|That's a Quarter Horse butt if I ever saw one.|
This year was supposed to be mine and Suzie’s debut in Reining and while they still may be possible at the end of August, it looks like the show I was anticipating for a reining freestyle is going to be an English-only event. While I feel a bit frustrated that Western is no longer included, I also understand that showing Western in this area is not prevalent. I can appreciate and respect a show organizational committee who recognizes and realizes that hosting Western classes just isn’t profitable or fun. Having one or two people in a class isn’t much of a competition.
So instead of moping about it, I decided to quickly change my game plan. Suzie could become an English horse by September, right? I mean, I’ll be showing her English in a Breed Show next weekend, so it’ll give me a bit of a glimpse into the future in a way. Of course, Breed Shows are a whole ‘nother cup of tea and the placings (if any) received next weekend will certainly not reflect placings I would achieve in an open show. Still, it will give me a good indication if I want to attempt to compete with the “big boys” in Western for the Fall Fair at the end of August.
The last few rides I’ve put on Suz have been English-orientated and I can easily say that riding a thoroughly Western-trained horse English is exceptionally difficult. The concept of contact is really hard for Suzie to deal with and I made sure to be as steady and supportive as I could. I tried to incorporate some of the “releases” she normally receives when we are schooling Western.
Not only is the contact different, but I am now asking her to speed up and go forwards more. It’s mind-boggling to her and I could just feel the uncertainty as she surged forwards in an attempt to get it right. I tried to keep my contact long and gave her pats when she was through her back and quiet in my hands. We’ve been breaking ground slowly and chipping away at it, so hopefully by next weekend we’ll have something more solid. I don’t anticipate she’ll be ready to do a fantastic Dressage test, but she’ll be able to be competent and have a quiet contact. The basis is there and I just need to refine that foundation.
|A crappy video still from May to remind me she can be fancy.|
So although the few “English” rides I’ve put on her were a bit frustrating, I cannot put the blame on Suz. The last three rides, with the exception of one, were about 20 minutes long. Certainly not enough time to get much (if anything!) productive done. Those 20 minutes included my warm up and cool down as well. If I am looking for progress, I need to give myself time to achieve