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FENCE Starter CT: Oh What A Kerfluffle

It all started with this text on Thursday with my Farrier:

Someone go back and time and slap me in the head

I had hoped to sneak out of work a little early on Friday to do all my show prep: clean my tack, ride Eeyore in his dressage legal bit for the first time in months, set up my dressage court to run through my test at least once before the show, pack, bathe the beast etc….

Except I didn’t get out early. In fact I got out later than ever. Ok. No big deal. It stays light later I could still sneak in a short ride.

Thanks Universe!

So there I was at 5:15pm the evening before the show putting a hoof boot on my horse and throwing all my plans to ride out the window.

He didn’t even bother to look sad about this either

I called the show office but no farrier was scheduled to be there the next day. My farrier could not come out that evening and Trainer didn’t get a response from hers. It looked like the show was a scratch so I did what every good horsewoman in this situation would do: I went to Tipsy Taco to drown my sorrow in queso.

While there a friend called me to tell me that she got in touch with her farrier for me and he was happy to meet me and tack back on the shoe, which I fortunately found in the pasture. God, I love horse people.

Said friend was the announcer at the show and snagged this photo which is now my all time favorite. She thought she was being sneaky. I had no clue she took it from behind us. Look at that professional level side eye from Eeyore!!! I’m dying.

Also- look it’s Bette in the background!

This did mean that I needed to switch back into horse show mentality at 8:30pm. I had a disgusting horse that hadn’t been ridden since Tuesday, muddy tack, an unpacked trailer and only a vague sense of my dressage test. I went home and went to bed.

The next morning I did my best to knock the two inch thick layer of grime off my disgusting horse, roughly cleaned my tack and threw everything in the trailer so I could meet the farrier at 8:30 am. My dressage time was 10:58 am and I planned to get on at 10:15 am. The farrier arrived right on time, tacked it back on in 15 seconds (omg but Eeyore was the best boy! I have to write an entire post on how great he was at this show in general) and then spent 30 minutes discussing biomechanics and his hooves. Which, great. I love the education but I have to show and I don’t have time for this right now.

Somehow he learned how to grow up and be mature at the trailer.

At this point I figured we were a go for this show and all the gremlins were exhausted. Hahahahahahah. Nope.

When I went to check in, I walked past Trainer and said hello. I mentioned that perhaps I didn’t dress appropriately. You see, I had grabbed my dark green tights in the pitch black of my room trying not to wake the hubby that morning and while I did have my white show shirt and coat it really wasn’t a great dressage picture. Plus every single other person was in white or tan. This was a schooling show and I’m sure they wouldn’t have said anything but I really stuck out like the red headed step child.

Friend also grabbed this one for me.

Of course this is Trainer and she just said “go find my trailer. I have tan breeches inside”. Which then led to a 20 minute hunt for a trailer I only vaguely remembered. Eventually I sorta guessed which was hers. I laughed as I slid into a pair of tan breeches I found and hoped I hadn’t just stolen pants from a stranger.

At this point it was 950 and I had wanted to be on by 10:15. I still had to tack up and change into my show shirt/coat and my nerves were shot. I managed to get on him in time, but then realized I forgot my gloves and just said screw it.

A enter trot and thank the Universe this will be over with quickly.

I ran into Bette at this point and jokingly said something along the lines of getting all the issues out before I mounted so now the ride would be amazing.

Someone. Please. Make. Me. Stop.

I’m going to blame a lot of the warm up on me. Is there a class on how to deal with it? I get soooo tense. I hate it. One person claims the entire far end with her trainer and stays on a circle that you can’t get around. Another person is doing a huge figure 8 that is sorta haphazard so no matter what I did I’m cutting her off. Others are zig zagging. At one point I just halted in the center and hyperventilated. I was doing my best to pass left shoulder to left shoulder but people were going right and hugging the rail which made it impossible and I froze.

Which obviously was great on my wound up, hadn’t been ridden in forever horse who doesn’t handle warm up all that well himself.

Trot right and pretend you are scared of the rail. It helps to spend the entire test counterbent as you creep on all the horses having more fun in the jumper ring beside you.

At this point I saw Trainer waving to me at the rail. I made my way over and she offered to get on and canter him around. I asked if that was legal and she said it was fine. I wasn’t so sure but I was happy to hand him over.

And then he promptly bucked her off.

Want to feel smaller than small? Have your horse throw your Trainer in the dirt in a crowded warm up when you aren’t really sure she was actually allowed to even be on him in the first place.

This show was going super.

Do you get bonus points for flare in the canter transition?

She got back on, rode him hard, he looked like he regretted his life decisions hard core and then she gave him back to me. Thankfully by this point there were only a few people left in the warm up arena, so I kept my brain from melting and we actually had a decent warm up.

