Got the videos from the June horse show last night, and it was a very eye opening experience. I’ve actually only had videos taken from one other horse show in my life, and that wasn’t with Simon… so I don’t have a lot to compare them to.

That being said, I was disappointed.

Not in the videos themselves of course, it was sooooooo nice to get them (thank you you know who you are!) but I just saw tension. Tension. Anxiety. He practically snaps his mouth open and shut during each course like a dragon-OTTB.

I mean it does get better, but I won’t lie it made me feel a little down. That coupled with the fact that he was off last night doesn’t help anything. I think it’s just a stone bruise. Just the left front, and that’s the same foot he pulled a bell boot off of (which is rare for him). There’s a teeny tiny head bob and a little short, but not really noticeable in the ring where the footing is better. We are treating the soles of his feet and feeling him out to see if he needs a day off or is doing better today/tomorrow.

Now on to the videos. The Warm-Up round (partial video taken halfway through the course) features his run out. My thoughts about this one are OH MY GOD he is tense/anxious, and the run-out actually looks dirtier than it felt. Maybe it wasn’t total pilot error and him just having a greenie freak out moment?

Hunter I is better. I almost go off course, but my trainer saved me and it doesn’t look too bad in the video. Around 00:45 is where I over-whoaed and he got kinda pissed at me – rightfully so. Overall still very tense.

Hunter II is where I had the rail and then did the stride (4) instead of the add (5) when I had been adding the rest of the course. Also, I was a ding bat and couldn’t get my correct lead quickly to start the course. Definitely pilot error on my part. Overall I think he is less tense here, but we still have a gaping open mouth the entire time.

This next equitation course is the one that earned me my ribbon, and I honestly was a little underwhelmed in the video. I knew we counter-cantered down to one of the lines, and also one of our rollbacks was on the wrong lead while the other was counter cantering. Boo. The video starts after the 1st line, which was lovely if my memory serves me right 🙂 You’ll just have to imagine it.

Even if I don’t love how these look, I’m so glad to have them. At home he is not this tense over fences. I mean he will occasionally open his mouth and throw his head up when I give him a firm half halt, but nothing like at the show. I know the answer is more miles, but that’s hard to get when you’re on a budget. Also, I need to relax and eliminate my nerves at show. This isn’t 100% his fault.

When I get into this line of thinking I need to remember that when I first started riding him, he violently flipped his head every 3-5 strides. He has only been to three horse shows, ever. He is only seven. Three months ago he was incredibly lame and I didn’t know if he’d ever jump again.

These issues are just a new series of obstacles we can overcome.

25 thoughts on “Obstacles

  1. I actually didn’t think the videos were that bad. Is he up? Yes. But he listened to you 90% of the time and he was very honest… except where he ran out. For you’re third show with such a young horse, I think it’s pretty gosh darn good.

    One other thing I will say, is the happiest line you had was the one where you did the correct striding. Not saying you are ready for that/should do that (that’s between you and your trainer) but when you want to — Simon will be right there with you 🙂

    1. You’re definitely right re the line where we did the striding. He’s not a super short strided horse, so doing the adds (especially on these shorter lines) is a bit hard for him. My trainer’s philosophy is that we will teach him to listen and go slower now, and then he will be ready and obedient when we move up to the stride.

      1. Creeping on your other comments but I totally think that’s the correct approach. You always want a workable canter, so you can add or subtract if you need to! You could definitely tell he got better and better at listening and waiting. 🙂

  2. Hey Lauren, you’re WAAAAAY to hard on yourself.
    I see a horse cantering around, interested, obedient, in a nice rhythm, popping his fences out of that rhythm. It’s only his third time out and he’s lolloping nice n easy around like that? You should be well proud of yourself! Sure, he shakes his head when you check him sometimes, but that just shows that he’s got his own opinions about things.
    As for the open mouth/tension, there are very few horses out jumping who will go around all calm and relaxed and slobby… that’s why they’re competition horses! They now it’s serious stuff.
    Sure’ it’ll get better with mileage, but it ain’t half bad now!!

    1. That is exactly what I was going to say!!!!

      I kept looking at his ears: they either flopped to the side or swiveled back to check in with you. Of course he was a little anxious; he’s not at home, and he’s worried about messing up. But I think he handled his anxiety very appropriately. Very well done, Lauren!

  3. It’s always easier to be hard on yourself than it is to pat yourself on the back. You had some very nice moments. The more experience and miles you both put in together will pay off in a big way. He’s a really nice horse and he listens well for only his third show. I’ll bet the next show will look even better in the videos.

