Win #1 of the show day: Raglan got into the horse trailer with just one small flick of a lunge whip. The more places we go, the better he gets about loading into the trailer (as long as the trailer is huge, that is).
The moment we unloaded at Bridle Trails I looped a chain around his noseband for a little extra stopping power and we went for a walk. Bridle Trails is a big park (482 acres!), with three arenas and a 28-mile trail system. We walked down the short bridle path that connects the parking lot to the arena area, then wandered around watching horses canter past in the warmup and cheering on the 2’6″ division from a grassy knoll right outside of the main arena. He was pushy, but not spooky.
We came back to the trailer and he munched from his hay bag while I changed into my tall boots. I ate a tiny breakfast and then we went over to the round pen for a lunge, where he was suspiciously chill.
In the mean time, the rest of the R2R team had found the list of projected start times and started shuffling their classes around so that we wouldn’t be stuck at Bridle Trails until 6:30PM. TrainerM and I walked down to the show office and she kept an eye on Raglan while I switched our flat class up to an earlier division. Raglan was a good boy and stood very patiently while I filled out my add/drop form.
The classes chugged along and I tacked Raglan up (with his breastplate/running, because I didn’t want to get my face smashed LOL). We walked back to the arena area and I got on and walked him down the lane and into the warmup without any troubles. We had one small moment where a horse cantered towards and he got snotty and threatened to kick when they passed, but otherwise he was good—high energy, but good!
All of the lateral stuff we’ve been working on was so helpful. Any time he felt like he was getting a little too excited I would slide my leg back and he’d refocus on our haunches in.
I wasn’t certain that we were going to canter, but the moment felt right! The first time he tried to launch us into orbit, but then I quieted my aids down to the softest of whispers and we had a good time cantering around the warmup. He felt SO POWERFUL, it was a huge thrill!
We warmed up way too early, so I hopped off, loosened his girth, and switched back to his halter so that he could graze. At some point I really had to pee, so I tied him near the restroom and left him to his own devices for a couple of minutes. He tried to dig a hole to China (and then nickered so cute when I came out and hollered at him to quit it), but it’s nice that I can trust him to tie without supervision.
Of course, then classes started flying by and suddenly I was rushing to the trailer to put his bridle back on. We hurried back to warmup, but I only got to trot a couple of laps before we were going into the main arena for our class. There was a delay while the judge sorted out the papers for the last class, though, so I got the chance to trot Raglan around the jumps that were set up in the arena—he didn’t even glance at all of the flowers and with a little bit of practice they looked totally jumpable.
The class got underway. He was so amped that I didn’t think we’d canter, but when the announcer called for it I threw caution to the wind. He was perfect—a complete giraffe, but a PERFECT giraffe.
We switched directions and… that’s the moment that my allergies kicked in. I kid you not, I did the rest of the class with tears streaming down my face from all of the pollen in the air. I could barely see!
We ended up with a 4th place ribbon (AKA last place LOL), which was just fine in my books. Despite all of the people on Instagram and in person that say that Raglan’s got a hunter-esque trot/canter, I’ve never had any aspirations of winning a HUS class with him. The jumpers are in our future!
I walked him out in the warmup, then we went back to the trailer and I untacked him and dumped a bucket of water over his back—IT WAS SO HOT OUT AND MY ALLERGIES WERE KILLING ME.
Sunday was a day filled with success! We lunged alone. We warmed up alone. We went into our class alone. He ate his hay. He drank lots of water. He stood tied up while I ran to the restroom. He got in and out of the trailer without complaint. He was such a star, I was so proud of him! We were completely independent—and it felt like we could have easily jumped a couple of courses.
This show was so encouraging, I’m already looking at the calendar to pick our next outing!