Monday, April 8, 2013

Much of my childhood was spent dreaming about horses and horse shows. Years after we had to sell our appaloosas for the move up to Canada, my parents obligingly bought me my own little POA gelding. Lessons and pleasure riding on "Chinook" kept me happy through the high school years and once I got into college I satisfied my equestrian cravings by competing on the collegiate team. Then I met Clay and started riding at the ranch.... but everyone knows how that story ends. Polo ponies and an old QH, with a distinct love for peppermints, kept me in shape in Idaho, and I squeezed in a few dressage lessons and a show while living in Portland.

Skip forward a few years and I finally found a laid-back horse show series that will be a good introduction for us to re-join the horse show world. And this time, for the first time, on my own horses! I'm still keeping an eye out for other good kid-friendly horse shows in the area - especially as my kids and riding students continue to progress - but this one is definitely family and beginner friendly and I appreciate their judging and approach.

Show time started with a week of clipping Fritz to smooth out his overly ragged and patchy winter coat. It was a bigger process than I was intending due to clipper and clipper blade troubles. For his first clipping he did awesome. It was a big week for him - first body clip, first bath, first show.... Margaret chipped in and helped a lot since he is her first "training project".

 She loves this little guy....
In fact she spent many hours over the past few weeks exercising and working with Fritz in order to get him in shape for the show. Her favorite thing to do was to lead him through trail obstacles.

 Fritz was understandably a little stressed at the show, but he did pretty well and kept Margaret safe (huge priority there). Margaret was in high heaven and is already making plans for entering in the costume class at the next show.

 She was the oldest kid in the lead line class by a few years and so they weren't even asked to trot at this show, but she didn't mind. And when they handed out matching blue ribbons with the word "winner" to all the kids she was tickled pink.

It was a big week for Chico too. He didn't get a full body clip but he did get his legs trimmed up and his mane pulled and his first bath (with baby shampoo, he smelled so sweet...), not to mention being on a strict diet. Apparently it worked well for him because he raked in the compliments right and left at the show. Everyone was mystified by what breed he was and multiple people guessed that he was a Spanish warmblood (makes sense, since mustangs have plenty of Spanish influence in their breeding). 

We did have moments of nervous & pushy behavior, mild meltdowns, and even unrestrained terror (ponies pulling carts are extremely dangerous and life threatening, turns out). But, fortunately, during the actual show classes he behaved pretty well and I was, overall, very happy with his performance.

He started strong, winning a blue ribbon in "Sport Horse In Hand", beating two Arabians (Hidalgo, anyone?). He dutifully trotted a very nice triangle to display his great movement, and only tried to take a little nibble out of the judge.



Next we competed in "Trail In Hand" where I was extremely proud of him for getting 2nd place out of 12 contestants. 

And, finally, we competed in "English Pleasure - Walk Trot", going against a positively enormous Belgian.

At this point Chico had been exposed to it all....  his first time in an indoor arena, first time seeing other equines pulling wagons, dwarf minis that he was absolutely convinced were dogs (that he would have enjoyed stomping on), and giant draft horses. Considering the state of his poor nerves I was very proud of him. He even handled riding next to the over-sized Belgian pretty well and only thought briefly about rebelling when he heard the thunderous sound of a draft horse trotting behind him. We were happy with 2nd place. And even happier to get home and roll in the mud (Chico, that is, not me).

First show for the Cross D ranch = success.


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