With only a couple of weeks of western experience under our belt, I knew going into Sunday that Ezhno and I were going to come out of it without ribbons. We managed to get him trained up enough for a transition bit by the time the show hit, but we’ve been focused on keeping his head down and his pace consistent, so… well, he’s a #goodboy, but he’s not very slow and it doesn’t help that I didn’t have a hat (though I did go buy a scarf and a very comfortable hairnet from The Hat Lady)!
Our first class (#322, OTAB Walk/Trot Horsemanship All Ages) was scheduled right after a bunch of driving classes, so it was a great chance for us to go out and see how well Saturday night’s carts-are-cool lesson went. He was still nervous, for sure, but he walked properly past them—MASSIVE improvement!
Trainer A hopped aboard for a quick school (she looked super funny riding in my stirrup length with her long legs, like a jockey!), then passed him over to me.
We warmed up for our class by practicing the individual elements of the pattern: walk to jog, jog to halt, turn on the haunches, halt to trot, backing up, etc. There were cones set up in the outdoor arena, so we even practiced the pattern all the way through a couple of times! We got to the point where he was really knocking it out of the park (at least to the best of his current abilities), then we lingered in the shade while we waited for them to finish dragging the arena.
Of course, when we went in to do our pattern everything fell apart, LOL. We lurched off of the straight path, stumbled into our halts, didn’t really plant for our haunch turn, and backed super crooked… but, to be fair, neither Ezhno nor I are experienced enough to perform in the main arena just like we do while we’re practicing, I get super nervous and the change in environment throws him off. More experience needed!
After we were done I untacked and gave Ezhno a break while I watched classes, then came back for him a while later for class #341, OTAB Walk/Trot Pleasure All Ages/Types. I had no doubt that the pleasure class was going to be laughable, but it was even more comedic when I faux-jogged him into the arena and realized just how many horses were in our class.
Apparently everyone and their brother decided to use the OTAB walk/trot class as a warm up (can’t blame them, the OTAB classes were way cheaper than the Pinto classes!), so any chance we had to snag a ribbon flew right out the window. The super full arena also made it really hard to hide the fact that Ezhno’s jog clocks in at Mach 10. We had to pass a horse and then we never really found a place on the wall again. Pretty sure Ez thought it was a race and was super proud of himself. 😀
Personally, I was just super happy to get to take my chaps off and put a tank top on, because ☀☀☀
I took a few minutes to organize some of my stuff and throw a few things into my truck (after I untacked Ezhno, topped off his water buckets, and shared an apple with him, of course), then spent the rest of my time at the show grounds watching the rest of the pleasure classes, the discipline rail classes (one of which Trainer A rode Midas in, the GIF to the left is them walking to the main arena!), and the ideal Pinto classes.
The ideal classes were very interesting! It started out like a pleasure class, then all of the riders dismounted, a whistle blew, and grooms ran in to untack and spiffy up the horses for the halter portion of the judging. Unfortunately, a few of the competitors from my barn got DQ’d from the ideal Pinto classes when their grooms came in wearing tank tops (apparently they have to wear long sleeves, go figure!). 🙁
All in all, it was a super fun (and educational) weekend! We were definitely outclassed by the competition, but we went into it expecting to get trounced, so no loss there. We’ve got a lot to work on in the next few months, but there’s a good chance we’ll tackle another one of these shows in the early fall if I feel like we’ve made good progress. 🙂 🙂 🙂