|My lovely assistant and I sitting on an upper level jump.|
Dickie is just four and has been a late boomer mentally. My goals for him this season have nothing to do with ribbons or even finishing a single course. I had planned on being much more prepared for this weekend but life got in the way. We had entered a little combined training show but it was canceled. And the barn owner went crazy so we have been without an arena for the last few weeks. He has been off the property and went to a show in hand as a 2yo but never anything this big, and never anything undersaddle. There is plenty of time for worrying about how well we perform at a show. I plan on having this horse for 20+. At four he just needs to learn how to be a solid equine citizen.
Given those facts here is what I wanted Dickie to accomplish (completing all three phases wasn't even on the list):
1) Deal with the long trailer ride without seeming overly stressed and load/unload easily.
Over the course of the weekend between getting to Bre's, getting to the show, then back to Bre's then back to his home he rode in three different trailers. He paused once or twice getting in but that was it. Where the people goes he will go. He even hung out in the trailer a few times when the humans had to eat.
|Wrapped up for the ride, telling his friend all about it.|
2) Handle being in a strange stall for two days without losing him mind.
He whinnied and paced a bit when he first got there but calmed himself down in no time. Every time we checked on him he was munching away like an old show pony.
|He liked to peek around the trailer to see what we were doing.|
3) Learn how to tie at a trailer all day.
This time around we had a stall but that won't always be the case. Whether we are going on a trail ride, or handing at a show he needs to tolerate being at a trailer. I don't have a trailer myself so we haven't been able to practice this one much. He fell in love with my friend's OTTB and thought trailer time was the best thing ever.
|Dickie didn't understand why the stall didn't have top hatches so he could taste passersby.|
4) Tolerate being left by his buddies whether in his stall or tied at the trailer.
On day one my friends decided to school xc after the show. He was mentally frazzled under saddle so I opted to stay back. I also had different goals than my friends. I don't want him to think he needs to be with his buddies. If they go he needs to handle staying behind. He won't always have a stall and his friends won't always be on the same schedule as him. He was worked up and called for them but nothing dangerous. One of the things I like about this horse is that even when he can come back from the ledge when he is amped up. I've known horses that once the freak out switch is flipped they are done. Without human intervention of some kind they will hurt themselves. Dickie can throw a tantrum with the best of them but he can also get over his bad self. Day two he didn't compete (see knee cap issue below) and he hung out alone in his stall all day happily.
*I do need to admit this wasn't a TOTAL success. When he was done pacing for his buddies I went to take his boots off and he didnt' want to stand still. I made the mistake of daring to tell the prince to stand still and he threw a tantrum of bucking in place. In the process two steel shod hooves hit me square on the knee cap. RUDE
|View of a prelim combo at sunset.|
5) Get through the dressage tests with patterns that where somewhat recognizable.
He gave the judges box a serious hairy eye ball but he went by. He even cantered pretty close to the right spot both ways!!! Our final center line was a quarter line but it was straight and we stopped pretty dang close to square. I wasn't a great score but it was exactly what I hoped for. I also want to add that we have NEVER ridden the test all the way through before that day. We took a month off cantering then I had school parts of the tests. My plan for the last two weeks was to ride tests but we were arena less and the field was too uneven for full tests.
|Notice saddle covers to prevent eating of saddles.|
6) Be obedient in the crowded warm up.
The warm up was BAD. It was set up on a swamp. Literally they mowed a marshy area and used it for warmup. It packed with out of control ponies, kids trying to ride center line while we were circling, several large hot bucking green horses, with a busy lane running next to it. He looked at everything but went to work. Forward has been an issue for him but I didn't dare ask in that swamp. At least one horse lost a shoe in the swamp.
|Doesn't get much prettier than this does it.|
7) See lot's of scary things and refrain from losing his baby mind.
Sooooooo many scary things happened. In the morning he handled everything with just a bug eyes and the occasional snort. By the end of the day he was prancy and edge but never offered to scoot off, bolt, buck, or rear. There were mini-motocycles zipping down the narrow lane often with three people aboard, bikes, flapping tents, barking dogs, screaming kids, four wheelers. All of these forms of transportation were funneled through the grounds via a one lane dirt road right along with the horses. He wasn't the horse who acted like it was no big deal he gave everything a hard look but he was obedient and at times just plain curious about the weird stuff.
|Tari getting ready for her ride home.|