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Horse Show

No Capes!

Last weekend, Keira went to a horse show at a local barn. It was a great show! There were some very high level riders and horses there, and it was great for her to see that and compete against them. Even with all of that, it was a fun laid back show as well. They had a Halloween Costume class, which girls and horses always love!

Keira “dressed” Remi up as a giant Beenie Baby – and she dressed as a Beenie Babie riding him. She loves having fun with her horses! while they were in the warm up arena waiting for the costume class to start, she decided to pop him over a small cross rail jump :-)

beeniejump

 

He’s such a good boy and so tolerant! You’d never know he was just 5 if someone didn’t tell you! There were super hero horses (red and blue capes), princesses (giant white dresses with flowing capes), unicorns . . . lots of fun costumes. So fun!

Yesterday, she had a lesson with her Western instructor (doing it all with this smart guy!). They had a Halloween party with all of the girls and their horses. Keira was riding Remi around the arena while the other girls finished costuming and tacking up their horses. Remi was doing great – UNTIL – a horse with a black cape came walking in.

Remi FREAKED. Started galloping and hopping around – Keira ended up bailing (no tack!). So thankful for Amara and teaching the girls emergency dismounts  . . . but Remi is still tall and she fell hard, even when under control. He was about a foot from stepping on her – and in about 1.5 seconds I thought “If he steps on her, we’re done with horses. Everything goes.” Of course he didn’t and of course we aren’t. But JEEZ!

He stopped being a freak once she was off. She got up and did the body check – sore back and sore elbow, but other than that, she’s fine. Luckily the arena is quite cushy with all the sand!

I asked her if she wanted to continue or go home. She said nothing. She was M.A.D.! She stomped him over to the trailer – with purpose, I might add (if you’ve never seen a girl in a pig costume mad at her horse dressed as a Beenie Baby – oh my is it a sight! LOL!). She took off her costume, saddled him up, and took him back in the arena. And boy did he learn that if his girl falls off, the next 15 minutes will not be pretty for him. She lunged him until he was sorry and rode him like there was no tomorrow – making him do anything and everything.

Then she got back into the Halloween Party mode. For the rest of the lesson, he was funny! He kept his eye on the horse with the black cape. He never flinched again, but he certainly knew where that horse was at all times!

They played bobbing for donuts – they had to walk under a rope that had donuts swinging from it and get one in their mouth without using their hands.

If this isn’t the face of a horse who really has no clue why he did what he just did and is forever sorry he threw his girl, I don’t know what is :-)

donut

He is soooooo looking right at me! I can see his eyes saying “I’m sorry! How is this? Am I standing still enough? Is this good? Is she still mad at me?”

What we learned today?

Red, blue, white, and green capes are OK. Black? Not so much.

Always trust your mother’s instinct. I did not feel good about her getting on him bareback yesterday. No clue why. He responds so well when she’s tackless – such great communication between the two of them. But I just didn’t feel good about it. I asked her multiple times if she was sure and did she want to put the saddle on and if not at least use the bridle so she has some head control. She said no no no. Next time I might tell instead of ask. I’m not sure what’s more difficult – watching your baby get thrown off a horse or watching your baby get back on!!!

One of My Favorites

This is one of my favorite photos from this past weekend’s horse show. Princess was so excited about the show and wanted to do the walk/trot/canter classes. She’s been working so hard! I knew it would be a challenge for her once she got in the arena with 10+ other riders. She’s still nervous around other horses. Cowboy was amazing. He was calm and knew what to do for her.

After the first class, she placed 7th out of 10 and rode over to me. She was almost crying and said she didn’t want to do more. She wanted to be done.

I said no. Go back out there and do the next class. We’ll see how it goes.

She turned around and went back out there.

If she REALLY didn’t want to, she would’ve protested, but she didn’t.

She took 5th in that class.

She came over and said she wanted to be done.

I said just do one more and see how it goes.

3rd place.

2 classes later, this was what happened.

