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Well, we survived our first licensed show. I might even venture to say we thrived, once we got past the white standard poodle that is. Every show has to have its obstacles, right? We arrived at the show around 7:30am, about a half an hour later than I was hoping. Now that we have a dog it takes extra time to finally get going in the morning. Meh. Thankfully, B cooperated pretty well in the loading process or we may not have even had the opportunity to test the recognized show waters. You never know with babies....
Anyway, once we escaped the clutches of the standard poodle we began our wander down to the outdoor warm-up ring. K, so what's the story with the poodle? I was hand walking B with his longeing gear on when he stopped dead, his eyes bugged out of his head and he snorted. You'd think I just threw him into a Lion's den. He seriously lost it. If I wasn't so rushed for time I probably would've laughed. Instead I secretly cursed the man with the poodle. We were able to get out of that situation without making too much of a scene. Just one leap backwards. One thing about having a horse that's 18 plus hands is one leap backward is enough to get the attention of quite a crowd of people.
The next obstacle in our gauntlet known as a breed show was a barely there yearling. Oh ya, super fun. This baby was leaping in the air and generally having a pretty fantastic time torturing his 12-year-old handler. All I needed was the 12-year-old to be handling the lion-poodle and I would have had a real show on my hands. We braved past the baby, baby and luckily the warm-up had a soothing feeling with only one other horse.
When I put B on the longe, I told myself, whatever tension you have in your system let it go, now. Right now. I knew that B would feed off any nerves, tension or hesitation I reserved. Right there, I let it go. He longed fantastically. Super stretchy, soft and loose. I hoped on and he felt even better. Before I knew it, we were called to the big indoor ring.
My ever-supportive and ever-adorable husband loaded all my stuff up and walked with me to our licensed debut. He is a self-proclaimed horse show pack mule. I highly recommend everyone get one.
As I entered the ring, I realized that all of these people had been in the ring warming up. Ya, didn't quite know that you could warm up in the actual show ring. Oops. There were banners, people walking around on the metal stands, crowds at every end, flash photography, videography and many other distractions. How was Mr. B? Absolutely rock solid. He glanced at the banners and perked his ears at the people, but he remained super awesome soft, loose and forward.
The challenge came when every other horse in my class was tiny. By tiny I mean under 17 hands. ha ha. Is that my bias speaking? We ended up playing the passing game for most of the class. My biggest question about riding him in a flat class was how would he be with a bunch of other horses cantering around him? How was Mr. B? Awesome. We even passed people, circled, turned in and out and he never even questioned my requests. Near the end of the class, the judge asked for a stretchy circle and B was so loose and soft already that he stretched down and out, lifting his back like dressage riders often only dream about.
The results? Third. Not great, but the judge commented that it was really close and we had the best stretchy circle by far. My real satisfaction came as I watched the video and saw this fabulously happy, soft, loose, 100% correctly trained horse that I was lucky enough to ride.