Delighted how well he applied himself, particularly since he is playing against type. I think we will all agree that Thoroughbreds are not the usual choice for obstacle competition.
In-Hand. 5th of 11 or so, score of 79 out of 100. Up from 44 last time [Pink Is His Color].
Novice. 0 of 10/11, score of 72.5 out of 100. First time in a ridden obstacle class.
Third show (!), third pink.
I worried about looking stupid. I had English boots and a 17-hand horse. We were clearly a petunia among daffodils. I was concerned that we would perform so badly people would stare and wonder, ‘What is SHE doing here?!’ Sigh. Someday I would like to get back to doing things with horses without stressing beforehand.
But that’s my mental issues. Rodney had a firm hold on his head space. As it turned out, there was a lot of nope, not today, what were you thinking? comments from the horse, but no hissy fits or hysteria.
Ground crew felt the only way I would incur social approbation would be to yank the horse about &/or yell at him. Everything else is schooling & having fun.
It occurred to me that I might choke up on the bat out of excitement, giving the false impression that I needed to keep a tight hold. When I could, I demonstrated/exaggerated that Rodney goes on a loose lead and rein. Much better approach/departure scores. Or a higher scoring judges. The world may never know.
In we go. (I know some of the pictures aren’t great, but I think my horse is adorable, so you’re stuck with them in all their blurry glory.)
1. Z back
Walked in. Backed out. A touch of pilot error.
Taking a few extra back steps to set us up for a spiffy turn to the weave poles. Or at least, that was the theory.
2. Trot weave poles
As I suspected, he did just fine with these. The only problem was a bit of engine stall at the 3/4 mark. I’ll take slowing down over traumatized racing about.
3. Enter box yield hindquarters 360
4. Send at trot over poles at markers
Box was big enough, but I had trouble figuring where to put the turn on the forehand with the cone in the way. I would have said I did better job with the weave poles than here but they scored the same.
It did not help that he became utterly fixated on a car in the driveway. Someone had parked halfway down and set up a chair to watch the festivities. He kept spinning around to look at it. None of the obstacles. A car.
Egad, a motorcar!
The course walk had the horse trot in, turn 90o, trot out, while the rider stood outside the box. I knew that maneuver would involve heaving him around the corner. How much interpretation were we allowed in the obstacles? Trotting straight through would be a piece of cake. Or should I do the exercise as presented? I was still undecided when the person before me (who ultimately won) trotted the two poles in a straight line the other direction. Sold.
5. Spooky hay ring
Nope. Walked right up to it. Stood. Gave an excellent impression of a rock. Not happening. Since it was the last obstacle in the section, I uselessly fiddled until they called time.
6. Trot into haunted hay maze halt in center then walk a figure 8
Pulled up from the trot a bit early to look at the decorations. Which goes to show that horses will look at something at a show that they might not give the time of day at home.
What a good boy.
7. side pass pole either direction
Mushy the first time. Did it again better.
8. Haunted car wash. Halt in front say trick or treat walk though
The wind was blowing the curtains apart. Walked right through.
9. Open gate send through yield hindquarters close gate
Opened gate. Told him, ‘In you get.’ Walked through ahead of me. Told him, ‘Spin around,’ Walked through myself. Closed gate.
10. Let horse bob for apples.
Stood near water. Looked at apples. Never got the plot. Again, kept trying until time ran out.
I think – I’m guessing here – that it is more than simply performing the exercises correctly. A really high scoring round has the horse waiting and attentively watching the rider for direction. Think Border Collie. Rodney is more well-meaning but mildly goofy Labrador at the moment. At least he’s not Basset Hound, who wanders off with ‘Oh, interesting smell. Catch you on the flip side.’
I enjoyed the “Nice Jumps” comment!
Note. I reported the addition error. The nines should have been a tip-off to me even without doing math. Show management said my results stand. I’m glad. I think it’s cute that Rodney is on a pink streak. Plus, I could not face redoing all of the photo borders. In the future, I will use a less variable referent, such as a farm or association logo, which is what I usually use.
Tomorrow, the novice class, our obstacle debut.
Thank you for reading,