A smile and a blue ribbon for 1st :-)

So proud of her for sticking it out and overcoming her fear! She so loves her horse and riding and even the shows . . . and I couldn’t let her run out after the first couple of classes (even though I could see the stink eye of other show moms thinking I was such a terrible person!). She was supposed to ride in 4 classes Saturday. She asked to be in every class she could after that, which meant 10.

Many thanks to my friends, MS and QT, and her trainer, Amara, for understanding why I made my daughter go back out there when she was begging to be done.

Jumping in Pictures

And of course, text . . . because it’s ME! did you think I could have a post without any words? :-)

A couple Saturdays ago, Princess had another horse show. Talk about a learning experience!

My little Princess had started to act like just that on her horse . . . a Princess. A 60 pound Princess who forget her 900 pound horse is ACTUALLY in charge unless she rides him like he’s not in charge.

We’ve been riding a lot this summer with lessons and leases, which has been awesome! She’s gotten so much practice and is doing much better with everything horse-related.

But all this riding also made her a bit complacent . . . and quite frankly, entitled.

She knows EVERYTHING about horses and tack and riding and jumping . . . just ask her :-)

The week before the show, we finally punched holes in her leathers to make her stirrups the right length without having to wrap them around the stirrups. When went to her lesson, Miss Amara said we needed to lower them . . . we agreed, and I did. Princess threw a FIT! We lowered them even more, but not as much as they should have been – call it a compromise. They were still too short, but Princess insisted that was how they were comfortable and she liked them that way.

Whatever – not a fight I was willing to fight.

So we practiced for the week, all the while Princess refusing to believe that she was leaning too far forward during the jumps and not sitting back far enough (or at all!) to stop her horse. Let’s just say I was getting more than frustrated. Amara had the same experience at the lesson before the show. She got through a little bit, but not enough.

Anyhoo – the day of the show came and Princess and Prince looked awesome as always :-)

Here they are on a practice jump before the show started . . . lookin’ good!

 

In addition to the two cross-rails divisions, Princess entered the flat Walk/Trot class.

 

 

They were beautiful and awesome and did everything perfect. Great posture, correct diagonals, great horse control. Her best ride in a show by far.

And they didn’t even place in the top 6 out of 8. We were all (especially her trainer!) a bit miffed, but it’s one judge judging . . . that’s the nature of horse shows. The only thing it could’ve been, really, was her short stirrups messing up the line from her heels to he shoulders. Princess wouldn’t even listen, though. She insisted they were the right length and wouldn’t change them. I did sneak in a small change in length when she wasn’t on Prince . . . baby steps.

Anyhoo . . . she had her first jumping class and it was INTERESTING! Prince did great on the first couple jumps, then cantered between the two line jumps, which we all expected. The only thing was, Princess panicked a little bit and didn’t sit back to slow him down . . . she just kept leaning over his neck and he went faster and faster and jumped higher and higher. He went around a corner so fast once that his number flew off his bridle! They made it around, doing all the jumps without anyone falling off. Whew! Princess was quite nervous about it . . . she couldn’t stop talking.

Then we had a little chat with her about needing to sit back when he starts to canter so he slows down. Of course, she would have none of Amara’s advice, insisting it wasn’t her fault.

I snuck in another lowering of the stirrups – more baby steps.

Then it was time for her second adventure through the course. This time she started out with more horse control and was doing great, until she didn’t sit back between jumps and Prince just took off at a very fast canter. He was making the jumps and even though we knew she wasn’t in total control, it looked much more in control than the first jump.

Then just as Prince started over the last jump, he changed his mind and refused. Princess lost a stirrup and almost flew off, but she grabbed Prince’s mane and hung on for dear life before pulling herself back on and finishing the course.

The good thing . . . she didn’t fall off. Falling off hurts and also is a disqualification.

The bad thing . . . she didn’t fall off. Falling off hurts and is a great natural teacher.

She rode him back out of the arena and did all she could to not cry . . . she only shed 2 tears after she was off of Prince.

