Saturday was spent getting Steele used to the show from the ground. But I did plan to ride on Sunday. I figured that lunch time would be a good time to ride in the warm up ring because most people would be eating. That turned out to be wrong. There were people in the ring and one was a young paraequestrian rider. That meant that I couldn't lunge. I decided to do some work in hand, keeping him close. I did let him out to the end of the lead line but no further. This did limit what I could do but he seemed to be listening so I got on.
That turned out to be a mistake. He walked around obediently enough but I could feel him vibrating underneath. I kept breathing deeply and conveying calm thoughts but it didn't work. I could feel him getting more and more balled up. I had to stop and think about this. My goal was not to prove that I could ride him through a melt down. My goal was to teach him that it was all no-big-deal. This was not meeting my goal so I dismounted.
My friend let me know that the show ring was empty so I headed in and began to lunge him. I could see him relax and he was allowed to move out freely. We worked for about 10 mins and then the tractor came in to drag the ring. We had to leave and wait but as soon as he was done we were back in. Then the rider for the next class came in so we left. I went back to the warm up ring and decided to get on and see how things felt.
He felt much better. He was still tense and on alert but much more listening and we were able to work. I did my best to stay out of the way of the riders warming up but they were very generous about sharing the ring. After about 20-30 minutes I decided that he had done very well and we should stop. I halted and dismounted and told him that he was brilliant.
We hung out together until the show was over and then we went in for the awards. He took it all in. Until he got bored and decided that rolling seemed like the best thing to do. He was not impressed with me stopping that idea.
|look closely- we're on the far left|
|hey where's my ribbon?|
I had big plans to ride in the show ring after the show was over but once it was all done and I helped clean up I was frankly too exhausted to even contemplate it. Instead I fed him and told him that tomorrow was his big day- we were riding in the clinic!
What could possibly go wrong?