Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Blast from the past: February 2013

Cowboy and I had our first little show together last weekend at Iron Horse Equestrian Center! I has been raining the entire previous week so everything was a bit muddy. First off, Canadian hunter shows are a little different than the American shows I’m used to, and I put my foot in my mouth a few times. The format isn’t like the typical two day format down south, instead they run the entire division on one day. This means a lot of people just show off the trailer and just come for a morning or afternoon, which is what we did to show in the Adults on Sunday. Why are you showing in the Adults? Aren’t you a junior? Apparently I’ve gotten caught between countries, as the cutoff age date in Canada is January 1st whereas in the States for USEF its December 1st. That makes me seventeen in the states and eighteen up here! It felt pretty out of context to be showing with a bunch of adults instead of my teenaged crowd, but they still had quite a bit of competition! I was informed that with some of these earlier (March, April) ‘C’ shows the people that didn’t go to Florida for the winter circuit use these shows as warm ups (It’s really too cold outside until the beginning of May to host the big outdoor shows). As a result, there were many quality horses with great riders putting in some great rounds, and the adult section was pretty large. Probably the strangest thing is show they braid, even at their ‘C’ equivalent shows, called Trillium, and not doing so is a big faux pas. All thirty horses in my division were braided without exception!  In the flat classes, when changing directions I quickly discovered that up here they reverse the opposite way! I stuck out like a sore thumb when out of thirty horses I was the only one turning to the inside and as a result I got more than a few strange looks. Luckily to save the embarrassment of Cow and my trainers I made sure to reverse the proper way in the under saddle. I found that the show had much better sponsorship even compared to ‘A’ shows down south and as a result there were fun little samples of a variety of products with each ribbon. The high point trainers had nice prizes including a free soft stall system installation (which is decently expensive!). There were champion coolers for each division, which made me pouty because even when I was champion at ‘AA’ shows down south in rated divisions I didn’t get a cooler! Despite the poutiness, I was impressed at how active the equestrian scene up here is. I particularly love how most people can trailer into decent show grounds without trailering upwards of two hours like we do down south just to get to Aiken or Camden. This allows for people to trailer in just for the day and means many people don’t have to get hotel rooms for a weekend of showing.

On the outdoor/ indoor show debate up here, I think I have decided to stick to showing outdoors and having enough fresh air to breathe. In the tiny chute that comes out of a tiny warm-up ring, there was hardly enough room to turn around with all the hustle and bustle and I was hardly able to hear my trainers over the cacophony of the spectators and announcers. I felt really overwhelmed, particularly when I first entered the chute, which looks like a subterranean tunnel. Cowboy however was the rock, and stood calmly in the chaos of trainers, horses and grooms dashing around us. Thank goodness at least one of us knew what was going on! I became more anxious as we moved up the shoot and my first glimpse of the ring came into sight. In my anxiety I started worry about Cow stopping, I mean we hadn’t schooled the course, I hadn’t even seen the course! I took my usual deep breathe in right before entering the ring, and trotted in. Considering the size of most indoor arenas, this would be considered a decent size, enough to have a six stride line down the outside with tight corners. The course went by in a slight daze and light-headedness, but we survived! I pulled into most of the lines and had to ride out a bit long but not too bad. Cow was spooking off the boards a bit so it made the corners hard, but he was on his best behavior. We haven’t even schooled over a 3ft course together, and my last 3’6” course was last June! However, height doesn’t bother me most of the time, and I actually think it helps my riding because I know I need to be confident and smooth instead of second guessing myself. Second course, much better! Had a swap before a long run oxer on Cow’s bad side. Third course, even better than the second but had another swap in a line. My adult equitation trip was really smooth but in my mind we almost hit a standard! Cow had fixed his cute little eyes and ears on the jump down the line, so my too subtle cues didn’t register until right before the last chance turn inside! It turned out really well though. Out of 30 in the class, 1st Adult Hunter 9th, 2nd Ault Hunter 5th, Adult Equitation 5th. Not bad! If I could stop him from swapping I think we would have been probably top three in the adults. The equitation, I just need to work on sitting up straight, closing my fingers and being smooth. We jogged for ribbons (another Canada thing!) and Cow thought it would be funny to literally grab both reins in his mouth and drag me across the ring! Not so funny when I’m 5’2” 130lbs and he is a big bodied 16.2! I was able to aim him at a standard and stop him before we had a Cow running about the ring while horses where lining up to jog. We hacked equitation (no ribbon, no surprise), and under saddled (I thought we should have pinned, he is pretty darn cute!) but with 30 in the tiny ring hacking I couldn’t have seen all the good movers. Overall fantastic! Cow was selected for random drug testing (another Canada thing on the ‘C’ circuit) and his habit of peeing immediately after removing the saddle came in handy! We were off back to the trailer to take out his itchy braiders and feed him the treats I got with my ribbons. Wrapped him up when we got home and went to bed, back sore and leg tired. I’m so happy with Cow and I and wish we had more time together!

Our second adult hunter can be seen here.
If you watch in HD the quality is much better!

Pony tax, Rio Cowboy

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