Friday, June 13, 2008

Ellie’s first show

Ellie the horse is my new project. She is a 6-year-old Thoroughbred/Warmblood cross that has been in jumping training over in the Seattle area. Her owner is graduating from college and is off to see the world, so she and her parents decided to sell Ellie. The problem is that Ellie has issues. She spooks in indoor arenas, and has reared over backwards with her trainer. She spooks outdoors as well, but usually not as bad. She's unpredictable- she won't be afraid of the huge loud shavings truck dumping shavings with tarps blowing in the wind around her, but will spook at a weed growing in the arena. So instead of selling her for nothing to some jerk that said he'd use her as a broodmare, they asked if I would like to have her as a "free lease," meaning she's my horse but they still officially own her. Did I mention they were trying to sell her for $25,000? I said yes because... she has jumping potential. And I miss jumping. She arrived last weekend, and I've been riding her two times a day. She's got a trot to die for.

So um, I actually signed her up for her first show before I'd even seen a picture of her. I've always wanted to jump out at Deep Creek Farms, they have a fabulous cross country course with a huge water complex. Ellie's never been to a show before and I think it was a bit of shock for the young girl who's spent the last 2 years in a box stall riding in arenas. She had to walk through TALL GRASS. There were TALL WEEDS- horse eating ones. It was pouring rain and the princess does not like the rain.

The show was a Derby, meaning that we had to ride a dressage test in an arena and then go jump jumps afterwards in a huge field. However, at the end of the arena there was a HORSE TRAILER. With the judges sitting in it. It was a horse eating trailer. It almost got her a few times but she used her new-found barrel racing skills to get by it as quickly as possible.

There were a few good moments in our test, the judge liked her a lot and said she has a lot of "potential".

Then we had to walk up a huge, long, steep hill to get to the jumping course. This took even longer than one would think because she 1)- had never really been on uneven ground 2)- had to stop every 6 feet to look around her and 3)- seemed to have some trouble figuring out how to get up the hill in the first place. She DID walk, though, which is good for a baby horse, they usually want to bolt.

At the top of the hill she spooked at a big jump I was trying to walk her by. The jump was made out of logs, the horse eating kind. She kind of reared and did a 180 degree turn in the air. This seemed to get the spectator's attention, once I got her turned back around there were 30 people watching me instead of the person riding the course. So I just let her stand there and take it all in... at least until most of the people got bored. When it was our time to jump the course I think her little brain was overloaded and she did great. The jumps were just poles about 2 feet high, the kinds of jumps she's used to. She also went through the water complex twice, and refused the one jump that was made out of a log. We got 16 jumping faults but she eventually went over, through, or by everything and got complimented by the judge.

In the end it was a highly successful outing, we would have gotten second place in our division if it weren't for the 16 jumping faults. We didn't get a ribbon but I did order some pix from a professional photographer that was there so I'll post those when they come. Thanks to B, one of the boys at the ranch that came with me to groom and took pix.