Saturday brought a different can of worms. As the show was getting under way in the morning, I thought it would be good for Ben to see a bit of it- before it was in full swing. This time I grabbed the halter and lead rope and walked him down. All of the people, tents, sights, sounds, especially the announcer over the microphone - it was a lot for him to take in and he was spooky. He held it together, but I didn't feel like he was very safe to be in the company of others, as it was getting crowded and free space becoming an issue. So we went back to the barn.
I didn't know what to expect for our rides, given how uneasy he was about the crowd- but I figured I'd get out there and try - the worst that could happen is that I'd have to scratch. Saddled and bridled, we headed back down. He was much, much better. I headed for the warm up arena, and once in there, he was fine. So I got on, warmed up, and felt like he was going really well. Still a little looky- but nothing dangerous.
Our first test, Training 2, went great. A few bobbles here and there, but generally speaking, it was quite good! We went from a 55% (at our first show on June 30th) to a 64%. I felt like we used the arena much better - our geometry was better, his canter was awesome. He got 8's on his canters!!! HUGE improvement there! Our score was enough to land us in 4th place out of 10. I love the overall comment "Attractive and capable pair" YAY!!
After our first test we headed back to the barn for water and shade and to get recharged. An hour or so later, it was time to tack up again and head on back. This time-things were different. Ben was fine until we got to the warm up area- the arenas had gotten too dusty and so the big water truck had to come through and spray down everything- including the walking aisle-way, and apparently the people/horses in it. The tractor came not too far behind him. Ben's butt was to the water truck when the dude blasted the water- it was poor timing - and I had no idea he was going to do that...actually all of us, even the spectators were a little spooked! LOL. That wasn't good for Ben - he was very jumpy for the 15 minutes it took to water and grate the arena- and there was no where else to go. So at this point we had about 15 minutes to warm up after the crew left, Ben was a spooky hot sweaty mess - and we just had to use what time we had left.
His warm up was less than stellar. His mind wasn't all there- he was tired and cranky and wanted to buck into his canter transitions, he was behind my aids- and there wasnt much I could do about it, except stay on and keep trying to get him back to being relaxed and forward thinking. Part of me really wanted to just school the heck out of him, but the other, more sensible part of me realized it was over 90 degrees, and that my young horse was acting, well, young. A hard schooling right before our test was a risk I wasn't going to take this day.
|how are we not falling down? hehe|
|At least I'm looking where I am going...I think?|
Still, I figured I'd give the test a try - at least we'd have our first T3 score and we could improve upon that at another show. I had never ridden it either- so we needed to start somewhere. So onward we went. The whole ride was a struggle. He had run out of gas, his mind was in other places, and I was just trying to get through it without forgetting the test, not get bucked off, and be done, LOL.
We got a 56.7% - which is still higher than our June 30th scores- and we still got an 8 on our left canter. Comments were all things I knew "behind the aids, horse is sluggish today" Yep - we got what we deserved!
Well, I was glad we did it, but also really glad we were done for the day. So back to the barn we went to untack, cold hose, water, and have some lunch. The next day would be a totally new experience - the hunter arena!