Sunday, April 26, 2009

From bad...To WORSE... To Oh, WOW! Wonderful!

Yesterday started out lousy and went downhill from there!
I woke up with an upset stomach.
I looked outside and, although the sun was shining, the wind was blowing 35-50 mph gusts!
The trailer was all hitched (thanks, Al) and everything but the horse and the brush bucket was loaded (I thought). But for the first time ever, Maddie wouldn't load. I assume it had something to do with the wind whistling through the various cracks and crevices. We spent about 20 minutes discussing it, and finally, with a little motivation from the horse-beater--er, buggy whip--she finally went in.
I got half-way down to the main road and realized I didn't have my glasses on--not a really big deal: I can see, but it gives me headaches.
I got halfway to town and, while stopped at an intersection, a little car behind me tooted, to let me know my tackroom door was open. I got out to close it, and realized that the reason it was not closed was that it was waiting for me to put the brush bucket inside (I had carried it out in one hand, while leading Maddie with the other; I set it down near the tackroom to load her). [Turns out, I not only left it home, but ran over it with the trailer! Expensive de-tangler gel tube burst, black hoof polish stuck to bunches of stuff, ergonomic mane comb a lost cause!]
I got to the fairgrounds and realized I didn't have my show vest, belt, gloves, or number pins. (I had remembered my helmet, because I had cleaned it up the night before. Without it (or if not able to find one to borrow), I would have returned home. I also did not have either of my still cameras (hence no pictures for you, save one), nor had I been able to check out the school video camera as planned due to a computer glitch (something about a $2183.00 fine?).

The first good thing: never being sure how slowly 4H shows will progress, I had arrived plenty early: they were just starting the four small driving classes, after the showmanship, and then we had all of the English classes before green horse. I had plenty of time, which was good, because I spent a good half hour in the ladies room dealing with the results of my upset tummy.

The second good thing, Maddie warmed up fairly nicely on the longe line. She was a little fidgety back at the trailer afterwards, while I dealt with a bloody nose! (Second one this week, never for any apparent reason!) The wind chill justified wearing my spare insulated vest--a fairly snazzy black and white check--instead of strictly show clothing. And it was long enough to hide the fact that I was beltless. (No fear, my good jeans are tight enough there is NO WAY they could fall down!) And I had a fairly new and therefore nice pair of leather gloves I could fake it with.

Third good thing: I had ONE body brush in the tackroom to give her a once over, but it had been nice enough Friday afternoon that I had given Maddie a quick bath, and put on her blankie overnight, so she was fairly clean. I used a human hairbrush for a quick comb out of her mane and tail.

Fourth good thing: They had scheduled a green horse warm-up (no doubt to give the judge a potty break), so we were able to get in the not-too-crowded arena--there were eight of us showing greenies. Maddie only once reacted to someone coming up behind her, otherwise she seemed right at home. She was a lot stronger than two weeks ago, and I did a lot of circles and serpentines to get her paying attention, but she was still fussing at the bit, and was setting her jaw when I tried to establish light contact. She was, however, responding to leg cues very nicely, so I shifted as much of my control as I safely could there.

I had pre-entered in both walk-jog classes. I didn't even decide until the night before whether to do English or Western (we had the choice)--my Prix de St. Georges saddle feels SO good, and is very secure and much easier on my poor arthritic knees and ankles (not to mention that it's a LOT easier to hoist up on the horse). But Friday afternoon, I had gotten a very nice lope at home, and thought I might try the walk-jog-lope classes, depending on Maddie's attitude. So I opted for the Western saddle, just to have a little more leather to grab, if need be.

So for the first classes, little Miss Snot had her jaw set, and her nose four miles in front of us rooting at the bit, but her gaits were smooth and even and she stood nicely in the line-up. She pulled a purple ribbon (seventh) in both equitation and pleasure.
The little buckskin that had cleaned up two weeks ago was being a little jerk this day.
One of my 5th graders from school placed behind me in the first class, and just ahead of me in the second. She was very discouraged, as she is used to doing very well with her "made" horse, and her greenie is giving her a lot more challenge.
One of the vets from my clinic also placed well with her little rescue, at their first ever show.
I was chatting with the other re-rider that took the blue in both classes, and though we didn't have much time to visit, her big sorrel seems to be, if not a rescue, at least an upgrade.

This was only Maddie's 15th ride, and I had only really loped her twice or three times at home. But a couple of the other re-riders encouraged me to at least give the lope classes a shot, for schooling's sake, and just pull out if Maddie wasn't ready (they didn't seem to consider whether I was ready!). Only six of us went on to the lope classes, so there would be plenty of room. In the eq class, the judge must have given me points for avoiding a wreck: when the naughty buckskin lost it right in front of me, and ended up crowding another horse who then also had a "moment," I managed to navigate around it all, though I lost my lope. When we picked it up again, Maddie was on the wrong lead, but I decided to let her continue, as she was going up the long side by then, and was as balanced as she's ever been at the lope. I didn't want to "punish" her for her good effort. She maintained her composure on the counter-canter around the far end, and dropped right down to a nice relaxed walk when it was announced. We were pinned fourth!

Finally, the last class for us was the w-t-lope green horse pleasure. By now, she was a little worn out, plus we had had plenty of practice. She did the whole class on a mostly loose rein, listening well to my leg cues, and loped two full circuits each way without a hitch! In the line-up, they announced sixth, fifth, fourth...Had they forgotten to add my post entry?...
She was THIRD!

Those are mine?

Do they taste good?I'm NOT impressed!
Put me out in the pasture with the rest of the girls.
Now THAT will impress me!


  1. Go Maddie!

    One thing about commuting by train is that I MUST be organized before getting out the door in the morning, because there is no way that I can turn back if I don't have everything I need. I am a pretty organized person to begin with, but this has honed my skills in all aspect of my life. I ALWAYS used to forget something crucial for flyball tournaments (usually my chair), but I haven't in ages.

  2. Good for you for hanging in there and pulling your ride together, in spite of the setbacks. It often seems that when you have to work through some challenges, the pay off is a surprise success. Maddie is lovely!

  3. Aw, she is beautiful! Congratulations, Maddie! Of course we all know why you didn't want to load - you were trying to say "Haven't you forgotten something??????" Clever horse!