Tuesday, August 29, 2017

BVX 2017: Wednesday Preparations

I’d like to think I can roll with the punches – I mean, if my ownership of Suzie was any indication, I’d say I can stop, drop, and roll with the best of them. So when I received a call the Thursday before the show stating they were going to be cancelling the Driving, I did my best not to pout. Due to the wildfires in the area and a few unexpected family crisis’, a lot of drivers were unable to attend the event. Unfortunately, the lack of entries and the fact the Judge was in the fire zone was enough to close the division entirely for the weekend.

The show committee contacted me, stating that I was welcome to bring another horse sans late fees, or could be reimbursed.

"What do you mean I don't get to strut my stuff?"
-Spud, always
I strongly contemplated not bringing a horse, but in the end (with much cajoling from Show Buddy and the Boyfriend) I decided to take Annie and enter her in the few walk/trot classes the fair provided. I signed up for two Walk/Trot Dressage tests, one Walk/Trot flat class and two in-hand classes. The key would be to not burn her out and make the experience as carefree and quiet as possible – not that she had major issues at the last show. I just wanted to make it as easy as possible for the both of us. The BVX is not just a horse show – there is a carnival, rodeos, all kinds of farm animals, tractors, and concerts. It’s like sensory overload in some cases.

I managed to school her the day before we left, as I hadn’t been able to work in the ring much due to the area being rented out for other events. She was really lovely – we had some issues establishing our quiet and forward trot, but managed to eek some out and work on her suppleness. The canter work was really great – she even managed to pick up her right leads on the first try! She felt maneuverable and workable, although a little behind the leg (story of my life). I was pleased to end it there and was apprehensively excited to travel the next morning.

As we do every year, the Boyfriend and I loaded and hitched up both trucks – one attached to the horse trailer and the other attached to the camper – and drove over to the next town to meet up with Show Buddy.  There, we parked the truck and horse trailer and transferred Annie into Show Buddy’s rig to make the final leg of our journey. Annie unloaded and reloaded like a champ, and I was pleased to see she remembered the drill when it came to slant-loads. The Boyfriend and I arrived before Show Buddy and got the trailer situated while we waited. The plan was to ride as soon as possible and expose the horses to the rings we would be riding in, as we were both riding green horses.

Annie was a bit uncertain about unloading, probably because we were backed up on a bit of an incline and it made the trailer higher in the back end. Regardless, she didn’t seem too phased when she finally worked up the courage to exit the rig. She tied to the trailer quietly as I tacked up and did her best to look around and check out the new surroundings.

Photo is from Thursday, but I lacked Wednesday media.
I got on in the warm up ring and worked on just maintaining my breathing and relaxing down into the tack. She jogged a few steps before settling into a nice walk and looking around at all the other arenas and horses. She felt good in the warm up arena – was surprisingly (to me) listening without being too affected by the commotion all over the grounds. We did a lot of different figures in the arena, establishing our trot and working on her bending through her corners instead of looking out.

Because I would be doing walk/trot all weekend, I hesitated to canter her. She can get frazzled and frustrated when she gets the wrong lead or can be insistent that we just keep cantering for all of eternity. I figured no time like the present to practice, so off we went and she did just fine. Her left lead took a few tries to get the correct lead, which resulted in some giggles from a friend who was watching the following dialogue:

Me:  “Ok, just push your shoulder in and bend…. Andddd canter.”
Annie: “Wrong lead?”
Me: “No no, just trot for a second…. Shoulders pushed over… bend… leg yield…. And canter.”
Annie: “Wrong lead.”
Me: “K, just for a second. Ok, now trot and let’s try it again.”
Annie: “YOU WANT THE RIGHT LEAD?” *leaps into air* “I’LL GIVE YOU THE RIGHT LEAD” *jumps into the right lead complete with sassy tail*

I made a concise decision to re-school the trot after the canter. I am terrible for leaving the canter for last and ending our schooling after that – something I need to work more on so that Annie doesn’t anticipate and doesn’t get used to. It took a few minutes of convincing, but we got it done and were back to a happy quiet trot in no time.

Show Buddy and I hacked out of the ring and over to the Dressage arena, which was adjacent to the warm up ring. We did a lot of walking around the perimeter, checking out the letters, and schooling walk/trot in the ring. Annie didn’t bat an eye at anything. In fact, she was much more concerned with where her new BFF was (she was walking right behind us).

Annie, on Saturday after our classes were done. The poster
was done by a friend - isn't it cute?!
I was really happy with how she handled everything and after stripping our tack, we wandered to the wash rack to bathe the ponies and get them ready for the morning. Annie was SO GOOD in the wash rack. She stood, stock- still, and barely even moved as I washed her with super cold water (the weather wasn’t the best either, so I felt bad for her). A friend braided her as she dried off and although she was a little wiggly (“Can I eats grass now?”) she was pretty good.

Once bath time was over, we fed the horses and put them away in their stalls. Because of where I purchased Annie from, I was certain she had been stalled at one point in her life, but she seemed kind of stressed out. Unfortunately, all weekend she was kind of not herself and would quickly snatch hay from her hay bag and peek over the huge stall door to check what was going on outside. I don’t know if she would have been more comfortable with a lower door or if it was quieter. At Copperside, I’ve stalled her twice, and the first time she was super quiet and the second time she took about ten minutes to settle. New sights and sounds tho, so I understand all of that.

Forget the harlem shake, this is the Annie shake.

Before we left for dinner, I figured it was only natural for her to want to see all these horses and people and dogs wandering about.  But it did make me a little worried about how she’d fair throughout the weekend (if anything, I am a chronic worrier). We would be staying from Wednesday through to Sunday and I was secretly hoping she’d get less frantic in her stall by the time we left (spoiler alert: while she didn’t necessarily get worse or better, it didn’t really improve much).

I did a last check on her before bed and she seemed OK - she was still grabbing her hay and hanging her head over the stall to eat, but otherwise was happy. She also ate her mash and was drinking. I checked the show program and noted that we'd be the first in the ring for Dressage in the morning, so prepared my alarm to feed three hours before I'd need to tack up and crossed my fingers things would go smoothly.

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  1. The "Annie shake" šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚ oh my gosh haha.

    Sucks that the driving was cancelled but at least you got to make lemonade out of lemons! ☺

  2. Too bad about the driving but that does make sense given the fire stuff. Seems like Miss Annie is a pretty cool customer :)

    1. I was sad about it, but I think it all worked out in the end :)

  3. Aw, I was looking forward to seeing the sweet little potato all dolled up for his show, but so awesome you took Annie! I can't wait to hear how you two did :)

    1. I missed taking Spud, but Annie did great!