So Saturday was Jack and I’s first show together. I learned a lot about him, and he learned a lot about life, and I remembered just how many things you need for a horse trial (next time I’ll try to bring them all!).
The venue, Portofino, is a stunning facility just over an hour away, and while somewhat compact, it was well run with lots of supportive volunteers helping things go smoothly. But for Jack, who has little to no previous show experience, it was a lot to take in. There were food trucks, tents, horses and people everywhere, and judges blowing whistles from various directions. Jack’s expression in general was fairly bug eyed at the whole thing.
I managed to get him somewhat settled in the warmup, but when it came to walking around the arena for our dressage test, I knew we were in a bit of trouble. The judge’s stand is a large overhang at the end of the arena, standing at the precipice of a steep slope where horses and goats graze below. For whatever reason, Foster, who was normally brave, did not like this setup, and Jack was convinced it was going to eat him. I somehow managed to get him [unwillingly] down to that end of the arena, but we did not execute any of the movements in trot while down there. I’m fairly sure I laughed through the majority of my test at my giant green bean pony.
Scoring a 42 in dressage (richly deserved, with comments of obvious tension- uh, yes!) meant that the rest of the day was more about schooling and getting a positive experience in than competing. I had signed up for one Beginner Novice schooling round which was 50% acceptable, 50% disastrous, but that allowed me to make a game plan for an extra happy Maiden show jumping round about 30 minutes later. Knowing that he had just spooked hard at the plank fence down the long side, I made a plan to trot it, and use my bat to remind him that forward was the only option. Though it’s not perfect, our maiden showjumping ended up being the highlight of the day.
The Maiden cross country course was interesting, ranging from fair-to-undersized all the way up to BEEFY (if a beefy maiden course is even a thing). Fences 4 and 9 gave me the most pause- 4 being a legit BN sized fence in the shadow of a tree and fence 9 being a tiger-trap leading up to the water.
My plan was to canter everything except 3 and 9. Fence 3 because it was pretty skinny (for Maiden) and 9 to give him time to read the question. Well, in the end we ended up trotting almost all the fences, since each one was somehow a surprise for Jack, as you’ll see in the video (thanks J for the video of fence 3, and C for every other video present!). But he tried very hard to be a good boy, and came in a hilarious 8 seconds over time but clear.
We amazingly didn’t place last, but definitely at the bottom of the pack, and I couldn’t care less. It was an incredibly fun day, and I feel confident that with more exposure my golden green bean will become a super star event horse.
Thank you for sharing. Your love and patience for your horse come through your writing. It is wonderful
Aw! So adorable! I’m sure he’s just building away at that wall of confidence. 🙂
He is, for sure. This will be a work in progress….
I think there must have been monsters at that end of the area because my guy wanted nothing to do with listening to me when we were in the arena. Cross country was no joke. A friend referred to our Novice XC course as following the new Novice Olympic CCI format (hello full coffin followed then by a down bank 3 strides to a training level house)!
Thanks again for chatting with your fans and hopefully we will see you both out and about again soon.
So nice to see you too! Thanks so much for the video 🙂
weeeee congrats!!! sounds like all in all a pretty successful first show – like he knows how to do the thing and should keep improving with experience! what a good feeling!!
Definitely- he wants to be a good boy SO badly, he just needs to overcome his doubts first XD
The first show is great (placings aside) to really get that baseline for what you need to do and where to go!
Congrats on your first event. Those jumps are really erratically sized for BN. Jack is such a cutie. If they ever invent Pas De Deux for eventing, Jack and Levi need to get together.
He’s so stinking cute and he definitely has the “I want to do the right thing, but OMG, scary!” face on! Looks like a great facility so close to home, too. If you ever need a groom or an extra person for a cheering section, I’m there!
He so badly wants to be the super star, he just wants to be sure to keep you both safe from the monsters!! Your patience and easy-going-ness about this whole thing is enviable! Great start!
Yay for a great experience for him!! And he’s sooooo pretty, that helps right 😜
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