“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” ~ Maya Angelou
Last weekend I went to another show down in Katy at Great Southwest Equestrian Center. Things went really well! The jumping classes were the best Chance has ever been at a show! We showed in the schooling hunter – a step down from what we attempted the last time we were at GSWEC. Chance schooled well on Friday, besides spooking at one jump. In his defense, the jump was a single off of an awkward turn and the paint was shiny. Thus, it was a fairly spooky jump, and many other horses spooked at it too. Saturday morning, we schooled around the jumps again before the class started and I went first. The first class started at the spooky jump, of course. He stopped at it… On my third try, I managed to get him over it. I then rode pretty tough throughout the rest of the course to avoid more refusals, so it was a little ugly – but not horrendous. The second and third classes were great though! They were the smoothest rounds I have ever had on this horse. He was quiet, and there were no major mistakes. We got down the lines a little fast, but the jumps were pretty small for him and he has such a huge step that he just ate them up (good problem to have though when he starts jumping bigger ;D). He ended up 5th in the second hunter class, and 4th in the third. Not too shabby, considering the last time we were there we stopped out of every class… Our jumping classes were good on Sunday as well. A couple of deep distances, but overall good! This show was such a huge improvement; Chance really was very good, and I actually felt like my old self. Calm, relaxed, had fun. That is how I used to feel at horse shows, instead of the ball of nerves I have been recently. Hopefully, I am past that because I really do love to compete.
The only negative about last weekend was our flat classes – which is funny because Chance normally is very good in flat classes. However, they were much larger than he is used to, and he was not feeling it. On Saturday, I tried to hack him in one of the indoor schooling rings before the flat, and he nearly bucked me off! I am not sure what happened; he either spooked at something, or a horse came up behind him. I then hacked him in an outdoor ring and he settled. He still was a little frisky in the flat; not terrible, but too feisty for a ribbon. Sunday, on the other hand, was a different story. Rather than getting a little too fast in the flat, he decided to take off bucking and continue bucking even after I excused myself from the ring! Luckily, I stayed on and did not have to deal with chasing him around the show grounds. I am not sure what got into him. There were about fourteen horses in the ring which is way more than he is used to. Also, there were several mares and Chance often forgets that he is a gelding… I think with the combination of those two issues and being hot and tired, he was just over it. Honestly, I am OK with bad flat classes when his jumping classes were so good. And large flat classes are always tricky, especially on a not-so-quiet horse. I used to have a super talented horse that absolutely hated flat classes. He would literally run away with me during them. I do not know how many times I was kicked out of the ring, or had to excuse myself. Personally, I think that more horse shows should split them when they get to a certain number of horses. I think that Chance will get used to them, though. He really has not had a vast number of experiences in his life, so it will just take time for him to get used to being a show horse.
All in all, we had a great show last weekend. Chance improved immensely, and I was not a nervous disaster! And most importantly, it was a lot of fun 🙂