So Miss Rosey went out in public today, and it was good.
I got to the barn fairly early, because I had decided to go to dinner the night before instead of cleaning tack like a good girl. Rose was easy to catch and seemed quite pleased at the idea of coming in early (“neener neener! I get my breakfast FIRST!!!“). After getting everything ready, we loaded up and Rose climbed right onto the trailer with no trouble whatsoever.
Once at the show, she got off the trailer with equal ease, took a look around, and started eating grass like she’d been there her whole life. When I got on to go take her around the ring a little bit, she pretty much motored down to the ring (the usual Rosey on a Mission and Taking Over The World sort of power walk that she does). We took a little spin around the small warmup ring just to get her moving, and then went into the show ring.
Jumps decorated with haybales and flowers? Check.
Horses jumping and going different directions and speeds? Check.
Banners/signs hung on the ring fence? No problem.
The mare does *not* know how to spook. Nothing in the ring really bothered her, she just trucked along the rail like she’d been there a million times. Occasionally she turned her head to look at something but mostly just went around. Satisfied with the warmup, I decided to leave the ring and get out of the way, and that’s when things got just a little shaky (now, remember, she’s a young FOUR and only had race training until… uh… a few weeks ago).
Rose got it in her head that she wanted to visit the secretary’s stand, off to the right. I had it in my head that I wanted to go to the warmup ring or back to the trailer to chill out for a few minutes. Now, we’ve already established that Rosey is not really scared of things, but when she wants to go somewhere… well, she can be a little bit argumentative when you don’t agree about it (really, she just think she knows better than you. And she’s 4.) . So, in Stubborn Mare fashion, she tried her Hop ‘n’ Spin, where she sort of hops up in front and rotates in the direction she wanted to go. I gave her the smack on the shoulder that usually sorts her out, but she just got more convinced she really wanted to go to the right. After a couple more attempts, I made the (possibly bad) decision to get off and just lead her back to the trailers. I don’t want her to learn that I’ll get off whenever she does that, but at the same time, I don’t really want to fight and really wanted to go the way *I* wanted to go.
Fortunately, shortly after this, like magic, Allie showed up with her giant camera, and all her wisdom from handling these silly beasts for years and years. When it became clear that Rosey and I were getting each other all worked up in the warmup ring, Allie took her, and worked on getting her to pay attention and be mannerly just leading around. Being kept busy helped her settle a ton, and having to work on behaving seemed to help get her re-focused (yes, we have to have some ground handling sessions).
Then, it was hop back on and go in the ring for our easy peasy classes (just a walk-trot, and a walk-trot-canter flat class for her first show experience). In her first class, we got second, even with her giraffe impression and sort of speedy trot. The best way to describe the class is to first remind everyone that all of her prior training involved learning to pass other horses- that was the whole goal. So, we shouldn’t be surprised that she got oddly proud of herself when we passed a few in the ring. Mostly, she did OK at staying behind the other horses, and I had to use the corners really well to keep the spacing, but we passed a few. And she wasn’t bad or running off, but had a definite air of “I’m winning! I’m winning!” about her.
In the second class, I realized we had a little problem. Rosey loves the rail- it is her happy place. when I wanted to cross the ring to find her a better spot on the rail, she hopped’n’spun, wanting to go back to the rail. I compromised by angling her so that she could see her destination, and everything after that went fine. Well, except for the two blown leads and the happy “I’m WIIIINNNNNNNNNINGGGG!!!” thing she was doing. Later, in the lineup, she was pretty darned good for a horse who has never been in a lineup before. In the first class, this was not a test, as she got second so got to follow the first horse out of the line. This time, we were fourth so she had to wait a minute. With nervous ponies, I usually just get them out of the line and walk them in a little circle, but, as I mentioned before, when Rose wants to go one way and you want to go the other, you get the hop ‘n’ spin.
She made it back to the line and did succeed in standing for a minute before our number was called. All in all, VERY impressive for a horse of her age/training. Of course, upon leaving the ring, she again expressed her desire to go off to the right instead of the left. This time, I understood it a little more, because the food truck was finally there and setting up, and there is NOTHING like a horse show bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.
Avoiding an issue, I just sort of hopped off immediately, and redirected her into traffic where we eventually got back to our pit crew (seriously, it apparently takes a village to show a horse- there were four other people involved, heh). Sponged and cooled, we walked back up to the ring to watch our barnmate Jen do her course, and then we went home (and again, she loads like a rockstar, and even backs herself off, so I can unload her by myself (and I am not the best at these things).