From racing to riding... the training diary of an off the track Standardbred

Monday, July 26, 2010

Haskins results

It was an interesting day at Haskins yesterday. It was HOT! I was sweating while I was tacking up! We got there early and I took him out for some grass, walked him all around, then let him look around while I brushed him. I tacked him up for a quick warmup in the outdoor arena (which was incredibly disguisting with mud since it has been raining on and off all week). He was really good in the warm up. I was thinking calm and he was calm! The first time we walked around he was a little spooky but I just worked through it. After a few laps of walking, I picked up the trot. He was being a superstar! Moving around several horses no problem, going through puddles, and going slow! I went each direction for a little bit. Then I felt that we had accomplished what I wanted for warm up so we went back to the trailer.

Our first class (equitation) was called and we went into the ring. Four horses entered and I felt that was a good number since the indoor is small. Then someone said, "We have another one coming!" and three more entered. It was a little crowded but not too bad. We had enough room for our own spot at the walk. He was great at the walk, not spooking, going straight, listening...but as soon as the trot was called...forget about it. "Straight? Waht do you mean Mom?" His nose was up in the air, his trot was a little fast (but not bad for him) so we had to move around a lot of horses. Then he broke....then he broke again...and again...and again...and then once more. Yep. He broke FIVE times in that class. I didn't have a crop, and I don't own spurs. The worst part was that he would go nice a fast so I would only have my leg on him to try to get him to stay straight inbetween them and then BAM! He would stop. Right infront of the judge every single time. Oh boy. There were 6 in that class so we placed 6th. (One person left in the middle of the class because she felt sick). The judge came up to me when we were exiting the ring and told me that if he hadn't broke, we would have placed high, but I worked through it well.

Then we went over to get our trail done. It was a simple course but I didn't study it long enough. We weaved around 3 cones, then had to circle around the last one, trot over 4 ground poles, back through the modified-L, the halt on the raised platform for 5 seconds. That is what I remembered. What I didn't remember is how to get to each of them. grr! We went around the cones just fine (Honestly, I was surprised about that) then we made a bigger circle than other people were doing but he didn't break from the trot with is what I was most proud about. Out past experiences with the poles and trotting was always bolt off to the side, then when we went back for a second try, he would trot the first, walk the second, trot the third, and hop over the fourth. This time it was a bit different. He didn't refuse them at all (YAY!) but he jumped the first two xD Gotta love him. Then he didn't know where his feet were and I didn't want him to hurt himself (he has stepped on poles several times and almost hit himself with thatm) so I pulled him out of the last two since he was already towards one side of them. Then we walked over to the back-through, I lined him up and asked him to back. It was a fight for a while to get him to take one step. So once he tooka  step, I rewarded him. Then He got the idea and listened. We did the rest of the back through easily (only took one step out of it I think, but it was my fault.) Then he was standing there and I couldn't remember what I was supposed to do next. I knew it was the raised platform, but I had no idea how to get there. So I walked back through the back-through then walked on the platform sideways, tried to halt him on it (ofcourse he couldn't, it was too skinny) so I took him off, and went the right way and he had no problem. He went on no problem and got all four feet on and halted for the 5 seconds. I hadn't seen any other horse do it so far so I was proud (: I walked out and looked at the course again and saw that I was supposed to keep backing out of the back through the just  walk over the platform. Woops. Oh well. I was still proud and the judge told me I did a great job! We placed 5th out of 7.

We took him back to the trailer after ever class, untacked him, sponged him off, gave him some water, then cooled him out by walking him around. We put him on the trailer when there were long periods between classes to let him chill there and he was happy to relax.

Pleasure was crowded! 8 people! I had a crop this time and I was determined not to let him break. So what does he do? He breaks. Right infront of the judge again. So I tapped him with the crop and for the rest of the class, he was pretty speedy. But, he broke again! I was not a happy camper. It wasn't because we didn't place, it was because he completely ignored all of my aids. Seat, legs, hands, everything! We forgot how to turn, go straight, and keep going. So after that class, I took him to an empty ring and let him know that I was the boss, not him. I did a lot fo transitions to get his focus. Trot, walk, halt, trot, etc. He broke and I gave him a tap behind my leg this time and he bolted. He was on the virge of cantering. I worked through it, and kept working on the transitions. He bolted a few more times from the halt to trot but we eventually got to the point where he would halt, then pick up the trot without bolting or racing into it. By the end of our five or so minute fight, he was going on the bit for a few steps at a time. We brought him back to the trailer (which was right next to this ring) and did the cool down.

Discipline rail was next. There was an unexpected lunch break the class before ours so I was already tacked up and up by the ring. It was empty so I went in there to work him a bit and make sure that he would not break in there either. I only trotted a bit, then worked on the transitions, then brought him back to the trailer for water. By then, there was only 10 minutes left in the lunch break so I just walked him around. We finally went in for our class and he was perfect! I think all the sudden and frequent transitions kept him focused on me. We didn't break at all in this class! YAY! There were seven people in this class so it was a bit crowded. His transitions were perfect. He never took a bad step or moved form the halt when he wasn't supposed to, or get ansy, or anything. I pretended that we were the only ones in the ring and nobody was watching. It was just me and him. And it paid off! We WON that class! I was so proud!! He got spoiled with treats, got another sponge down, and off we went back home.

-Get there early and let him calm down. Don't rush anything

                     Achieved. Got there around 8:10 and kept it slow and steady.

-In the classes, don't worry about getting him round. That will come with more experience.
                     Definately achieved. I was more focused on keeping him going! lol
-Get him straight in the classes
                    Not achieved. That will come with time.
-Keep my hands UP!
                    Hmm...not really sure. Again, I was more focused on him than me.
-Go through the trail course without any problems
                    Besides me forgetting the course, then him jumping the ground pole, then me pulling him out, achieved!
-Place third or higher in one class
                   Achieved! We won the discipline rail class!