September 11, 2013

Look ma, I'm a show horse

I didn't wait long before putting Bunny back on the trailer for another new experience. This time it was to go to his first horse show. My student Riley was showing her pony Sporty at Horse On Course on Sunday so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to take Bunny along for the ride. I entered Bunny in an Intro class, but the scheduled time was so early that I scratched. My plan instead was to just school in between coaching Riley. As luck would have it, there was an opening in an afternoon class and I was able to plug Bunny into that slot for an Introductory B test. He was really well behaved handwalking around the facility, but did get a little up when it was time to lunge. I got him to a good point and then felt that it was best to just get on him and go to work. Bunny, much like Audi, seems to find comfort in being ridden. It's as if they are more secure when I'm on them than when I'm just a ground person. I like this quality and feel as though it signifies that the training I'm doing is successful since my goal is to have my horses look to me for guidance when they're feeling insecure. Bunny felt great under saddle and worked comfortably around the warmup ring with the traffic of another horse. He walked into the show ring, never having seen something like this before, and was fantastic. He did question why the judge was sitting where she was and under a tent no less, but aside from that he seemed to be pretty ok with everything. When I started to trot down centerline I felt a smile come across my face, I couldn't believe I was actually taking a horse that I backed only several months ago to his first show already! It was a fun way to head into the winter since my goal is to compete Bunny next year. I like that I have a sense for what to expect and can be prepared for 2014 with more confidence about how he will handle the show environment.

The icing on the cake was coaching Riley for her two Training Level tests. She rode beautifully and made major improvements from the previous show. Riley and Sporty have been working on improving the balance in the right lead canter work, it's just the weaker direction for them, but in the test it was wonderful. So wonderful that I got goosebumps! It was fun to see Riley managing Sporty throughout both tests, continuing to adjust and ride each movement. I was a proud coach!

Souvenirs from Bunny's first show

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