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Show Recap: November Burkwood Schooling Show

Show Recap: November Burkwood Schooling Show

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 fourthree 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 haltsso 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 sleepya 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 happeneven 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.

Show Recap: May 13th LWSC Hunter Schooling Show

Show Recap: May 13th LWSC Hunter Schooling Show

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 goodhigh 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 arenahe 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 perfecta 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 backIT 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 independentand 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!

Show Recap: November 5th Eagle Mountain Schooling Show

Show Recap: November 5th Eagle Mountain Schooling Show

I’m nicknaming this “the show that almost didn’t happen”, since my car hit snow/ice/slush/gross while I was merging into my exit lane on the way to the barn and I skidded to a stop about five feet away from crashing into a barrier. The bad start to my morning didn’t make me super psyched for a day of showing in 33° weather, despite having thermal leggings under my breeches.

Oh look, it’s a Raglan in the dark #TOODAMNEARLY

I got to the barn extra early so that I’d have a chance to lunge Rags and have a light ride on him before we headed for the show. I groomed him/took out his bands while he ate, then we got down to business. Our ride went super well, he was very calm and focuseda great confidence booster right before the show!

He didn’t seem to care what time it was

Rags loaded up like a champion and we started the short but snow-ridden journey to Eagle Mountain. We pulled in just before 7:00am, with just enough time for us to make it to the arena right as it opened for warmup. We were the first ones in the arena and I used the time to handwalk him around it.

Too excited for photos, obviously

He didn’t look twice at anything, so we quickly moved onto the lunge.

I was just wrapping up the lunging when TrainerM arrived. We adjusted the irons and she climbed aboard Rags to take him for a couple of walk laps.

She only got about half a lap in before dismounting and declaring him “not ready”. She hopped back off and sent us to do more handwalking, but the moment he was back to power walking beside me he seemed bored.

“I think it’s you,” TrainerM said. “You’re his security blanket. I’ve only been on him twice; he doesn’t know me. You’re going to have to just get on him.”

I was wary, but TrainerM talked me into getting on even though I didn’t feel super prepared. I went to ask him to walk forward and he immediately balked (“too many ponies out there, mom”), so TrainerM turned our warmup into a personalized pony ride instead. TrainerM had me tighten up on the reins and had me find a “firm handshake” that connected me to the bit. Every time his head moved she had me lift or lower my hands to keep the straight line from my elbow down to the bit.

Also, “more leg”, which I’m pretty sure is TrainerM’s favorite phrase.

Another rider from my lesson program came into the arena, so TrainerM detached herself from us and we continued on alone. The snow had scared a lot of people away but there was still more horses in the arena than Raglan had ever seen before. There were only a couple of moments where I felt him get nervous (one of which was when someone with a very lazy horse kiss kiss kiss kissed her horse into the canter right next to us). We even did a little bit of trotting jigging before the warmup hour was over!

Once classes were started, we quickly discovered Raglan’s greatest weakness: waiting. He couldn’t handle it. He started squirming in place, threatening to back into other horses, and smashing his big head into anyone close to him (sorry TrainerM 😳). We ended up having to go walk around the grounds in the snow while we waited for our classes to come up.

At least all that walking in the cold made for some uber cute pictures

Luckily it wasn’t long before I was back on Rags and coaxing him out into the arena. There was only one other rider in my class (and I couldn’t remember if it was an eq or a pleasure class, soooooooo) and we giraffe-walked/trotted our way into a second place ribbon because apparently I missed my diagonal while the judge was looking. The judge and the ring steward really liked Rags, thoughthey could tell he was young and enthusiastic, plus they said he “looks like a warmblood” (AKA he faaaaancy).

We came out of our class and went right back to handwalking. I must have looked funny walking my giant horse around out in the snow. We ducked into the round pen every once in a while to dry off, but Rags seemed to legitimately enjoy exploring the ranch, so we spent most of our time outside.

oh my god I’m so bad at selfies 😨😨😨😨😨

We were the only entry in our second class, so the woman running the in gate sent us in alone. Raglan marched out along the arena wall and happily strutted his way through the class. I felt a lot more confident, so I put more leg on and tried to get him to stretch himself out a little bit more (no luck, but he did jig a bit quicker in response 😂). We came away with a blue ribbon (duh) and a small sample pack of treats that he immediately jammed in his mouth once his bridle was off.

And just like that Raglan’s first show was a wrap! I’m super happy with how it went. He was very distracted, but he was sensible and whenever he felt unsure he paused to check in with me instead of reacting off of instinct. We didn’t have any incidents and, most importantly, I met my #1 goal: I stayed on the horse! When it comes down to it I’m actually kind of thankful for the snow, since it gave the show a small turnout that I’m sure was integral to our success.

Now we just need to go to 1,000,000 more of these so that he thinks they’re old hat.

Our ride was a little late picking us up, so we spent some time grazing out in front of the barn 😀

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