Before long we entered at A and laid down the worst dressage test in history. It isn’t even worth a play by play.

We actually looked like a dressage pair as we headed across the diagonal to change to the left rein.

On the plus side we did do all the things we were supposed to do when we were suppose to do them. Even the odd canter circles at A which aren’t done fully at the canter. We got both our leads correctly, didn’t canter the entire test and stayed inside the white fence. All base line good things.

We also went around counterbent as he gawked at the jumper ring next door, pretended to be afraid of the rail/letters and remained tense. I knew we’d get dinged for not being on the rail, but I also knew that putting my inside leg on to shove his orange butt over would break him to canter and I decided to take the hit on my track versus breaking gait.

We ended with a square halt and a really pissy look on his face. If that doesn’t say “screw this shit” I don’t know what does.

We scored 43.3. Ouch. All comments were either “not on rail” or “counterbent”. End comments were “score will lower once proper bend and track achieved”. Which. Yup. Can’t argue that.

Trainer said it’s time to learn shoulder something. Fore? In? Can’t remember at the moment. But she said it would help with his penchant for going around looking outside the arena the entire time. I also want to discuss the bit options with her. I hate this full cheek. He completely blows me off and I have zero half halt or ability to get him round. Yes, I know bits aren’t magical and it is a rider issue. He goes so lovely and round in the Pessoa and I feel like I can talk to him then become quiet in that bit versus screaming and him still putting his hooves in his ears and going “lalalalalalla I can’t hear you“ in the full cheek. But sadly the Pessoa isn’t dressage legal so I’m going to talk to Trainer about it and see what my options are.

Anyway here is the video if you want to see it in all its three minute glory

I went back to the trailer to let us both rest before our stadium round at 12:55 and contemplated if he was the right horse for me after all, if Eventing was the right discipline and if maybe I shouldn’t have even come.

Then stadium happened……

17 thoughts on “FENCE Starter CT: Oh What A Kerfluffle”

  1. I am glad you survived the test and glad your trainer (sorry not sorry) was the one to hit the dirt not you 🙂 I think you did what you could to get through it so there is that.Also Remus hated a D ring and a Full Cheek and once i put him in a loose ring french link it was like the angels sing. Since we are now on lockdown maybe you can try some diff bits on him just to see what works. Good luck!! And I saw photos on Insta of your jumping so pretty sure that tale will be better 😉 I also despise warmup at events and often find the damn dressage one worse than the jumping? WTF…

    Also Eeyore, lets keep the shoes on now mmmkay?

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    1. Jump warm up doesn’t bother me because at least everyone is going one direction. It can be a bit harrowing if you get cut off before or after the jump but I do call out all my jumps and pay attention. Dressage though. That’s another story. It’s crazy and I shut down. I need to learn how to deal better.

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  2. I’ve definitely had worse tests, it’s just part of the process – having your horse flip you the middle finger mid-test. Warm-ups can be such a cluster. It’s a skill I have left from my days showing AQHA where people would literally lope into you. You can’t be afraid to stare some bitches down and give looks of murder.

    Bit-wise, I just had a great experience working with the Horse Bit Bank in the UK via email.

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  3. Eeyore’s face says it all: “next time I will lose my shoe right before we leave”. 😀 You held it together and rode it well. And yes, it’s shoulder fore.

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  4. Oh man, yea the warm up is definitely an entire class unto itself haha. Sorry it proved so stressful! Figuring out the “right” warmup is tricky too bc honestly for most horses it changes over time and with training. Like… I’m recognizing now that Charlie needs something different from me to do a first level test than he had to do the training level tests. It’s an adjustment.

    The atmosphere is something we can sorta practice tho, sorta. Tho it’s easier when you ride at a busier boarding barn haha. Maybe it’s possible to do the occasional group lesson instead of private? Just riding more often in company in the shared space of an arena has really helped Charlie. Also it’s taught me that the “pass left to left” is unreliable and it’s much safer to simply use your voice to call out whether you’re going “inside” or “outside.” Either way, sorry it wasn’t an ideal preparation!!

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    1. It’s 100% a me issue not an Eeyore issue. I mean he did dump Trainer but honestly he wasn’t being any worse than typical. It’s all me freezing up, getting tense and focusing so much on the crowd and what they are doing to try to avoid them that I forget to actually ride my horse and give him what he needs.

      Jump warm up doesn’t do this to me because everyone goes over the jumps one way. Or mostly. All I have to do is call out my fence and hope nobody cuts me off before or after.

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  5. Ugh shoeing and showing. Ramone once got the same shoe tacked on by the same show farrier one week apart from each other. D’oh. Sounds like it was a rough show due to all the surrounding circumstances – stuff like that sucks but is really out of your control.

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