I’m an organized, color-coded person. And yet, somehow I managed to spend seven hours at the barn on Friday and still not feel like I was properly prepared when it came time to load Raglan up. Next time we go to a show I need more checklists, another rolling Husky tub, and for the barn staff to remember not to turn my horse out so that I don’t have to give him a SECOND bath!
As always, getting Raglan onto the trailer was a trial. TrainerK’s been showing horses for over twenty years, though, and she showed me a really nifty trick for loading him! One person leads the horse up to the trailer while the other uses two lunge lines hooked up to the side of the trailer to create pressure on his hind end.
An hour and a half later, he unloaded like a pro and settled into his home away from home for the weekend. The stalls were a little on the small side, but he didn’t seem to mind.
Once the trailer was parked and the living quarters were hooked up to power/water, we came back to the barn so that TrainerK could school horses. She brought four—three training horses and her personal hunter.
One of my big worries about taking Raglan out to show was that he would have problems with the filler, since we don’t have flowers, fancy standards, or a huge selection of colored rails at our barn. I had visions of him slamming on the breaks or jumping eight feet in the air. I shouldn’t have worried, though! He didn’t even glance at any of the jumps. TrainerK’s biggest complaint was that he was blowing past her half halts—so pretty consistent with the rides she’s been having at home, too.
The next day she switched out his French link eggbutt for a Dr. Bristol full cheek to give herself more stopping power. He rode nicely in the warmup, despite being very excited to be there.
His classes went well, too! He rode in the 2’3″ division. No rails, no stops. TrainerK is confident that “the jumps aren’t the problem, it’s the stuff between the jumps”—LISTEN BETTER, HORSE.
He went in two classes and even managed to get fifth in one of them, despite not being a hunter horse.
That night, after we’d helped the show crew set up the jumper course for the next day, I tacked Raglan up and hacked around the main ring (in my BRAND NEW SADDLE—but more on that later!). We walked over some ground poles, trotted some circles, and just had a very chill experience together while TrainerK hand-walked her other green bean/provided adult supervision.
The next day TrainerK moved him up a division to the 0.75m jumpers. His classes didn’t run until the afternoon, so I tacked Raglan up and putzed around in the warmup with him for a while. He was great! We walked, trotted, and did some lateral work. I felt happy and safe.
I spent the rest of my morning chatting with some friends from my barn while we watched the lower divisions ride. One of them was riding jumpers for the first time and was nervous about a turn that her trainer had asked her to make. We spent a long time trying to decide if the turn was possible. Our final decision? Yes, but only if you were on a tiny pony or had a lot of finesse to your ride…
Later, Raglan came out of his stall looking sleepy—a sure sign he was going to be a hellion under saddle. TrainerK’s experience kept him from murdering any innocent kid/pony bystanders in the warmup ring, but it was a close call. Raglan, why you gotta be so EXTRA?
He also wanted us to know that 0.75m is insulting to his talent.
By the time he went in for his classes, though, he’d found his chill. He took a rail in the jump off of his first round, but then came back for a really spectacular ride in the $100 0.75m Jumper Classic.
The best part? TrainerK, who had listened to all of us talk about turning inside of the island, saw the opportunity to shave off some seconds and showed us how to make it happen—even if you’re on a 16.3h green OTTB with questionable breaks and steering. It. was. AWESOME.
In fact, it was so awesome that it WON THE WHOLE CLASS. Here’s the full ride:
I was so proud. When I saw the results sheet, I might have made a scene that involved me shouting TrainerK’s name over and over again in astonishment. I’m that client. #sorrynotsorry
And as if I couldn’t be more happy with his performance over the weekend, he loaded onto the trailer to go back home with 0 ANTICS. Who is this horse!? When did he get to be so professional!?
I’m so pleased with how Raglan behaved this weekend. Watching TrainerK ride him without any refusals or spooking gave me a lot of confidence. He wasn’t crazy or uncontrollable; he rode exactly like he rode at home. TrainerK wants to get him a little more “broke at the canter”, but once he stops kicking out like a wild man I’m confident that I’ll be able to show him over fences, too.