Hubby got a great photo of her out of control jumps . . .

 

I showed it to Princess and she said “Whoa! That is SO not right! No WONDER he went so fast and I almost fell off!”

Um, ya THINK?! She’s way over his neck, her feet are straight back, her heels are not down at all, and she’s way high above her horse (damn short stirrups!).

At least she recognized the flaws when she SAW what we were talking about.

Miss Amara and I had a long talk about it . . . I’ve always said Princess needs to jump BETTER, not higher. Amara agreed that everything had gotten so busy over the summer and a bit overwhelming and that all the girls needed to go back to basics so they’re ready for anything. I also told Amara that Princess’ participation in the shows MUST be dependant on her working toward a riding goal each month and meeting those goals. It’s not a right to show, you must earn it.

Princess and I had a loooooonnnggg talk about her attitude and horses and who’s in charge and who is the professional and who is the student and who is going to listen to who and say Yes Ma’am and do what they’re told without adding commentary. That, along with the threat of not participating in the next show and not getting to lease, were enough.

A few lessons without stirrups, without reins, and bareback will do wonders for a girl’s riding flaws as well as teach her that you CAN stop a cantering horse without reins by just relaxing your shoulders and sitting back in your saddle.

The past lessons have been awesome! Amara also agreed that Prince jumps so much better when he canters, and if Princess wants to continue to ride him, that she needs to be able to control him and understand how to ride SAFELY like that.

So what have they been working on besides basics? Cantering over jumps, under control, in the pasture. They’re both doing beautifully :-)

Click here to see a video of her cantering over a jump

Here’s to hoping the next couple of weeks are very productive in the arena and we can end the show season on a good note!

Princess and Her Prince

After a show break for Girl Scout and Boy Scout summer camps, Princess was back riding and LOVING it! Prince had been working with the trainer and rode with the trainer in the show Princess missed for some practice. Princess’ trainer said she was totally ready to ride Prince in the show. So off we went to the barn to get him ready! We were excited, so we got there early to braid his mane and get him all gussied up. Everything was going great until Prince saw something . . . the neighbor guy was holding up a big blue blow up swimming pool and spraying it out with a hose. Prince would do NOTHING but look straight over at the guy and the pool. Then the guy put the pool down and we had a couple minutes where we could work on Prince again. Then Prince got a bit spooked again . . . turns out the guy had picked up a large blue tarp and was shaking it out. Prince does NOT like the color blue! So we gave him a break and let him wander around the pasture for awhile before walking him over to the fence to check out the big bad blue things :-)

The other girls finally arrived to get their horses ready and we headed to the show! Princess rode in the walk/trot flat class for warm up before riding in both jumping classes. She did great in walk/trot, but was always on the wrong diagonal, so she got 6th place. Then came the cross rail jumping. All the horses were refusing a couple of the jumps, so I was a bit worried. Prince and Princesses did great, until a lady in the far corner put up a blue camping chair with a canopy on it! Luckily, Prince didn’t notice it . . . but he did refuse one other jump. Princess did great getting him to go back and complete the jump and finish the course. She didn’t place, but was excited for the 2nd cross rail class. This time, they had to start from the other end of the arena . . . RIGHT in front of that blue canopy chair. Prince spooked when he saw it during the courtesy circle. Princess did AWESOME getting him on course and focused elsewhere. He refused the first jump, but after she got him going, he did AWESOME on the rest of the course.

I was so proud of my Princess for remaining calm and composed and for smiling the whole time she worked with her PITA horse :-) She got 5th for that ride – and I’m convinced it was because of her composure and how well she handled her horse. Now for some pictures of my beautiful Princess and her Handsome Horse.

Prince got a brand new maroon saddle pad, so we put maroon and white ribbons in his mane and also put maroon ribbons in Princess’ hair. They looked very sharp!

 

 

Baseball Mom, Scout Mom, Swim Team Mom . . .

