Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Horse Updates - The past few days

So...pictures are forthcoming whenever I get around to pulling them off my camera. And hopefully Other!Laura can send me the pictures she took of me riding in the York County Fair on Saturday because, obviously, I couldn't take pictures of myself while I was riding. ;)

Friday, I went back up to Gentle Giants and rode Carley. The week before, Carley and I had an...uhm... interesting ride. She was pretty worked up (still not sure why) and the entire ride was an argument of me convincing her that it really was okay to just walk around the pasture, that she really could go in the direction away from the barn, et cetera. It finally ended when I realized she was only getting herself more and more worked up and we weren't going to get anything productive done.

Friday? She was a totally different horse. We rode indoors because it was raining. I think the sound of the rain on the metal roof kinda weirded her out (though Christine said she really just likes to find "excuses" for why she can't be ridden). But once we got moving and warmed up, she did fine. She still wants to cut on one end of the arena and that's always a bit of a "discussion" to convince her to stay on the wall. It's not quite as easy to just move her over with my leg as it is with some of the school horses I'm used to. ;) I'm not actually sure if she knows "pushing over with leg" or if she thinks any application of leg means to go faster. I'll have to ask.

After riding Carley, I helped Other!Laura get Big Red ready to show on Saturday. That meant grooming and bathing. He was a good sport about it all, though. Could you blame him? Getting brushed and rubbed and petted and things. :) By the time we got to finishing the bath and combing out his tail, he was starting to get a little fed up with it all, but that pretty much translated to simply no longer wanting to stand still.

Saturday was, as previously mentioned, the York County Fair. Getting up before the crack of dawn? Not my idea of a good time. Anyway, I met Kerri (who was driving us up and riding her horse, Chessie, in the show) and Instructor!Laura at the barn at 6ish, we loaded the horses up, and off we went!

It was a little worrisome there for a bit because we didn't get up to the fair until 8:30. Our class was supposed to start at 9:00. So we're sitting there thinking, "oh crap, they're going to tell us where to unload, we're going to have to take the horses off, slap the tack on 'em and go to the ring." Luckily (sort of), the people who were running (or sponsoring or something) the show had an emergency and they pushed the start time back to 9:30. That gave us time to get the horses off, get them groomed again, get tack put on, et cetera.

The class we were in was kind of interesting. It was my first "real" show, for one. And I'd only ridden Red twice before for the other. And the class was a mix of people doing English equitation and Western Pleasure. On draft horses. I can only imagine how we must have looked from outside the ring. :) I'm still trying to figure out how one effectively judges a class like that, but that's why I'm just the rider.

It was a w/t/c class which was also going to be interesting for me. I'd never cantered Big Red and Christine had told me he didn't know the "outside leg behind the girth" cue and I'd just have to kick him with both legs to push up into the canter. Kerri wasn't sure if Chessie would canter at all. So we figured if they didn't, we'd trot them on the inside track of the ring (which is what we were told to do by the show officials). Luckily, that wasn't a problem, as they both cantered. Yay!

I figure they saw everybody else doing it and didn't want to be left out. :)

The class was made up of nine riders and they had six ribbons to give out. So when the first three riders were dismissed without ribbons, I was just crossing my fingers hoping they didn't call me out. So about the time the first three riders were dismissed and neither Kerri nor I was among them, I was already patting Red and telling him what a good boy he was. We got a ribbon! Kerri ended up with sixth (Instructor!Laura figured it was because, while Chessie cantered, she was doing so on the wrong lead) and I got fifth. Pretty darn good for my first show on a horse who, as far as I know, was his first show too. :)

After that, we had to wait around and kill time during a bunch of carriage classes before they got to the kids' under saddle class. If anyone can explain why they separated the under saddle classes, I'd be curious to figure that one out too. Anyway, other!Laura's daughter was riding Red in that class. They didn't come away with a ribbon but we kind of figured that because it was also w/t/c and daughter was expressly forbidden from cantering. Still, it made for good experience and daughter didn't seem too disappointed. I got some good pictures, if nothing else. :D

By then, it was time to grab lunch (thoroughly disappointing crab dip from a stand on the midway. But I made up for it with a very tasty frozen custard.), load the horses up, and head home.

Back at GG, I stuck around a bit to bring Sailor in and give him some attention. He'd caught his leg in the fence a few days before and had a pretty icky scrape, so I reapplied the ointment they were using on it (which he didn't seem terribly keen on letting me do, but I managed it). He also got brushed and curried and I attempted a running braid in his mane. It looked like crap but hey, first attempt! After giving him a couple of treats, I let him go back out to the pasture and headed home.

Sunday was a day for visiting the renaissance festival. I still haven't watched the joust yet this year (waaaay too hot out there with no shade, been waiting for it to cool off).

Last night, I had a lesson. Kristy said she could definitely see an improvement from my last lesson which: yay! We did have one person fall off, though. But luckily, she wasn't hurt at all. They were coming around a turn cantering and the horse she was riding dropped her shoulder and hit the brakes and off she came. Then she hopped right back on, so no harm, no foul, I suppose.

All the horses (save one) in our class seemed to be feeling their oats last night, as it were. Kristy said it was because the weekend had been so hot and icky but last night? It was nice and cool. I definitely didn't have any trouble keeping Bloom moving and when we started cantering, Kristy had me drop my crop since I didn't need it anyway. The biggest problem I had with him was keeping him on the rail, though unlike Carley, he tends to respond to leg pushing him over. :)

So that's it, if you read this far, you can have a virtual cookie!

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