Ok, it’s not Sunday, it’s Monday. What an amazing Sunday it was. It was the first horse show held at our barn. It was an in house show where all of my trainers students competed. There were children and adult classes. Several weeks ago I made the bold decision to not only ride Alfie in the show but also Martini. Go big or go home!
The classes I was doing with Alfie included an in hand demonstration, and the adult walk class.
Entering Alfie in the in hand classes has always been hit or miss. Usually his behavior is such that no matter how well I do with him practicing the routine and especially standing still he is usually anxious, fidgety, or down right rude. Today…he was none of that. He was perfect. In fact, he was so relaxed he actually fell asleep during it.😂
We ended up taking first and second in the in hand class. My first Blue ribbon win with him.
Next it was the adult walk. The adult walk was comprised of 4 classes, equitation, pleasure, poles and obstacles. The equitation is judged on the rider, how the riders position is, how well the rider communicates with the horse. Alfie was perfect for this. We won first place in this class. Then came the pleasure…
So the pleasure class is judged on the horse. It’s their time to shine, the winner of the pleasure class is the horse that the judge would want to ride. Well, Alfie apparently only wants ME to ride him because he broke out every obstinate action he could. Let’s start with refusing to move…throw in some head tossing for dramatic effect…and of course his ceremonial bathroom break…and of course, I couldn’t curse, or yell, because people were watching – a lot of people, so I laughed on the inside and politely tapped him with my stick of influence and we continued. We took 2nd in that class.👍🏻
The next class was the poles class. Again, let’s just be stubborn Alfie lol. He firmly planted his feet in the ground and didn’t want to complete the opening circle…another polite tap and he was much better. We did well with that class but took 2nd because of his statue impression in the beginning.
The obstacle class he did well with, and we took first in it. He had to step over some poles and then weave in and out of a pattern of cones.
There wasn’t much of a break between my rides with Alfie and getting on Martini. I quickly untacked Alfie and got myself on Martini.
The classes with Martini were the same as with Alfie except there was trotting involved. My final ribbons with Martini were 2 first place, one third place and one fourth place. I know I won first for the equitation and I think for the pleasure. The poles and the obstacle I did very well with but he broke several times at the trot and getting him going again was a challenge for my tired legs. At one point when we were trotting and I felt him slowing I tapped him with my stick of influence and he gave a little crow hop which is a precursor to a buck to which I quietly told him to “shove it.” Lol.
This show was the culmination of countless hours of hard work. First with Alfie. This was not my first horse show with him, this was my 5th show with him in 4 1/2 years. The first 2 shows were at our old barn. The other 2 were local town shows, and then this one. In all the shows with him, we’ve always done really well, but never well enough to win 1st place…and we didn’t win it just once, we did it 3 times. Alfie has gone from a western horse into a dressage horse in just under 2 years. Oh and so have I lol. I remember the first time I sat in a dressage saddle and didn’t have a horn to hold on to that is found on the western saddles. I sad to my trainer where is the “oh s*it handle”? But there isn’t one. The “oh s*it handle in a dressage saddle is you. It’s your seat, your legs, your feet and your core. There’s nothing to rest your hands on, your upper body strength keeps your hands balanced just above the horses withers. There’s no way to “cheat” in a dressage saddle.
And Martini. This horse has taught me so much in such a short period of time. I got on him with such confidence and ability I even impressed my husband. My husband who is my biggest fan, saw me ride Martini for the first time. When I was done all he could do was smile and he said, “damn you can really ride.” I told him I know right?! I really know what I’m doing!
As my tired legs recoup from the show, my heart is full with pride and joy and a feeling of accomplishment. ❤️🐴