On Saturday, August 24th our Sport Horse Club hosted our second Jumper Jackpot of the three part series. The Jumper Jackpots we host are a fun, laid back event with flat and over fence classes that offer points towards Year End Awards and cash payouts depending on the amount of riders in the class. We also stuffed goody bags with horse cookies and tied them with ribbons related to the colour of ribbons typically given out. In Canada, those are Red (first), Blue (second) and white (Third).
Much like at the Hunter Training Series earlier this year, I entered Sierra and myself in the Walk Trot and Hack Divisions with the intentions of doing the W/T's and playing the Hacks by ear depending on how she behaved in the Walk/Trots. Sierra has a history of acting a little 'extra' in show situations when one little thing bothers her, and I still haven't learned how to get things back under control and re-establish relaxation with her. My natural instinct is always to get handsy, but I quickly learned that only made things worse. In addition, the #1 thing you learn when re training Thoroughbreds is the absolute worst thing you could do is try and make them stand still. One thing that seems to have worked relatively well at home has been emergency stops, and usually 2 or 3 gets her head back on straight, but being at home is very different than being in a show environment, so I really had no idea what to expect, or if it would be of any benefit when push came to shove.
Due to running the event, Sierra was forced to come in early with me but it wasn't a total loss as I concluded her standing around was beneficial to our ultimate goal: exposure. Luckily, my classes were at the beginning of the day so it wasn't long before I was tacking up and heading into the ring for our allotted 10 minutes of warm up.
While Sierra was a little on edge at the 'far end' of the arena, she settled relatively well into our warm up. Typically she is more relaxed than she was, however for the most part she kept herself together but I could feel the tension building within her. Before I knew it, we were out on the rail for our first class (equitation), and we made it through the dreaded right rein work before swapping to the left and carrying on with slightly more ease. The class went by quite quickly and much to my surprise, we managed to win first. Following the line up, we moved directly into the final class of the division which was English Pleasure. As the tension grew, I did not expect to do well. Sierra has the potential to go like a pleasure horse, but not when she's in horse show mode, so I quickly switched gears and my intention was to just try and stay soft, fluid, confident and consistent. As we reached the boiling point, Sierra had a fairly hard spook at a person at the scary end of the arena that didn't end well and the wheels very quickly fell off the wagon. Luckily, the class ended shortly after and we managed to pin second in the class.
|I didn't get many pics, so here's a random one of Amara - she's growing like a weed!|
The next division was the Hacks and I remained in the ring, through truthfully questioned the logistics of it. I pondered if I should push the envelope or quit while I was relatively ahead - or at least, before things completely fell apart and I hit the dirt. Naturally, hindsight is 20/20 and I should have followed my gut, however we remained in the ring as the tension built and I got off after the first Hack class was finished.
I find the situation entirely frustrating. After dismounting and untacking I had to go out to my trailer for 10 minutes to get myself under control as I felt like I was on the edge of tears. As I rolled with the emotions of my disappointment, I found myself somersaulting down the rabbit hole of where I went wrong, why my so called 'seasoned show horse' can't keep it together in a basic walk/trot flat class yet goes great at home or on off property schooling adventures. Eventually, the dust settled and I made a plan going forward which started with leaving Sierra tied to the fence for the remainder of the show and schooling her once more after we put everything away for the day, and then hauling Sierra to as many more opportunities as possible to expose her to as much as possible before the season comes to a close. This is truly not the road I expected to be on with Sierra, but its the hand we've been dealt and we'll play it as best we can.
|Horse Show Hangover|