June 1, 2010 – Phew… what a hot week it was around here last week! It was one of those kinds of weeks when you walk out the door and wham!… a wall of heat hits ya. Yuck! We usually have nice temperatures in May but this past week we even had heat alerts… it was sweltering. Is this a sign of things to come? Is this summer going to be a scorcher? I hope not and imagine the horses hope it isn’t either… the poor things were sweating just standing in the paddock.

IMG_2039-smLast week was all about getting ready for Charlie & Ellie’s first off-site horse show. They did do the Greyden In-House show a couple of weeks ago and they rocked at that but it was a little more relaxed atmosphere and we brought them in the day before the show so they were used to their surroundings. However, the Tottenham show this past weekend was their first official schooling show and also the first time we would be transporting them all on our own.

Which brings me to what I hope will be the final Charlie Trailer Training Update (unless, of course, he does something worth mentioning when it comes to the trailer :-)) As mentioned, last Friday we took Charlie to Greyden for Megan’s lesson. The loading here and shipping went great but the loading there to come home was very stressful. He did not want to get on that trailer. However, that didn’t stop us from trying again so this past Friday, we backed the trailer up to our barn (this allows us to pull the doors closed along side the trailer so the horses have no place to go off the sides of  the ramp) and they both walked on beautifully. It was great!

For the ride home, we decided to not take any chances and backed the trailer up to the barn. Ellie walked right up on the trailer and Charlie backed up a little and then walked on as well. AND… he was actually eating hay on the trailer… that’s a first. It looks like he has finally figured out that the trailer is not all that scary.

So to see if we could push it one step further, we decided to test out loading them on Saturday without having it pulled up to the barn door (because at the upcoming show there was going to be no barn to back up to). We tried Ellie first and she was being a big poop… she kept going off the side of the ramp. So we pulled her off to the side and tried Charlie. He backed up at the first attempt but when we swung a lead around behind him, on he went. Then Ellie got on after him without any problem.

Sunday was show day and we were a bit nervous about the trailering but mostly for the trip home. They loaded on just fine and made it to the show and when it came time to getting them home, Ellie did her usual going off to the side but Charlie walked right on so then Ellie knew it was safe for her too and on she got.

So… speaking of… now it’s time to fill you in on their very first off-site horse show, the Tottenham Schooling Show at the Orangeville Fairgrounds. When we got to the show and unloaded the horses, they seemed to be saying, “Where the heck are we?” They looked around and Charlie was even shaking a little. He was very nervous about where he was and what was going on. We let them graze around a little bit and then the girls tacked them up so they could do a little schooling before their classes.

IMG_2037-smMegan decided to lunge Charlie a little as he was looking so jumpy when she got up on him (he was doing his little dance around). Natalie, an occasional coach at Greyden, went with her and he seemed to calm down. So they took him to the warm up ring and Megan went in with him. Harley was already in there on Ellie and Carole was coaching them. Charlie seemed frightened to be in this new environment with so much going on so he was dancing around and not listening to Megan’s legs. They decided that he needed a little more lunging so Natalie grabbed him and she and I walked to an open area in the field where she lunged him for a good 10-15 minutes.

This helped tremendously but just to be sure, Carole got up on him during the warm-up before his first class. She took him around several times and he was fine so Megan got up on him and he seemed to finally be settling down.

Both Ellie and Charlie took part in the Junior Horse division (for horses under 5 or in their first year of showing). There were over a dozen horses in this division so I was a little concerned when it came to the time that they would have to canter. I voiced my concern to the ladies who were organizing the division and they agreed that because these are green horses, that it would be best to divide up the group during the canter. Thank you to them for that!

IMG_2055-sm Although both horses were a little nervous they did wonderfully. Neither horse pinned on the flat (which I was surprised about but there were some lovely movers that they were up against) but that’s okay as this show was more about getting them out to a show. The third class in the division was over a course of cavalettis. Although these little jumps are not too challenging for our horses who have been practicing over 2’3″ & 2’6″ (Charlie even does upwards of 3ft), they did wonderfully. Charlie took home 3rd place and Ellie got 5th.Very proud of both of them and of Megan and Harley.

By this time, the horses were much less nervous and loved grazing on the luscious grass. We untacked them and wrapped their legs for the ride home. As mentioned, Ellie didn’t want to get on right away but as soon as Charlie was on, she got on to the trailer too. We took them home, unloaded, unwrapped, praised them like crazy for the great day and then turned them out in the paddock. Bella was happy to have her friends back home. We then went back to the show to watch the other kids ride and it was a great day… hot but fun!

So, all in all, the horses’ first official schooling show, and the days leading up to it, was a great success! We are so pleased with both of them and so happy to see how far they have come since they became part of our family early last year. Can’t wait for the next show… it can only get better.

And thank you to Carole for being the most amazing coach… helping both horses (and riders) through all that they needed to learn and do before they were ready to go to a show. Thank you to Natalie as well for helping calm down Charlie! Oh and congrats to all the riders for all your successes during the day.

Have a great week everyone (they are calling for some rain around here which we desperately need and cooler temperatures)!

About the Author
Janice Byer is the mom of a teenage equestrian jumper, a horse lover and rider, and a successful entrepreneur. She and her family own a small hobby farm, Shady Ridge Farm (http://www.shadyridgefarm.ca) in Orangeville, Ontario where their two horses enjoy a lovely new barn and all the hay they can eat. As mentioned, she is also a successful web designer and specializes in helping other horse oriented businesses to get an eye-catching, customer-grabbing website or blog. Visit Equine Web Design at http://www.equinewebdesign.ca for more information.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 at 8:09 am and is filed under Diary Updates, Horse Shows, Horse Training, Horsey Fun, Ramblings. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.