My friend Dana and I decided to enter at the local fair this weekend. There were a few english flat classes, no jumping, and prize money so we thought it might be worth a shot! I took my moms horse to try and further her de-spooking and new atmosphere schooling. There isn't really a spookier place than a fair for a horse who has only ever shown in nice fancy ring all alone.
I entered the Grade Halter class to get her in the ring and let her take in the surroundings. I don't think I have ever done a halter class myself so Dana gave me a quick run down before the show started of the proper way to stand and move when the judge examines your horse. Ace was very good and I must have done ok because we won the class! $35 in my pocket, not much to complain about there!
The show was judged under AQHA rules, which if you know anything about this is totally different from your normal hunter type classes. Judges want to see a low head set, a "jog" instead of a trot, and a very very quiet type ride. I knew this was going to be a wash as Ace is pretty much the polar opposite of this but it was all for the experience. The midway was running, kids were screaming, trucks were going off, but I have to say Ace was pretty good and only had one really big spook.
The classes were big and placed in all of them surprisingly, I was pretty happy with Ace. She was a good girl for the most part, just still tries to throw her head up and take off at the canter when there are other horses in the ring. She needs work on this. We did our equitation class, which under AQHA judging consists of a pattern, then a flat portion to only one direction. Ace was good and we placed 4th out of 14, not bad considering we were competing against a totally different type of riding. I can't figure out if it's a good or a bad thing for my riding placing under AQHA judging. Nothing wrong with it just very different from what us eventers go for!
At the end of the class the roadsters showed up beside the ring and that was it for Ace. She had one look at them and decided she needed to leave and she needed to leave NOW. We had one more class but I called it a day when 3 more roadsters showed up and they started wheeling around at 50 mph. I can't understand why they decided to show the roadsters RIGHT beside the ring when they had an ENTIRE mile track that they could have used....but I will chalk this up as a very POOR decision. Half the horses in the next class had to stand in the middle they were so freaked out. After that class the western riders were warming up and they were not too impressed with the carts either. It's impossible to show your horse off, and to judge a class when all the horses are running sideways, or stopping and staring as if they have seen the end of the world itself. Big fail on the Fairs part...hopefully they learn for next year.
We're on the lookout for more Fairs...and more desensitizing!