Finally, I'm getting around to wrapping up this show!
The main thing that was making me nervous about this show was that we didn't have stalls, and our ride times were about four hours apart. That meant that Kaswyn or Phil had to stand tied to the side or stand inside the trailer for hours at a time. I wasn't terribly worried about Kaswyn, but truthfully I hadn't shown him out of the trailer for years and years, so I wasn't totally sure how he'd react. And Phil... well I know that Phil is not a fan of trailers, so I was really concerned about how he would handle the day.
But I figured it would all work out somehow, so off we went!
Debbie was first with Kaswyn in Intro C. For some reason she was super nervous, and Kaswyn was really feeling it. He was very tense and she was having a bit of a problem getting him to focus and calm down. I kept telling her "Your body is telling him that something is wrong, and that he needs to be on alert! You really have got to relax and calm down." She did her best, but the test wasn't pretty. Even with the tension, they ended up with a 61% and a second place.
Both Debbie and Kaswyn were better in the second test, but still there was tension and inattention on Kaswyn's part. 54.167% and a fourth place for that one.
It's so hard with Kaswyn. Yes, he's very trained, and he knows what he's doing. But he gets so overly excited and over stimulated at shows. And if you're not used to dealing with him when he's like that it can be very hard, and not very fun to ride. I'm not even sure I could have gotten a good ride out of him that day. He just gets all ADD and Tiggers out, and there's not much that can be done except steer him around and get through it.
I think things will be much better for the Championship show in October. We'll have stalls, we'll be there overnight, and I think that kind of situation really settles Kaswyn. He doesn't seem to get his show pants on right with the one-day shows.
Now, onto Phil. He was actually really good for me in his first test. It's very evident by looking at the video that I'm getting his neck too short. It's so hard when I'm mostly riding alone and I don't have mirrors, and I don't get regular lessons. However, looking at the positive I was able to adjust him during the test - meaning that I could ask for more or less trot or canter, and I got it. Of course there was some tension, and connection issues, but mostly I'm really pleased that he was adjustable. We scored a 66.875%, but were 5th, and last in the class. Still, I was happy.
The second test.... well I saw trouble coming before we even started. Phil doesn't like trailers when he has to get into them. He also doesn't like then when they drive by. The banging just sends him into a panic. Our trailer was parked in the field with all the other trailers, and every time a trailer would leave and drive past, Phil would get extremely upset. There wasn't much I could do about it, since trailers driving through pastures tend to make a lot of noise.
Right as I was riding around the ring for our second test, I saw two horses being loaded into a stock trailer. I KNEW that they'd be pulling out during my test. And driving right by the show ring. And there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. I think you can see where they started to pull out, and where Phil heard the banging. It went really downhill from there. It could have been a LOT worse, since he didn't completely check out, but it was kinda ugly. We ended up with a 62.5% and a 3rd out of four. The judge said that I was patient and supportive, but that the horse needed to be more harmonious with me. But she noted that the talent was there, and that the mistakes were costly. I agree. And the neck was too short again, but I had a lot to deal with in that test!
The photographer for the show, http://www.jtsphotos.com/p713977623, managed to get this one nice picture of Phil before his test.
Photo credit JTSPhotos.com
As for the trailer worries? Well it turned out just fine. We ended up rotating Phil and Kaswyn in and out of the trailer, while the other horse we brought with us stayed tied to one side of the trailer. She hung out under the awning and it all worked out just fine. Still, I'd rather have stalls. I think it's better for Kaswyn. Amazingly, I don't think Phil really cared, unless a trailer drove by.
Overall I'm really happy with the way Phil handled himself at the show. He stood in or tied to the trailer without getting into trouble, he let me adjust his stride and energy in the first test, and he didn't completely check out and bolt out of control in the second test when he was genuinely frightened. I think this is all progress. We are getting there, slowly but surely.
One thing I'm really excited for is that I'm taking Phil to my trainer's barn for boot camp in September. She will certainly fix my issues with getting his neck too short. And hopefully a few other things. I hope I can get some video to document our improvement!
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