Monday, June 13, 2011

Archie's Excellent Adventure Weekend Part 1

This weekend turned out to be a huge success!  I am feeling very relieved after this experience.  I was truly wondering for quite a while whether Archie would be able to handle the atmosphere and pressure of the show life.  The first and only time I took him to a show was the first year I had him.  I had no idea that he was as nervous and uncomfortable off property as he was, and after one class we basically had to throw him on the trailer and drive away quickly.  It was really stressful and disheartening at the time.  I have been slowly working over the past 3 years to reduce his anxiety both under saddle and off property.  He is such a naturally talented horse that I love to death.  After reaching the absolute end of my rope recently and finding myself crying in the barn after my rides we finally hit a breakthrough.  As I said in my last post I felt we were ready to finally attempt another show, the test of our training.  I am happy to report I was right, and I can finally see the light to the beginning of Archie and mines eventing debut.

  Friday night I packed the trailer, my show clothes, and the most hunterish tack I could find, trying not to forget anything.  I was going to bring Archie over to my friend Dana's place for the night and have a sleepover.  Archie loaded onto the trailer great and with only a short trip he didn't sweat at all.  I unloaded him and put him in one of Dana's freshly built stalls.  His new best friend Quartz that he has been spending a lot of time with was waiting for him.  He was happy and quiet in his stall, no worries, no stress so far. Yay!  We decided to have a short ride and then prep the horses for the morning.  Dana had just groomed a field and built a few small cross country fences.  She has just been at this farm for 6 months so is in the process of constant improvement and building.

Quartz waiting for Archie

The Studio at Danas

Our sweet ride
  Both horses were great for our ride.  Archie was relaxed and obedient.  We did a good flat warm up and popped over the cross country logs.  He was great!  No tension, no rushing, no balking, Yay!  Quartz was also a very good baby, she popped over everything no problem.  She has such a great relaxed temperament and is naturally scopey.  It's pretty neat to see her develop with Dana week by week.  A month ago they were barely they are jumping small courses! 

  After our ride we cleaned our talk, talked about life, braided, brushed and polished the ponies.  We went to bed and tried not to get too nervous about our showing debut the next morning.  5:30 am wake up call came and we had coffee and breaky with the horses, loaded, and we were on our way.  Once arrived at the show, we let the horses relax on the trailer for a while.  This was good!  Both stood and munched hay quietly the whole time.  I was very excited about this as I really, really didn't want to have to deal with a horse who won't stand on the trailer quietly.  This is no longer a worry for me.  We unloaded after the first class and since there really isn't a warm up ring there, we just went for a quick hack around the property before our class.

Our first class was Green as Grass cross rails.  A simple hunter pattern with 7 fences.   If I forget this I will quit riding completely I thought to myself.   Dana went in first.  She trotted Quartz most of the class and with only a couple of gawks she went over all the fences without problem.  I was up next.  I went in the ring just thinking to myself - get a good canter, stay straight, don't move and everything will be good.  I picked up a canter and made sure I had him going in front of my leg right away.  I cantered to the first fence and he popped over it, stayed nice and straight onto the second.  He went around the rest of the course like he had done it his whole life.  He didn't throw his head, rush, go sideways, or balk.  He cantered a nice forward canter in a consistent respectable pace.  I gave him huge pats and a big hug when we left the ring. YAY!  First course, a success!
Cutest Pony Ever.
Couldn't figure out why this trailer was so tall!
Off to the ring
Archie flying over his tiny x rails
  Our second class was similar, but with 2' verticals.  I went first this time and with the same thought in my head I picked up a nice working canter and did my course.  Archie was brilliant and even did a lead change!  He gave me the best little 2" hunter round a horse like him could possible do.  I heard someone outside the ring comment, "did you see that horse jump! Wow what a jump!".  I was thrilled!!  Two great rounds that were beyond my expectations.  Definitely a highlight in my year.  I waited outside the ring for Danas' round.  Archie stood quietly outside of the ring.  Even with horses and people walking all around him, he stood relaxed and still.  I was honestly shocked, this behaviour is better than most horses!    Dana put in a stellar round and cantered the entire course beautifully!  The horses 2nd ever course at her first ever show and she looked like a seasoned mare. Dana and I looked at each other and laughed - who are these horses!  We were ecstatic.

Relaxing after two tough classes! LOL

My past neighbour and her daughter - Blue on the right is 26. 
Dana with my new neighbour and her Appendix
 We took the horses for a little hack around the grounds before packing up to head home.  It was only 11 o'clock when we were done, but I had to head home so I could groom for my moms show that afternoon.  We heard our placings announced and I was 5th in the cross-rails out of 10 and Dana was 5th in the 2' out of 10 also. Team Green!  Whoo hoo!  Archie will never be a hunter, be he showed that the last 3 years of my effort have not been hopeless.  I feel confident that he is ready to get out and event and that he will do well.  I just can't get over how great he was, and the huge relief I am feeling.  I am SO excited to enter our first event in two weeks.  Going to keep doing what I'm doing in the meantime.


  1. Congratulations- it's lovely when persistence, patience, and practice pay off.

  2. Congratulations! Great the rider has something to do with the win too
    Benny & Lily

  3. Congrats!! Sounds like all of your hard work has definitely paid off!


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