Can’t Win Them All

Can’t Win Them All

The show this past Saturday was one of those that I will record as another good learning experience and miles for my green horse.  It wasn’t a disaster, but it wasn’t stellar.  I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a bit disappointing, but that’s horse showing!

This was the 3rd time we’ve shown at this facility (2nd time this year) and as one day shows usually go, the schedule is a little stressing for Simon.  You may remember how nervous he was the first time out this year, and he was again very nervous on Saturday but I think slightly better overall.  I lunged more this time (solid 20 minutes at least) and our warm-up went well despite the ring being crazy.  Seriously I lost all concept of “left shoulder to left shoulder” because it was more “every man for himself”.  I saw a full grown adult woman SMASH into a hunter pony and then not apologize.  Fun times!

So we left schooling in the morning a bit frazzled (both of us!) but he listened and was a good boy.  This show we stepped up to the middle ring instead of the baby 2′ ring.  The jumps had real spread and the lines were set to a true 12′ stride.  This meant that we were doing the ads at a working canter from him instead of the slower pace I am used to (aka comfortable with).


Our three goals for this show were to not have any run outs, improve on the under saddle classes, and get some skip changes instead of doing trot simples.  The flat class goal was not met, because this show makes everyone flat first and since Simon gets so frazzled by the flat classes I wanted to have a relaxed of horse as possible going into my over fences rounds.  Plus when I saw there were 16 horses in our division I knew there was no chance in hell anyway and saved my money, so no flatting for us.

That left no run outs and skip changes (change in front and then catch up behind asap), which was a success!  Even though he was a bit “wild eyed and bushy tailed” for each round, he never felt like he was going to run out so long as I rode him to every fence.  At least my nervous baby horse is brave!

E1316RC2-Rio Vista Centex II

As changes go, they weren’t stellar but we did manage to get most of our skip changes or land on the correct lead.  There were a few fences he cross cantered, and the equitation rollback we counter cantered… but hey – we haven’t been schooling changes lately.  He tried.

All in all each round was a bit quick, we did the adds (though could have done the stride), he probably looked a bit hot and there was at least one major mistake per time.  Warm-up I jumped the wrong fence (well… at least that’s why it’s a warm up).  Hunter I he picked up a bit of speed in the corners and our pace wasn’t very consistent.  Hunter II he started listening really well (for a nervous Simon), and I totally botched the distance on one fence.  Equitation I was exhausted and it just wasn’t anything to write home about.

E1316RC2-Rio Vista Centex II

Ribbon wise it was a bust.  I knew it would be, but it’s still hard not to be a teeny disappointed when you don’t hear your name announced for satin goodness.  But hey, we were reserve champion last time!  That beat my expectations for the entire year.  Plus, the 2’3″ division I did was “Open” so while there were a few horses or riders who were appropriately placed (it was called “Beyond Beginner” so this should give you a clue) – the over fences classes were won by a pro and several ribbons went to horses I know have campaigned in the 2’6″ for at least a few years.  Oh well, that’s how it goes sometimes.

Now I’m scheming some ways to (show legally) help my horse relax via supplements and such.  Our next and final show is a weekend show at the end of November, and it’s my favorite for the year so time to switch gears to that!

31 thoughts on “Can’t Win Them All

  1. It still sounds like a success! I am sure after the last show your expectations were high but it sounds like it still went well! They more you get out and do it the more relaxed you both will be :).

  2. Have you tried Perfect Prep? Completely legal. Good for you for keeping a positive attitude. The warm up rings at the local shows here are down right terrifying.

  3. Hate it when people who shouldn’t be in a ring are! Oh well onto the next show!

    Have you tried Mare Magic? That helped Henry calm when I first got him 🙂

    These days it’s me whos nervous and he’s a good boy! Ha!

    Sounds like over all it was good miles for you both 🙂

  4. It’s another one under Simon’s belt! Can’t be too disappointed in that, though not getting satin always bums me out. 😛

  5. First, your photos look pretty! I luvs them — Simon is so cute! Sorry the show wasn’t as good as you had hoped, but it sounds like it was really great miles for Simon, and that you are figuring out how to manage him at shows (which is more than half the battle, I think!)

    For relaxation: I *believe* that lavender is a USEF-banner substance… but you might double-check that. I have a friend that uses tryptophan which she really likes.

  6. Holy perfect knees in that photo!!!! i had some luck with magnesium supplements to help calm my previous horse. I think it is legal if you just use the magnesium itself (but a lot of the supplements have other stuff added which are not legal).

  7. Hi there. i love reading your blog, and thought i would pass along some info. The night before i take my horse anywhere off the farm, he gets a dose of AbPrazole. It is actually a medicine for gastric ulcers and stomach upset. Our vet suggested usually horses that show nervousness, and tension, and are unhappy, can have upset stomachs. Kind of the same feeling i know i have before an event, a mix of nerves and stomach upset. Anyways, he gets one dose at night and then one in the morning with breakfast. And i must say, it makes a HUGE difference.

  8. Glad to hear you had a relatively positive experience! Don’t know much about the calming supplements, but just be sure to check with the usef list. I had a friend who was using one of the Smartcalm supplements and didn’t know it tested until they were randomly picked to have blood drawn one winter. She didn’t get in trouble necessarily, levels too low, but she did get a warning.

  9. The pictures are gorgeous though!! And I absolutely HATE warm up. Doesn’t get any better in the eventing world. I’m not even sure kids are taught left-shoulder-to-left-shoulder these days. Drives me absolutely crazy…

  10. Honestly sounds mostly like a success to me! I hate warm-up, too. I always feel like I’m sitting on the edge of a disaster waiting to happen.

  11. It sounds like it was a successful show, even if there were no ribbons (why is a pro in the beyond beginner class anyway??). My guy is a nervous boy, but I’ve found the best way to calm him down is just go to more shows (or clinics or other outings). THe other thing I do in find busy places to just stand quietly or walk around. This is easier at a multi-day show, but I spend as much time chilling in scary places (ie: indoor arena) as possible.

    Good luck in November!

  12. Hey it sounds like a pretty good show to me. You went up a grade & you had no run-outs and he made a decent attempt at his changes… I’d be thrilled!
    You must be delighted with the photos, too. Lookin’ good!

  13. Way to go! Love your simple goals too. 🙂 I also have a nervous horse, so it’s nice to meet good goals like “Don’t die today.”

    As for supplements, I am a general fan of ulcer meds too. I go ahead and just get the actual ulcergard from If you sign up for the mailing list, 15% off coupons are pretty common, so I can get it for around $28/tube. Which sounds like a lot, but given the cost of showing, a whole lot cheaper than treating ulcers.

    With my baby young horse, it made a major different with her as for this big shows being stabled away from home, she wasn’t really eating well and was throwing major tantrums. This last show, she pretty much snoozed the whole time and was a lot more comfortable so good for me. 🙂

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