  4. I agree – you’re being too hard on yourself! 🙂 I couldn’t put it better than Martine. Sure, he tosses his head a bit and opens his mouth every once in awhile, but all I kept thinking as I watched the videos was, “He has a wonderful pace given he’s an OTTB at his 3rd show!” *Overall*, he listened and he’s got a nice rhythm going through those lines; he doesn’t rush, he doesn’t bolt. He does complain when you check him, but he still responds. I think you’ve definitely chosen the right sport for him, and that you’re doing a GREAT job showing him the ropes!

    In regards to adding mileage while on a budget, are you able to trailer him to shows and just school at the grounds, without actually competing? Just doing that should help him get used to the environment quicker without having to shell out so much $$ in show fees.

    1. I need to consider taking him for more schooling. There is a show in August that is a 3 day show at the fair grounds, and if I can afford it I might go just for the learning opportunities.

  5. Well, I know everyone is saying you’re being too hard on yourself, but I’m exactly the same. My trainer has banned me from voicing how horrible I was in lessons, unless I really mess up. So anyway, I feel your pain. You and Simon did a great job though! For only his third show, I think he did great. He didn’t seem too “up” but obviously I wasn’t riding him. That stop is the only bad thing in all the videos. I know he was probably just as nervous as you, and wasn’t too sure about what was going on. Its great to see how far yall have come, especially since he was lame not too long ago.
    I second the idea of just trailering to shows. I also think that you should compete in as many of the shows that your home barn hosts, because those will be so much cheaper. Plus, you and Simon will likely be less nervous since that is your “home.”
    Congrats on the ribbon in Eq! That says a lot about you as a rider!

  6. Some of the things I noticed: He was nicely forward with his ears pricked at least 90% of the time. He looked very keen for the challenge, honestly, and like he was enjoying himself most of the time with very good rhythm. I can’t wait to see him over some bigger fences that will offer him some challenge! You guys make a great team and you stayed in balance with him the whole time as far as I could tell.

    It’s great to look at videos and catalog the things you need to improve but you have to remember to look for the good things too or else it can be way too discouraging. Seems like a great experience overall.

  7. Thanks for posting the videos. You and are at very similar points in our journeys. I am also VERY hard on myself and esp have to stop saying so at shows (cuz sometimes I win rounds I complain about!). But videos give more insight like how many times your instructor says ‘sit up’ and to dissect the run out. Which looked dirty, but the door was opened as you guys drifted in the line, he just took it. But agree with above, they were calm, rhythmic rides. Very nicely done.

  8. We are our own worse critic.

    Give yourself a break and next time remember to breathe.

    Remember some of the best hunter/jumper/dressage horses out there are in their teens. This is a sport of small increments and work over time to acheive success.

  9. When I saw the videos from Wizard at his first show, I freaked out! I had no idea he was opening/closing his mouth so much! I didn’t think he was doing it at home, so I had someone video me, and sure enough he was… I felt like an idiot for not being able to feel it. You might want to get someone to video at home, just to make sure! In Wizard’s case, he needed some chiro work on his neck done and switching to a rubber D ring really helped. Thoroughbreds are notorious for sensitive mouths so you may want to try one! I was afraid I’d have less brakes with the rubber D, but I actually found that I had BETTER brakes because he wasn’t opening his mouth trying to evade it! Just a thought, I know you know your horse much better than I! 🙂

    BUT REALLY: you are seeing way more tension than I think really exists, because its your baby, and you want him to be perfect 🙂 (ha, I’m the worst at that). I see a VERY lovely, but green, horse, who with some mileage is going to have an amazing rocking-horse canter that never changes rhythm who will pop over all the fences in perfect form. Seriously. He is mouthy here and there and tosses his head once or twice but I don’t think his body is holding a ton of tension. He doesn’t look like he’s going to explode! To the contrary, I thought he looked very rhythmical, except for a few time where he got a little excited and rushed- but that’s just a green baby thing. Seriously, with some mileage (which I know is hard on a budget!) you two are going to be great. Do you all have any really low-key hunter shows? We had these un-rated shows that were about 10-15$ a class so they were completely reasonable, when I was showing!

    But seriously, I am really impressed!

  10. Baby steps. You’ll get there! I think he looks pretty darn good for only three shows, Alex would probably have turned himself inside out 🙂

  11. It’s great that you have some videos. Your trainer seems really nice and attentive. I thought it was great how she was helping you out through the whole course. And yeah, I thought you guys looked great. ESPECIALLY since he was just barely lame. I mean, um, you turned him around from lame to that pretty fast!

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