Is in the books!
My first test wasn’t until 1:39 but I wanted to give myself plenty of time to get cleaned up, braided and in the ring. I had no idea if Gus was going to panic seeing all the horses in the warm-up and if I was going to have to have a lunging session. So I got there at 11. Good thing I did, he looked like this:
Oh GusGus, why do you love the mud so much!
Fastforward a few hours (because I’m sure you’d rather get a play by play of the riding, not the grooming), Gus was now clean, had been braided, had been unbraided (they looked awful due to the fact I’m trying to grow out a long bridle path), had been grazed and was tacked up and looking sharp. Me a little less so after doing all that work. It was humid. It was gross.
There were about 20 horses in the warm up ring. Some were just standing around, some were jumping, some flatting. I decided to get on Gus outside the ring before I went in. Gus was definitely aware that something was different. He wanted to look and so I let him.
For about ten minutes, I let him just walk along on a loose rein around the arena. I let him look and just take in the general feel of things. Horses were running up past him, jumping, and he was perfect. Didn’t spook, didn’t bolt. Good baby
Eventually, I asked him to get to work and much to my surprise, he got right down to business. I’ll let the pictures do the talking because he was simply doing amazing.
He was even relaxed enough to worry more about the bugs than the other horses. Poor Gus. He can’t stand the flies.
So you see, Gus was going along great. I was actually kind of thinking that we might do really great in our tests. Then, about ten minutes before my turn, it started sprinkling. This was baby rain. Seriously, just a few drops and all of a sudden:
Gus: “Can’t Dressage any more!”
At this point, I had to head down to the dressage ring. Gus did not like the little bit of waiting he had to do down there and I lost all my nice relaxed horse. Oh well. It wasn’t a great test (57%) but the judge did have some nice things to say about us as a pair. Mostly we were tense. It was a bit of a disappointment after how well warm up had gone, but it really was right in line for an ottb only off the track two months.
So then we went back to the barn, took the saddle off for 20 minutes, grazed for 20 minutes, and I got back on.
Once again, Gus was great in the warm up. This time, the warm up ring was pretty empty because most of the jumper classes were done for the day. This obviously helped but I wasn’t worried about Gus’ reaction, just wanted more space to do circles and lateral work.
Thankfully, there was no rain so I was able to keep him in check and relaxed the whole time. We lost a little bit of it when we had to wait for our turn (note to self, Gus does not like waiting… and they were ringing the bell quite quickly to move everyone along). But Intro B went MUCH better. We improved on just about ever movement and there weren’t as many “tense” comments. Gus scored a 61% and I was very happy with that.
A great first outing for baby Gus. I can’t wait until the next show, though I have no plans on when or where that might be.