Thursday, September 27, 2018

War and Peace

I competed last weekend in the Manitoba Equestrian Championships and for the most part things went well. The temperatures dropped 15 degrees for both days of the show with wind and light rain. Most horses were feeling frisky to say the least.

Despite that, dressage proved to be our best tests to date and the combined stadium/xc course went without any issues and was so much fun both days.

If dressage means tight back, short and choppy steps...then we can totally stop practicing now.

Warmups for these was a completely different story. I almost fell off three times: first was when we were standing still and a "surprise horse" came out from behind a building. She did her famous 180 degrees in 0.005 milliseconds with a bolt and I was very surprised I was still on at the end of it.

Stadium and xc were combined to make life easier for organizers.
It was a fun but smallish course--really needed just a few more xc elements brought in.

She also lost her mind because of ponies in her warmup ring. At one point, we had just jumped a cross rail and were looping around to come again when a pony jumped and was heading in our direction. Shiraz could not handle a pony cantering towards her and she cat-leaped into the air and sideways and yet again--how was I still on?

Finally Shiraz lifting those knees!

Many, many more spooks happened (the completely ridable but very disruptive to staying on task type) and then the final marble fell out and she bolted to our warmup oxer with her ears up my nose as I was pulling so hard and then took a flyer that left me up in the air far too long. Sigh. Warmup arenas have definitely been difficult for Shiraz this summer.

On top of the spooks, Shiraz started to develop an attitude on day two. She was pretty sure we were done after the Sunday morning dressage and was not happy about being brought out for more after lunch. There was much pouting, sass, angry ears and sucking back in that final warmup but we got through it, and wouldn't you know, it all disappeared once out on course.

Dressage--winning because we stayed in the box (and got both our canter leads!!!)

Yet out on course she was a saint.

This was our final competition of the year and I'm left with a mixed bag of feelings. Shiraz is definitely starting to get the game of xc and even humors me in the sand box. But, there is so much work to do in getting her to understand I am fully in charge when riding, even in a busy warmup arena.

The easiest, most relaxed part of our day out on the fun little starter level course.
I must admit, I am relieved there are no more shows on the horizon. I have put in a lot of riding time/training rides/worrying about my horse/$$$$$ these past few months and I am ready to just not for a bit. I think Shiraz would agree it is time for a break. This horse. ugh. I am not sure whether to shower her with carrots or call the glue factory for a pickup. One thing is for sure, I will be very happy once the "green horse" phase is thoroughly passed.


  1. damn, way to be seriously sticky tho!!!! and congrats on seeing everything through to produce nice rides once out on course, that jumping clip looks really really good! warm up rings can be so hard tho.... here's hoping Shiraz will keep maturing over the winter!

    1. I am really hoping the same thing. In the meantime, I will continue to peruse sale adds for geldings...

  2. Too bad the warmup ring was so stressful but she did her job in the arena which is super important! I bet she'll settle with time in the warmup ring :) Hope you two enjoy a nice break!

    1. I mean, eventually I hope she is going to figure out warmup areas are not a pit of certain death. In the meantime, I'm just glad we don't have to be in one any time soon!

  3. Warm up rings can be really really hard on young horses. It sounds like she just didn't know where to put her attention. It used to totally fry Irish. I had to develop a set of exercises that were part of our calming routine. Those helped but mostly it was just miles. Lots and lots of miles. I hear you on the 'who's in charge here anyway' thing.

    1. Having a familiar exercise to turn to would be super helpful I think for both of us. :)


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