Annie’s first horse show experience was a busy one! I drove to the horse show with another one of NT’s clients and because she is a college student we got a late start on the drive due to an exam schedule. On the bright side this meant that we dealt with very limited traffic and Annie hauled like a champ.
The main goal for this weekend was to let Annie see the happenings of a show with no pressure. If we thought she could handle it she would go in some classes and if not she wouldn’t.
The not so bright side was that I was up for over 36 hours and was basically a zombie come Friday night. We arrived at the show grounds at about 5am and after I got Annie settled in and dropped my travel buddy off I went back to the barns to give Annie a bath. I was in the weird so tired all I need is sleep but can’t sleep because my mind was running a million miles a minute.
Friday was the day of letting Annie see all of the things. We started with a short lunge so that she could stretch her legs and get her willies out. She was very well behaved and handled all of the traffic and loud speakers very well. We brought her out into the schooling rings later in the day and that was pretty overwhelming to her. I was very proud of how Annie acted and how hard she tried. She jumped in and out of a couple of lines and discovered that ponies aren’t terrible horse eating creatures.
I ended up riding Annie very briefly at the end of her training ride and we were able to take advantage of a quieter schooling area.
On Saturday Tracy (FlyOnOver) and her husband Sam came down to Wilmington to hang out. It was great to see her and catch up – the last time we saw each other was at Rolex a couple of years ago. Sonny enjoyed the extra attention too!
After Tracy and Sam left Annie got to go for a lunge and hand walk. Robert’s didn’t have very good lunging areas blocked off (IMO) and after she was lunged a bit NT ended up taking her to park out in the schooling ring anticipating that someone would say he wasn’t allowed. I think that this was one of the better training moments for Annie because she got to stand in the ring and just absorb all of the riders and horses passing her from all directions.
For Saturday’s ride Annie was a little more full of herself and honestly a bit tired I think. She was still trying very hard to be good but it was definitely a shorter ride. After she happily plopped over a “scary” brush jump and worked over a simple cross rail in the warmup area she was finished. I opted not to get on her after NT schooled just because I wanted to make sure she could end on a positive note which might not have happened if we continued working.
On Sunday I spent a lot of the morning organizing all of my stuff and packing up. After we got all packed up Annie and I went on a big hand walk where she once again got to see everything. We didn’t lunge because I felt like she was relaxed and happy and lunging her when she doesn’t need it is a waste. NT got on to her and there wasn’t really a good space for him to ride her or teach me. She was feeling a little more comfortable and kept trying to play with horses that passed her in the arena which made for quite the show. After she put her thinking hat on she was good to go and behaved quite well. Once again I did not get on her but was very happy with the outcome.We survived our first horse show! We didn’t compete and I only rode her once but I would still see it as a success. I had a lot of fun and I can’t want to get Annie out to the next show which will definitely be a local schooling show (probably one in 2 weeks!).
While I obviously wish that I had gotten more saddle time I also think that it was a great decision to have NT ride her as much as he did because he was able to be the confident rider she needed. I probably would have been a nervous freak and I am much happier that Annie was able to get positive experiences.
Next on the calendar is a local show in 2 weeks! Even if it’s just to school I can’t wait!