Chapter 2: In Which my Horse is a Fire-Breathing Dragon from Planet Unicorn

Show number two is under our belts!! Those of you who I’ve connected with on Instagram already know how it went, but don’t spoil it for the rest of the gang. Suspense is always fun.

Anywho, I had a really bad feeling about this show. Addy has been stocked up in her left hind for a couple days, and even though she’s been perfectly sound, I’m a paranoid horse mom (or aunt or nanny or whatever). I rode her yesterday briefly and she felt A-OK and both Trainer and Assistant Trainer gave the thumbs up, so when my alarm went off at 5:45am on Sunday, I figured we may as well give it a try.

Well, that lasted until I got to the barn. After eating her breakfast I noticed that her leg was still pretty puffy, but she still didn’t mind me poking and prodding around it. Trainer said we should toss her on the lunge line for a bit and see how she was moving and if the swelling would go down.

OH THANK GOODNESS WE DID THAT. Oh my word. Pretty Girl just ran in circles, threw bucks, snorted, pranced, and was generally full of beans. So glad we got her moving around like that BEFORE anyone got on.

Once she had tired herself out a little we checked and saw the swelling had already started to go down. She hadn’t taken a single ouchie step, so it was time to load onto the trailer! At this point I was feeling SO nervous- the stress of worrying about her leg for the past couple days, wondering if today was the day she became a bucking bronco pony, worrying about the fact that I didn’t have any buddies with me so who was going to hold my horse if I had to pee?! and just general show nerves. But I’ve been a weenie in the past, and I was determined to at least make it to the show and put in an effort.

We made it there, and Beastly over here came off the trailer with nostrils flared and tail pricked. Showoff. I asked Trainer to hop on her first to take her around, which turned out to be unneeded. It was like Addy remembered her job and instantly relaxed once someone was on her back. She went around the warmup ring with absolutely no problems, both with Trainer and with myself.

She went back on the trailer just long enough for me to get my number and sign up for my classes, then it was back on! My first round at 2’9″ was, um, interesting. I’d like to think of it as a warmup round. We chipped, we took fliers, we had one memorable oxer where we stuck a 5 in a bending line where a lot of horses were putting 7. Ah well. Such is life. We needed to box it in a lot harder- I thought that because she was relaxed in the warmup she would be relaxed on course, but that was not the case. She seems to know when it’s showtime and transforms into the racehorse half of her heritage.

Second round was a little bit better- still not one of our best rides, but a definite improvement. Nothing too noticeable here, except for the fact that we did manage the comfortable 6 in the bending line.

We won both classes! I think we were the only person in one class and there was only one other person in the other…but hey. A win is a win. I’ll take it.

Then it was flat class time. Note to self: we do not do well in flat classes. Addy gets very confused why we’re not jumping any of the pretty jumps and wants to run and be freeee and feel the wind in her mane and is having none of my “please trot you beastly little dragon.” She was an absolute fire-breathing dragon. Manfriend was giggling at the video I showed him- and that was the direction that she was behaving decently in. We cantered when they said walk. We cantered when they said trot. We hand-galloped when they said canter. I ran her into a wall when they said walk and line up. It was all very exciting. I think if they could’ve given me lower than second place they would have, but alas there were only two of us in the class. Bright side: my trainer saw me struggling and called out that I should forget about trying to make her hunter-y and just make her listen. So this flat class ended up being a very useful schooling session where she ended up listening, even if she was framed up like a dressage horse instead of on the buckle.

This did end up being enough for me to get champion in my division out of two people, but like I said- a win is a win! And now we have a big pretty champion ribbon hanging on her door!

Our 3′ division was canceled since no one else signed up, but my trainer convinced them to offer a 3′ option in the Child/Adult Hunters (which was listed at 2’6″). Warmup for that was uneventful, but she was definitely charging around with me a bit. We bumped her up to a slow twist recently, but I think she may need something stronger for shows because she was blowing right through my hand.

But we went in for our first 3′ round!!!! And it felt amazing. We got packaged up, got nice distances, she jumped sooo cute, and it flowed smoothly. I walked out of the ring with the absolute biggest grin on my face. I wasn’t surprised when we won that class, and I don’t mean to sound cocky there. But you know that feeling when you just click with your horse and it feels so good and you just know that you rocked it? It was that feeling.

Second round was ehhhhhh not great. We didn’t package up nearly as well, and it was a bit of a hot mess. By this point Addy was a little tired and less inclined to collect when asked. Also for some reason, I did not see a single distance in this round. For the life of me, I could not see anything. It was like my eye had gone out the window. All I could do was close my leg and hope for the best. Addy, of course, is the best pony to exist in the whole wide world and carried my butt through the whole course very good-naturedly. This was enough to get us 3rd!

