Sunday, July 28, 2019

Attempt at being a dressage horse: 3.0

Took Curtis to another schooling show yesterday to actually show. So it was his 3rd trip to be judged total. November, May and yesterday. I love schooling shows because the judges are so lenient and are completely okay with things like silent ear bonnets, throwing your whip out of the ring mid-test, occasionally talking to the horse (yes, I need to quit that but he was naughty) and wearing a vest to make me feel better about potentially eating dirt. What I don't love about schooling shows is the rank horses everywhere. There is a giant xc field behind us and several people with really bad horses (ok, yes Curtis was this horse only 3 months ago) getting all the other horses worked up (we took Curtis away from the warm up and schooled him on his own where he wouldn't get horses pumped and people hurt....). One horse was being extremely common and the steward asked them to leave. That's how dangerous they were.

I learned so much about Curtis yesterday. Like nothing phases him....not bright red tents, car doors slamming, 500 kids screaming and playing soccer across the field, not people in tiny boxes watching you (he stuck his head in there to see if the judge had any food for him). What bothers him is in short, other horses. If they are behaving or walking he doesn't much mind. Get one acting up and he can't even. Even a good strong canter from another horse bothers him. I wish I could show him in blinkers. He raced in them. Clearly for obvious reasons.

all the tenseness. the braids make him look awesome tho

I also learned that Curtis only has 1 test in him.

Our warm up was barely a warm up because of all the stupid ass horses and my main goal was to keep him calm and relaxed. While waiting our turn in the ring he stood pretty relaxed watching everything. We were both a bit tense but there had been no serious shit fits or antics.

We got in the ring and kind of fell apart. He was hardly listening to me, so I talked to him a lot which is a no no but the judge said she didn't count against me. But i got 3s and 4s so I guess she didn't want to make it even worse? We had one momo during our first circle at A and I was surprisingly chill about it. Told him no, put him back on pattern and kept riding. It was a shit test but compared to the last 2 shows it was a huge improvement.

We only had a couple of minutes until Intro B so we just stood around chilling out and maybe that was our problem.... he though he was done. Just trotting around near A waiting for the bell he was starting to throw shit fits. I know when he hollows and acts stupid I'm supposed to put my leg on and ride him forward into the bridle, but I'd put my leg on and he'd get pissed again because he kept throwing his head up and hitting the bit. Some of it was me (esp in test A) but some of it was him just being a dick/just being done. We had like 3 moments during B and though I was almost done and saluted, said thank you and got out of there.

Once we picked up our tests later that day I realized I should have kept riding. As bad as I felt it was he had 5s, 6s, and some 7s. Or maybe the judge just really liked her visitor from earlier (judge for test A was a different judge) or she was just more lenient being it's a schooling show.

I told my friend H about it and she said "My Sarah, you didn't tell him if you act like a shit you get to be done. You told him you're listening to him and understood he was fried and let him be instead of forcing him." Or something along those lines. She's right. Maybe someday we'll have more than 1 test in us but right now he can't do that. The warm up is it's own giant test for him and by the time we get through with the test he is mentally done.

I'm thinking the next show we go to, I find an empty field far away from any horses and warm him up and then just walk him to the warm up, check in and ride the test. Only give him limited exposure to the zoo that is warm up.

I paid the prereg for photos because I expected a bit better of a ride but hopefully she got a few where we don't look like half broke, fresh off the track idiots. But she did offer some good advice. She said while I'm feeding daily magnesium and even upped his dose quite a bit this last week, before we tack up I should give him a tube of calming stuff to really get him to chill. She also said if I'm afraid of his lunging and bucking I should be taking jump lessons on a steady school horse to learn to sit that movement and be confident about it. I'm such a nervous jumper so maybe it's not a bad idea. And also, I need to get my confidence back and my seat by maybe riding a school master or well broke horse. I'm thinking maybe it's time to pull Twister back out and take him places. Maybe even a dressage show. He can throw shit all day everywhere and we both know it won't go far and I never get phased by it.

Plus side of the day, he got on and off the trailer all day and stood quietly with a buddy in the shade on board as each horse had a turn at the dressage ring. Winning.

In the end I just need to keep going with Curtis. Because he was better. So much better. It's not great but it's slowly getting there. We got 5th place and I'm over at the office all excited because I wasn't the worse in the class for once in my life and then after I pick up my ribbon I notice the other 2 horses in my class scratched. So I actually only got it by default. But if anyone asks there were 9 horses in my class. And even if it was last place, to me it's a "yay we didn't die and did better than May" ribbon. We fucking earned that.

we all got ribbons!!


  1. aw i'm so glad he was better! that honestly counts for a LOT. all in all seems like a really important and productive experience for him. the scores will come in time!! (lol at least that's what i keep telling charlie LOL) ;)

    1. We scored a 48 😬 lmao but whatever. His brain is learning things 💁

  2. I had a recent moment trying to cross a creek (didn't need to, just thought it'd be fun) with my water-loving mare. and instead of getting after her and making it a battle, I just said, "eh, we'll try again another day." She told me she didn't like it, I said ok, and we left it at that. Haven't tried it since but we did go trotting into some water at a recent event and she did great. I think you did the right thing by Curtis - you expanded his horizons and didn't push him so far out his comfort zone that it was traumatic. Good on you!! and YAY RIBBONS! You showed up, they scratched, you placing is only fair and right (and I ALWAYS count the number of people who signed up) :D