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

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Two Shows in Three Days

August 12th, 2011- Rehoboth Fair

So I decided to give Rehoboth Fair a go. After weeks of trying to convince Mary-Kate to go, she finally decided to go so I felt obligated to also go. I didn't want to push anything too far so I only did the in-hand class and the 3 w/t flat classes for my age division.

He was fine until he saw Katie (Mary-Kate's horse) there. When he saw her, he became obnoxious. Kicking, bolting, rearing, just plain being rude and difficult. I put him in "timeout" (in the trailer) for a bit. when I took him off, he had more of a brain.

We went into the in-hand class and he lost his brain again. I don't think he stood still for more than 10 seconds. He was moving back and forth, kicking, and whinnying like crazy. There were about 20 horses in this class too....greaaat. Just what we need...a bunch of horses in a ring. NOT. I was going to just excuse myself from the class but I decided to work through it and not let him win. It was a good learning experience over all. Out of all 20 people in the class, I was the only person who knew how to move around the judge in an in-hand class. Thankfully, Jet stood reasonably still when the judge was looking at him too. Somehow, we ended up placing in the class. Out of some GORGEOUS horses that stood still, we placed 6th. I guess knowing how to move around the judge really does have an effect on scores.

After the in-hand, I put him back on the trailer to chill. Hours later, I took him out and tacked him up. By this time, Mary-Kate had already finished her classes and took Katie home. After 10 minutes of Jet frantically trying to look for Katie, he calmed down. We went into our classes and showed what Standardbreds are capable of! We ended up with 1st in Equitation, 2nd in Pleasure, and 1st in Horsemanship. So throughout the day and the many horses we showed against, Jet pulled through in the ring (somewhat) and showcased the breed well.

Here are two of our classes:
Jr. Walk Trot Equitation- Rehoboth Fair
Jr. Walk Trot Horsemanship- Rehoboth Fair

August 14th, 2011- Haskins 4-H and Open Horse Show

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! It was Daddy's birthday this past Sunday. I also had a Haskins show that day. Dad was working 7-3 anyways so I didn't feel to bad about going. We got there surprised to see very few trailers there compared to what is normally there. I looked around for people who were usually in my division and didn't see them.

Jet was all jacked up for some reason. Not sure why. He was spooking, whinnying, and such. I walked him around, then brushed him and tacked him up. By the time we got in the ring for warm up, he was perfectly fine. He felt great in the warm up. Moving straight, forward, and underneath himself. I felt like we had a good shot in our classes for the day if we could ride like that in them. My first class is called and I go in the ring. I turn around and see....nobody...I was the only one in my classes!!

Needless to say, I won them all ;) The judge didn't cut the class time short. He even threw in some unexpected things for us that we usually don't have in our normal classes. this included: changes of direction at the trot, extended trot, backing up, trotting twice in one direction, etc. I was very thankful he didn't cut the class short because I was the only one in it. I thanked him several times for it.

Trail was interesting...Jet wasn't himself...He usually nails trail but that day he just wasn't in the mood. He paced when we went to weave the cones at a trot. WTF JET?! You're not even a pacer!! You are a trotter! Grrr pony... He was difficult.

I know the trail judge personally and after the show she came up to me and said that he was moving funny. She noticed him pace (obviously) and that he was taking a noticeably shorter stride in his right hind. I've always known he does that but when it was extremely noticeable to a judge and they point it out to me, I think about it more. I asked her to watch him move and she pointed it out again.

I started to freak out. What if i re-injured my horse because I pushed him too far to soon? I know it is only walk trot...but still. In the last class I had (Discipline Rail) I really felt it. He felt off in his front end too..he didn't feel this way in any of the other classes. He actually felt extremely lame for about 2 strides in the class. The judge didn't say anything though...

I couldn't smile throughout the class. I took my ribbon and jar of candy that I was disgusted  to have at that point in time and walked out of the class. Why did I do this to my horse for a lousy $2 ribbon? I was so upset. I was crying. I got off immediately, loosened the girth and thoroughly felt all of his legs. I didn't feel any swelling or heat or anything in his hooves. I took a deep breath and just sat there for a second. I couldn't comprehend it. Why did he feel so different in such a short amount of time? He was fine until we did trail... I walked him around and watched his legs and I saw it. It was worse than how he usually moves. He usually doesn't engage that leg as much (you can see in the video from the Fair) but this was just horrible.

I left the show, still crying, and texted my Aunt. We decided to give him Monday off and do a light stretchy ride Tuesday and re-evaluate then. We finally got back to the house after what seemed like a 3 hour car ride (it was actually only 20 minutes). I got him off the trailer and he was fine. He was moving 10x better and was in a great mood. Again, I texted my Aunt. We agreed that he was tired, sick of being stuck in a trailer for a while, and the footing was crappy (it got SOOOO deep by my last class, he probably had a hard time moving in it.) I wasn't convinced that that was the reason though. I still, to this moment, feel like I broke my horse and I am a terrible owner. In a few minutes, I am going to go ride him and see how he feels. *Fingers Crossed*

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Back At It

Jet is sound again! For the first few days, we kept it to a short 30 min w/t ride with mostly walking. He is now back to his normal workout. We have a lot to work on and fix but I am surprised at how he is doing for having 2 weeks off. Hopefully we will be ready for the Haskins Show this weekend. We were supposed to do Rehoboth Fair this Friday but I think ti would be overkill for a horse that just had 2 weeks off and the trailering is a lot on his legs so I think we will pass on it for this year. There is always next year! We also have backed out on the Breed Demo we were supposed to do the 21st. Mary-Kate decided not to bring her horse so I wouldn't want to waste a 15 min demo on just one horse. Instead, we will be going to a little jumper show at Clover Valley on the 22nd and *hopefully* we will do ground poles and x-rails!

Videos will be coming soon if this rain stops!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A new definition to accident prone

*knock on wood* It looks like Jet is sound again. I have had quite the hectic time trying to pinpoint what exactly he injured. At first, I saw the swollen, cut up knee. The swelling went down and then I saw the swollen cannon bone on the other front leg. That swelling also went down. Finally, I noticed a bit of swelling on his right hind near the fetlock. That is all cleared up too. Fingers crossed that he will actually be rideable again soon!

I swear this horse is trying to hurt himself. In the past, he has managed to get all sorts of cuts and scrapes in unusual places. He has even pulled a suspensory, broken his nose, and ripped half of his face off. He sure is unique!

Since he was unrideable for the Haskins show, I took my Mom's horse instead. I rode her maybe 6 times in the week and a half before the show and that was the only work she has gotten in months. I was worried about her being nervous in new places (like she usually is) but horses never cease to amaze me. Elsa was PERFECT! We ended up with three 1sts and a 2nd, which landed us champion Green Horse of the day and also matched me and Jet point wise for year end awards. I plan on finishing out the season with Jet as long as he is comfortable.

My discovery in Elsa's showing capabilities has rubbed off on my little sister. She had an unusual sudden interest in riding 24/7 and planning for shows with Elsa after I showed her. Funny how things work. It benefits everyone though. I got to ride Elsa (who I enjoy riding) and brought her to her first off farm show and it was a HUGE success, and now she is in regular work and will be out in the show circuit. My sister is actually taking her to a dressage show this weekend. I was planning to go with Jet but I'm not willing to push it so soon after his injury.

My Aunt is coming tomorrow to take a look at him and hopefully give the OK to ride again. I'll update soon!