Friday, January 11, 2013

Thermal Show, Day 1

Winston loaded well this morning but as soon as he realized he was alone, without Flash, in the trailer he started stomping his feet and wagging his head out of the window. We closed the back door, hopped in the truck and started driving. The stomping diminished and the two and a half hour drive out to the showgrounds was uneventful. Thermal, where the show is located, is in the middle of the desert. Once we left the freeway, we drove through miles and miles of date palm tree groves (orchards?). The mountains in the distance were capped with snow and the sky was a deep, cold blue.

While Brett put bags of shavings in Winston's stall, dragged the hay bale to his stall, and set up his water, I walked Winston. He was not sure about the whole deal. The first time we walked down the barn aisle, he got worried and jumped into me. I started walking him with my elbow out so he jumped into a jab instead of my foot. After three or four trips down the aisle, he relaxed so we ventured out to the warm up area and show courts. Again, he was sure that there were horse eating goblins lurking about. When his head got high, I stopped and asked him to drop his head. Eventually, he would relax his head and then immediately turn to me for praise and face rubs. Repeat and repeat and repeat.

When the stall was ready, I put him in. Winston was not impressed. He's never been confined to a box stall before and he didn't like it. He dumped his water and threw his hay out into the aisle. He couldn't relax.

He was in everybody's business. Especially mine.

I took him back out for another walk before tacking him up for my lesson. Once again, we walked and walked and walked.

He was still high headed and worried -- and I worried that he would buck me off in my lesson. So, I longed him. He was a nut case on the longe line, racing, bucking and kicking. I longed him until he settled into a balanced canter, until he listened to my voice commands and made prompt transitions, and until he relaxed.

I tacked him up and met Gayle at the warm up arena. She rode him first and worked with him on his canter. He was well behaved and responsive. She was able to work on the canter a long time -- much longer than my back can tolerate yet. Then I hopped on and had a lovely ride.

Winston is tucked in for the night. Brett and I are tucked into our room. I'm wiped out from bonding with my horse. Brett is wiped out from taking care of both of us. Tomorrow morning, we'll be back for more.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Oh the scariness of the overnight show. Hope he'll be more settled tomorrow (today) and you only have Show Nerves to contend with.
    I'll be thinking of you :)

  2. I'd say Winston's behavior is just what I would expect the first time out. I have a feeling he will settle down with time. Glad you had a good lesson and hope things go well today.
    I did not realize you were having lessons there. Great!

  3. Yes, those are date GROVES. And, there are miles and miles of them. Try a date while you are here...they are delicious and very nutritious! I used to give Sunni dates when I boarded him here in the valley.

  4. it sounds like a good start. And Winston is learning that he can leave his comfort zone and the world does not end.

    Been there, done that and bought the t-shirt.

  5. Time and experience. Each time he goes somewhere new like this he will be a bit more relaxed. Sounds like you did all the right things with him to help so he and you would have a wonderful ride!


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