Last weekend Indy and I both got to experience new things together. I had entered him in the Future Event Horse competition – something I had pushed hard to have. Long story short, Area 1 (New England and New York) hasn’t had something for the young horses in a while, due to lack of entries. I began rallying fellow eventers to have the event, recognizing how good an experience it is for the youngsters, and for the selfish reason of wanting something for Indy to do. Well, as luck would have it, I ran into an acquaintance of mine whom I had worked with years ago when helping to organize the UNH horse trials. It just so happened that he was organizing an event at a venue we had been looking at to host. After much discussion, he told me if I could get 12 total entries we would be on. We spread the word, kept reminding people (nagging) and on the day of the show we had 25 entries. The biggest class turned out to be the Indy’s (yearling) division.
Having never done this myself I too had a lot to learn. Thankfully, Indy and I have done a lot together already. His only “show” experience was when he was 7 weeks old and went to his breed inspection. That seems like an eternity ago.
After studying the website for instructions and asking friends, we began to practice the triangle. Indy would be expected to walk a triangle, each side being 15 meters long, and then trot a triangle with 30 meter sides. It is important to show the judge relaxed, free flowing gaits. The triangle is walked and trotted to the right, putting myself on the outside. Teaching Indy to turn away from me, and not to keep floating forward, took some practice, but he picked it up quickly enough. He did find it quite fun that we were running around “playing”. I, on the other hand, found myself quite out of shape. Indy, now standing at 15.2 (most of that being legs) is hard to keep up with!
Other show prep work had already been done. Indy is at the point where I clipped his muzzle while he was on the crossties. He thinks clipping is great now; he seems to like the feel of the clipper vibrations against his muzzle and leans right into it. (See Clipper Training with Indy)
He loads on the trailer like a pro. Every time the is a trailer hooked up at the barn I put him on it. Baths? No problem. Wearing leg wraps (for shipping)? No problem. He’s really been pretty well exposed to everything.
Other than practicing the triangle, we went for long walks, often times ponying along next to Shady. Not only did this help expose him to new places on the trails, but it also helped to condition him a little. Indy looks fabulous – lean with some muscle, in good weight, with a beautiful neck and the beginnings of a top line.
The only thing we could not practice was the actual show atmosphere. Thankfully, I had convinced a friend that she too should show her horse at the same competition, though she would show on Saturday and Indy Friday, meaning we would stable overnight. It was too far of a drive (4.5 hours) to do it all in one day. Had she not been going, I would have brought Shady. It would not have been fair for him to go all that way himself; he would have been pretty scared and alone. I could have never done that to him.
So, all prepped and as ready as we could be, Indy was off to his next big adventure.