I've definitely never been inspired to have a showing career with any of the horses that I've had, and while I've had a super duper day out on Louie this morning, I'm still not inspired to do so... Sorry to all you showing fanatics out there!! 😬
I've given it a go twice before - once after about 6 months when I first got back into riding with a little loan black mare, and the other when I gave Thomas a bit of a break from eventing in the middle of summer. While I always have had all more horses super shiny when going out competing, I really have felt the pressure of not only a clean horse but also keeping myself clean and my tack clean.
Thankfully, super groom Andrew's always on hand to whipping my tack up into shape! Meanwhile, keeping me clean is a different task entirely... I've no idea why or how, but I always end up with some sort of mark on my breeches before I get on or before I reach the arena, while everyone else always looks immaculate... 🙄
Anyway, with most of August dedicated to dressage, I thought it would be good to take Louie to something a bit different, where he's get used to different things going on around him, while having to stand still. So, my riding club runs a members only showing show at the end of August/beginning of September each year. I thought why not give it a go and entered a couple of classes
- Ridden Hunter
- Riding Club Horse
- Best Combination
As Louie lives out overnight and I was showjumping the evening before, I didn't want to keep him in the box, which meant a bit of an early start with a 6am alarm set for Sunday morning. To be fair, things didn't take me long, getting to the yard at 7am, and leaving at 8.30am, with a sweet 15 plaited mane... I think anyone who thinks it takes hours to get a grey clean, can see it doesn't! 👍
Louie's never really worked on grass, especially in a big field, so I was keen to see how he would settle. Perfect!! He wasn't a spot of bother. We were soon in our first class along with the other competitors, everything was going well, and while both Louie & I were tense, he was behaving well! I was definitely tense, primarily because I didn't really have a clue as to what I was doing!! I kept looking around at what everyone else was doing for a bit of guidance - thankfully I was able to easily follow. Louie was very excited when the judge asked the group to canter around together!!
We lined up and waited for our show, again, watching what everyone else was doing to make sure we were doing the right thing at the right time!! Louie did his little show and did a nice halt in front of the judge, before returning to his line up. I was REALLY impressed at how well Louie stood - he definitely is not known for his patience!
After everyone had their turn, we walked around again, before being pulled into the middle for THIRD PLACE!!! I was really impressed with my little fancy pants pony...
Thinking nothing of it, off we went for our lap of honour with the other placed combinations. Louie loved this most!!
After letting the under 15h Riding Club Horse class take place, it was time for us to head back to the ring for the second class. I was a little apprehensive, as a showjump out of place can cause a problem for Louie. He's never seen a showjump on grass before, nor has he really had to stand, trot around and then jump one jump in the middle... But we gave it a go.
I was again impressed with how well Louie's patience held out, thinking my luck might have run out and that he'd start to fidget the longer he was there. Nope! I was again amazed to be pulled into the middle - another THIRD!!!
We popped our rosette on the browband, but I obvisouly didn't do the best job of tucking in the ribbons as Louie was not best pleased at having them flap about in his eyes!! 😳
We were onto the final class, and I'd considered pulling out - for two reasons. The first was that Louie had been impeccably behaved - did I really need to do this class, what was I gaining from doing so? And secondly, there was a lot of combinations in it, and Louie already found cantering around together the best part!!
Anyway, I stayed, and I'm glad I did. Louie was actually much better cantering around together, and he had to stand for A LONG time while everyone did their individual shows. He shifted his weight around his legs, but never budged! I really could ask anymore of the horse that usually won't stand for long enough to blink!!
We walked around for the final time, and I was over the moon to see the judge pull us in for FOURTH!!
I went to this show with absolutely no expectations, and Louie had done so well getting some very positive comments from the judges, just his tension (as always) that brought him down.
So, if I had such a great day out, why isn't Showing for me?? Well, all the waiting around... There's so much of it!! Standing for a long time between classes, with no known start and end times, as well then getting into the ring and standing again... It's definitely not for me, but I did have a great morning enjoying my horse and as something different to do once in a blue moon, it was a good day out.
Enjoyed seeing our showing success? Make sure you pin the post so others can see how we got on too!