Monday, October 19, 2015

Horse Show Weekend

Such a busy weekend.

We're going to start with a statement: Penn will NEVER be an event horse. Ever. Not even Starter level.

Back to the barn where it's safe!
So I took him for an early morning walk before we left for Kelly's Ford HT. There were some hunters out and about, I think they were using dogs to send deer down the hill into our normal trail riding area for the archers. Either way, someone brought their hunting dogs to the tree farm next door, so I had to adjust our trail ride to a couple laps around the hay field. The hay field is on a giant hill- walking clockwise around the field, go away from the barn and you're going uphill on the grass property border, crest the top, and back downhill. Then the road meets the property line and you can walk gently uphill and downhill on your way back.

Penn was all "I'm brave! I'm brave!" while the dogs were barking up a storm across the field. We walk behind some trees to go down a hill away from them? "I'm brave! I'M NOT BRAVE!" Poor thing. I had to get him down a hill, next to the fence line, without trampling some 2' trees. We got there slowly. He spooked a couple times and shot forward as I walked him back on the road towards the barn, but he stopped when asked, and I asked him to be round and through and he was like, "Oh ok! I can do that!"

I let him have his head again as we proceeded down the hill (super gentle slope) towards the barn. I stepped him off the road onto a grassy gallop path next to the road and a good thing too.

Have you seen videos where the horse trips or whatever and just goes ass over teacups onto his face and possibly falls down?

This is why you SIT UP when riding. All the time. Penn tripped over his own feet walking downhill and scrambled on his front end trying to right himself. One minute his head is in front of me where it belongs, the next I'm trying not to become a lawn dart as he starts going ass over teacups down the hill. I thought he was going to fall down for sure and just catapult me. He went to lean on my hands, but I'd already given him a long rein since we were just moseying and there was no way I was going to get him back on his feet (he'd just pull me out of the saddle), so I let them continue to pull out of my fingers. Sit up and back and hang on!

He shuffled and scrambled for like 20ft before finally righting himself. Nothing I could do to help him besides stay out of his way. I pulled him up after he was on four feet again and gave him lots of pats for having self-preservation instincts instead of just falling down. Then I took him back to the barn. I was planning on taking him for another lap around he field, but I decided, nope, we've tempted fate enough! I took him back and put his BOT Mesh Sheet on while I fiddled with him.

Yupp, I banded my dressage horse's mane.
Penn got patched on Friday, and I was pleased that it seemed to have helped his girthyness. He still made faces, but no pinning the ears and clicking the teeth. (patches can be seen above)

I decided that I'd had enough of his mane being on the left side of his neck (it changed back, sigh) and attacked it again with bands. What's the worst it'll do? He'll roll, and pull some out? Or pull the hair funny? His mane is too long to stick straight up, and at worst, it'll go left again. I didn't see him Sunday when we got home, and I'm not going out tonight, so we'll see how it looks Tuesday!

Saturday was spent driving the 5 hours to Kelly's Ford and then unloading, unpacking, and trainer riding the horses while I tidied up and got to braiding.

I really like Kelly's Ford Equestrian Center. It's a nice little show, open courses, and a very creative show jump ring. They have a small square bank in the middle, a small hill to put a single jump on top of, and a sunken section with a ditch at the bottom (downhill to the ditch, uphill out). Stabling was in pipe stalls in the indoor, but they had spaced them out to prevent over the wall fights. That also meant we had space between stalls to stash trunks. I liked the setup.

I braided all four horses that went this weekend- trainer's 3, and then I made some extra cash by braiding the student's horse too. I started with 18h+ Ed... I pulled his mane this past week and it was just a bit too short, oops. It took me much longer to do than usual because it was so short and he's obnoxious and won't hold still. I wish I had a pic of it though, it was perfect. Tiny perfect nubs that lined his neck. And I pulled his forelock perfectly- I braided it and was able to pull the tail up through to the top and it tucked perfectly. Love.

I only got through 3 horses Saturday afternoon because Trainer and company wanted to go to dinner and well, so did I. I braided the last one on the morning, no big deal. The mare didn't dressage until 11:45.

We had quite the frigid night in the trailer. For some reason the trailer battery wasn't holding a charge, even though we were plugged in... So the heat obviously didn't work. It was 66 degrees in the trailer when we went to bed at 10... And it was 40 degrees inside when our alarms went off at 6:30am. Trainer eventually crawled out of bed and dashed outside to start the truck so the heater would run (32 degrees outside). Then she came back and crawled back into her blanket cocoon.

A bit frosty Sunday AM.
I got the morning stuff done, and sent her out on her first horse (4yr old Frankie). I got to see his test and the student's test while I ate breakfast.

I put Frankie away, braided her last horse, Shea, got the 18 hand monster Ed ready, got Shea ready and walked her down to the arena so we could tack swap and I'd take Ed back with me.

I had a sit since it was lunch time by then and started prepping my jump stuff.

Ed: "Whacha doing down there?"
All of the jump phases were too close for comfort to have Trainer come all the way back to stabling to get the next horse. So I packed her pinny with the numbers and sent her off with Frankie, then I packed saddle pads and girths in a tiny drawstring backpack. I wore the two breastplates I needed, and I put Frankie's halter over my shoulder and clipped the backpack to the halter. Ed and Shea wore their coolers, boots, bridles, and halters down to show jumping. FYI, all that practice walking 6 horses in at a time at home really pays off when you need to lead mixed genders and all their crap down to a warm up in public.

Supergroom FTW
Where they actually waited patiently.

Holding two horses at SJ warm up. Ed and Shea. Everyone wore chains because holding two horses at a warm up is asking for it and I needed total control.
The first horse rotation consisted of me just holding all 3 horses while trailer pulled coolers and swapped the saddle and tacked up Ed. I wasn't a whole lot of help since I was managing all their faces.

The second saddle swap was easier, student was done, so she helped swap coolers and tack and then took the two already finished horses up while I hung out with trainer in  case she needed something. After the last horse show jumped, I got all the leftover tack together and hauled it up to stabling.

Remove braids, wrap legs, tear down everything, pack trailer, go home. Find food. We were hungry!


  1. Dang, girl, just reading the whole supergroom section made me tired. I'm sticking with dressage!

    1. Just wait until it's Rolex and I'm scrubbing a gray horse down every day and braiding him like forty times and nit picking his every hair!

  2. wow sounds like a busy busy weekend!! sounds fun tho! also, poor Penn - it's never fun when the horse nearly falls on his face!

    1. I love grooming for Trainer! She works me hard, but I always get 8-9 hours of sleep when I travel with her so I often feel more well rested when I get home than when I left.

      And I've never had one fall so hard on his face. I thought for sure Penn and I were going down.

  3. Is it bad that I didn't know you could pull the forelock?

    1. Haha! Not at all! I rarely pull the forelock since it just doesn't seem to grow like the mane does (and if you ever try pulling it, the hair is harder to pull). It's more of a once a year type thing for me. Ed's was just way too long and thick to braid properly (it was down to his eyes, and while on a normal size horse I'd usually leave it be, on an 18h monster sized horse, that's way too much hair). Plus the ends were brown from sun fade (that's usually my cue to take the bottom off). It's very hit or miss if horses will tolerate it, and it's hard to pull it right so it doesn't look like a bowl cut. I keep a Smart Grooming tail rake for back up. I use it instead of pulling the tail, and to shorten/thin the forelock if pulling it isn't an option.