Friday, September 14, 2012

Thank you Lord for bringing me Rocky.

So things have been going pretty good in my life lately, something which is both surprising and amazing.  One of the reasons I feel this way has definitely got to be Rocky.

Once again I am late to the punch in reporting on how our show went, but it's a good way to introduce this post, so I forgive myself.  (Hopefully you forgive me too.  After all, remember the title of this blog...?)

Our last-minute show at Langley Riders went so incredibly well.  Like, better than I ever expected.  After the Willoughby show I figured that, laid-back as the Rock may be, he was still going to get a bit "spicy" in public and need a fair amount of work and exposure before we'd be successful at shows.  After all, his owner informed me that the last time he'd been shown was in 2011 at the Sporthorse show - in the halter classes only.

Well.  I was wrong.

He took to the Langley Riders grounds like they were his own home arena.  And we proceeded to kick butt big time.  We wound up with firsts in equitation and hunter under saddle (both of which were classes that, if asked which classes I'd specifically like to win, I'd have named - eq because it's judged solely on me, meaning that perhaps my eq isn't as bad as I expected??  And HUS because Rocky was bred for it!).  We also won the pleasure pairs class which was fun, I'd never done it before.

Then we placed second in discipline rail and third in english pleasure.

I have to say that I think I was actually the victim of a little bit of breed bias - in my favour.  This is a bizarre thing to me.  I have spent most of my career riding arabs and arab crosses and fighting the breed bias.  At this show, the judge was a QH judge, and in a couple of classes I feel fairly strongly that she purposefully looked the other way during some of our minor disobediences.  Discipline rail is a good example.  Early in the class they called for turn on the forehand, which we hadn't practiced at all (had never attempted, actually).  Asking Rocky for it confused and frustrated him and he began acting up.  (It was also the end of the day and you could pretty much tell he'd kind of had it.)  Anyway Rocky threw his little temper tantrum, and the whole time, the judge stood firmly with her back to us.  Then they asked for a counter-canter, which was something else we hadn't worked on - it took me a couple of tries to convince Rocky that the wrong lead was REALLY what I was asking for.  The judge awarded us a second place.  Maybe she honestly didn't notice, but I find that hard to believe.

Anyway.  The whole experience was fantastic.  I love this horse SO MUCH.


Warming up

In class

Picking up our ribbons!

Anyway.  All in all, a great day.  I was very happy with the people running the show as well, other than the announcement that show coats were usually mandatory - seriously, for $8/class, you think I'm going to crack out my $200 show coat??  No thanks!!

So I am looking forward with great anticipation to the Sporthorse show next weekend.  I sent in my entries so we're all set.  I decided to skip the halter classes and only show for one day, reducing my costs drastically as I don't have to pay for a weekend stall.  I'm showing in 2 english pleasure classes (19 and over, and coloured horse), 2 hunter under saddle classes (also 19+ and coloured), and the 19+ equitation.  I tried to enter the classes that would give us the best chance at success.

There is another show at Langley Riders the following weekend, a trophy show which could be fun but we'll see.

So I've been thinking a lot about what I'd like to try and accomplish with this horse.  In my mind, I am still an event rider, even though I've only really done dressage for the last *cough*decade*cough*.  When I first met Rocky I thought the same thing - he'd be a killer lower-level event horse, just on the strength of his temperament.  But... if my time in Calgary's jumperland taught me much, it's that jumping really isn't my thing.  Eventing appeals to me more than jumpers but in truth I think I'd always be battling my fears... which is fine when you have time and energy, but maybe not so much with my lifestyle.  Plus, truthfully, Rocky is not ever going to be much of a dressage horse.  Lower-level dressage, of course, because frankly I will always believe that dressage will help any horse.  But it will never be that easy for him.  He naturally wants to carry himself a bit downhill, with a flat-kneed stride.  So, I figure, why not play to his strengths and try AQHA for a while.  I worked at an AQHA barn in my formative years so while I have never personally competed with a quarter horse, I am very, very familiar with what they are looking for, and Rocky would be killer.  So... I think I've decided to give it a try.  After all, it's probably one of my strengths too... I am a very good show rider, I am great at finessing a fussy horse around a ring making it look like the desired "pleasure" to ride.  (Of course with Rock it doesn't take much finessing!)

I guess then that's our goal.  Next year I will keep doing the schooling shows and aim for maybe another Sporthorse show and try for an AQHA show - though I won't complain if I have to wait until 2014 for that.  They are super competitive so I definitely want to be ready.  In the meantime I may try to find an AQHA barn and/or trainer to hook up with.

I may also do some hunter shows, and aim Rocky toward AQHA hunter over fences.  But that won't be the focus.

It's so nice to have some goals, some things to look forward to.  With everything that's happened over the last year, I will take anything positive that I can get.  This horse is something I will always be grateful to have in my life, a chance I never ever thought I'd get in a million years.  I love you Rock!!

Me: "Rocky, let's go for a ride."
Rocky: "om nom nom."

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