Last weekend a good friend celebrated a birthday but given our busy lifestyles, we couldn't get our group of pony pals together any sooner, but like any good friend we went behind her back and booked the indoor privately, to ride together for 2 hours. We all have a busy weekend of horsey-events planned so it served as a great excuse to book the arena to school before the shows and surprise her in the mean time.
I will admit, I was nervous hauling into the arena as we were slotted to have 6 or 7 horses in the arena plus fences, and I had no idea how Sierra was going to react to that. As I drove to the arena, I relived the disasters of our shows from back in March where Sierra attempted to kill me and was concerned about the two younger kids coming to join us. The possibilities of potential injuries ran rampant through my brain, but I gave myself plenty of time considering we had a quick meeting and plan for cake before our arena booking time began.
|The Birthday Girl|
I didn't really think things through when I bought some supplies for decorating a jump because I bought balloons to tie to some standards and really didn't consider the fact that they would scare the crap out of a lot of horses, including mine. Luckily, after some time Sierra and the other horses gave up being scared of the balloons that waved in the breeze caused by the large ceiling fans, and carried on.
The ring was incredibly hectic with horses going in every which direction; weaving through jumps anointed with things like liverpools, boxes, balloons and more. I prefaced the ride by encouraging everyone to give me as much room as they could, but I have recently discovered that the best results for regaining Sierra's brain seems to be emergency stops. Early on in the ride, we did do two but beyond that she did a great job of keeping her shit together and while she could have been more relaxed, she was very manageable. Several times riders passed us quite closely at a closer gate and Sierra was excellent with it, and ended things quite relaxed. We did some trot poles to mix things up, and walked over the liverpool that plagued 4 of 5 horses with zero response or worry. I dismounted with confidence for our Not-Show, Show on the weekend.
|This is misleading - she was looking at a person begging for treats, not eyeing the liverpool|
Upon dismounting and untacking, Sierra stood relaxed with a foot cocked and happily cleaned up her entire mash (something rare when we aren't home), and was overall a very good girl who felt like she genuinely tried to keep her poop in a group while horses whizzed over fences, in various directions and at various gaits around us. Even though it has been a tough year, I feel like I have continued to learn so much from Sierra and I can't wait to see where we are this time next year!