Looking like a real show horse, obviously.
With my fingers crossed that I would not meet my early demise, we went to school at a h/j show at the National Western Complex. The trainer and I loaded Ivan and another horse into the trailer and headed on our way.
The other trainer at the barn told me that if Ivan could stay sane in that coliseum, he could stay sane anywhere. She said it could be very intimidating to horses. Keep in mind he only retired from racing a little over three months before this excursion and was still a bit “racey”. It would be interesting to see how things went.
Intimidating, but still cool.
She wasn’t lying about it being intimidating. It’s in Denver and right next to busy train tracks. The warmup area is small and can get hectic. The loud speaker echoes throughout the complex and it’s LOUD. I started out with hand-walking and Ivan was being pretty good, until the announcer started talking. If he’s sensitive to anything, it’s noise. After a good lunge he settled back down. My trainer rode him, I rode him. We didn’t die.
“So...what time do I race today?”
Really, Ivan was very good despite some tension. It wasn’t the type of tension that you felt like you were on a ticking time bomb or where he looked like a llama, more like Ivan was thinking that he wasn’t 100% confident in this situation. I was just happy that he kept it together in an environment that he wasn’t totally comfortable with. It was a great opportunity to be able to put him in a show setting without having the added pressure of actually showing.
With that out of the way, the time was drawing close to our first dressage show.
I had a short time frame to get Ivan exposure. Normally, I would have just shown at a quiet schooling show for his first outing. What are your favorite ways to introduce a horse to the show world?