. . . Horse Show Mom :-)

My Princess rode in her first horse show this past Saturday! OMG she was so friggin’ cute I can’t even stand it. She’s been taking lessons from awesome Miss Amara since May and was ready for her first show. Amara took Princess and 3 other students to the show with two horses – Sunny and Shadow. Sunny is the horse Amara rode in shows when she did them and Shadow is the older horse that is not a show horse, but loves to be out doing stuff. She can be a bit lazy during lessons, but she is totally a gamer! When you get her in the large arena with all the people and horses, she holds her head up high, smiles, and has a blast with my little half-pint riding her.

We love Miss Amara for many reasons, but one of my favorite things about her is that she teaches the girls everything about horse ownership. So Friday night, we had a 2 1/2 hour lesson that involved 1 1/2 hours of preparing the horses for the show (brushing, cleaning, braiding manes and tales, trying on costumes and walking them around to make sure they would tolerate them) and 1 hour of practicing jumping the poles.

Princess was sharing Shadow with another girl, H, in the show. Since the show was in October, there was a Costume Class that the girls were entering. They decided to dress Shadow up as a hippie horse and have the girls dress up as hippies, too. H’s mom owns a dance studio, so she had awesome shirts for the girls. Princess and I made a large Peace necklace for shadow and bought some tie dye and flower ribbon for decoration.

Here’s Shadow tolerating the costume the girls are trying out on her.

We were totally lucky on Saturday – an 80 degree and sunny day in late October! The girls had to get to Amara’s at 9:00 a.m. to re-brush the horses, get all of their stuff together, and get them trailered to take to the show. Once at the facility, they got the horses settled in their stalls and started dressing them for the Costume Class, which was first. Here they are in the stall, waiting for it to be time to head on out.

Since Princess was the smaller and younger of the two, she got to ride Shadow while H walked Shadow. We had to modify Princess’s helmet to have the matching flower bandana on it.

 

The girls and Shadow did awesome! They earned a 5th place ribbon in the Costume Class. They give out ribbons up to 6th place, and there were 13 horses in the Costume Class, so they were pretty excited!

 

The girl in the Santa hat is Princess’s riding partner at lessons. A and T shared Sunny for the show. They dressed Sunny as a reindeer! They took a 6th place ribbon – how fun!

We had to hustle back to the stall to undress the horses and girls and get everyone ready in formal clothes for their jumping classes. Princess was riding Shadow in both of the Piles of Poles classes. They are technically jumping classes, but it’s a beginner class, so the poles are just lying on the ground :-) More of a little hop for the horse than a jump.

Princess was a little nervous once she got out there, but she was happy she wasn’t the very first person to ride in her first Piles of Poles class. She had a chance to watch a couple other girls do the course first so she could memorize it.

 

H rode Shadow before Princess, so Miss Amara and her Mom cruised out to the arena with Princess to change Shadow’s number and give my half-pint a boost onto her horse.

 

Princess and Shadow make their courtesy circle before starting the course. Look at her awesome posture!

 

And they were off! Shadow can’t really feel Princess on her, so she doesn’t adjust well to the posting between jumps and 2-point over the jumps, so Princess just rode 2-point the entire course. She was so friggin’ cute!

 

She did so great – we were so proud of both of them! She decided to sit on Shadow while she waited for the rest of the girls to finish before she was called to ride in the 2nd Piles of Poles Class. She was first this time, and was happy when they told her the course was just the reverse of the first course.

 

Since it was her first show, we’d chatted about how she should just go out, enjoy herself, learn some things, and not expect to win any ribbons. We were so excited when she won 5th place in her class! She and Shadow rocked!

My Princess and her beautiful Shadow :-) Oh how this girl loves her horse!

 

We hung around until the last class to watch Miss Amara ride. She rode Sunny in the class with the 2′ 6″ jumps. She and Sunny got 1st place in both of their classes – how awesome! After that, it was off to the barn to load all the tack, trailer the horses, and clean the stalls before heading home for some thorough hot showers.

We all enjoyed our first horse show and are looking forward to more lessons and hopefully more shows.