Second flat class- we went into this one with a schooling mentality so it was less eventful. I literally said the words to her: “Do not be a dragon. You are not a unicorn. You are a horse. Please act like a horse. This is a horse show for horses.” I think some rando got that on the video they were recording of their buddy in the class and I’d love to get a copy of me giving Pretty Girl a pep talk. We were still much too “up” and had some breaking-into-canter moments because oh man trotting is boring IS THAT A JUMP CAN I DO IT PLEASE. But overall it was less fire-breathing. We still got 5th out of 5, but that’s as expected. Seriously. Flat classes are not our friend (though I think we could do well in eq flat classes where there’s a little more to distract her with, she loves dressage-y movements and going in a frame).

For your viewing pleasure, a selection of our trips! I’m trying to figure out how to edit together all the funny parts from our flat class, so hopefully I can share that later in the week.

  • First 2’9″ trip at 0:00 (obviously)
  • Second 2’9″ trip at 1:13 (this is truncated for some reason, and a little fuzzy)
  • First 3′ trip at 1:34- if you’re going to watch anything, just watch this one. It’s the good one.
  • Second 3′ trip at 2:45. You can ignore this one (please).

We did the 3′!!! And we even managed to win one of our classes at that height!! I am so so so unbelievably proud of my girl, who has handled this transition to being a show pony with her usual sweetness and dependability. She gets Monday off to play outside with her friends all day, and then it will be business as usual in our lesson on Wednesday. Can’t wait to keep progressing with her!

PS- regarding Addy’s leg, we think the stocking up is probably due to some crazy weather changes, inconsistent turnout, and a changing riding schedule. By the end of the show, the swelling was almost completely gone and she was still completely sound. We’re tracking it closely and taking some steps to make sure she’s not ouchie in any way, but so far she’s been perfectly fine. I’ll keep you posted!

19 thoughts on “Chapter 2: In Which my Horse is a Fire-Breathing Dragon from Planet Unicorn

  1. Karen M 03/30/2015 / 11:20 am

    Hooray for the 3′! Now you can never go back 🙂


  2. T (Happy Pony) 03/30/2015 / 11:29 am

    New reader, and just wanted to say congrats on a successful outing – loved the recap too 🙂


    • hellomylivia 03/30/2015 / 11:44 am

      Thanks so much (both for reading and for the kind words)!


  3. heartofhope10 03/30/2015 / 12:33 pm

    AHH! Congrats!! You two look great, and I think you’ll have many more great outings this season!


    • hellomylivia 03/30/2015 / 1:05 pm

      Thank you so much!! I keep being surprised at how much she seems to enjoy showing off her crazy moves 🙂


  4. Lauren 03/30/2015 / 2:03 pm

    Simon will stock up randomly too. It always raises my red flag, but he’s almost always sound on it. Congrats on a great show and breaking in the 3′ with such bravado! I know that “feeling” and it’s ADDICTING.


    • hellomylivia 03/30/2015 / 2:11 pm

      Thank you so much! An addicting feeling for sure, my wallet and brain are arguing about when our next show is going to be 😉
      Glad to hear Addy isn’t alone in her mystery stocking up! I’ll let you know if we figure out any causes/cures.


  5. Elinor 03/30/2015 / 4:46 pm

    Hey, that was a GREAT show outing!
    Good news that her leg was just mildly stocked up. Interested to hear what develops with it – keep us posted!


    • hellomylivia 03/30/2015 / 6:12 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I’ll definitely let you know what happens with her leg! I’m hopeful that as the mud dries up and the ground gets firmer she’ll work out of it (fingers crossed!)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. CallyJumps 03/30/2015 / 6:00 pm

    Congrats! What awesome results 🙂 You guys look great! And those jumps look big in that indoor!

    Mine will stock up behind if you look at her funny. If she has to be in for a show, I always either wrap the night before, or lunge in the morning. She’s never off on it, and it always goes down with moving around. I think it’s just due to the injuries she’s had to both back legs, fluids don’t move out as well as they should due to scar tissue.


    • hellomylivia 03/30/2015 / 6:10 pm

      Thank you so much!!
      That’s really interesting- I don’t know Addy’s injury history, so I’m wondering if it might have to do with that. Definitely something I’ll ask her owner!


  7. The Exquisite Equine 03/31/2015 / 7:54 am

    YAYAYAY Congrats!!! That is so awesome! I am glad you survived the show by yourself and at 3′! So much to be proud of :)!!


    • hellomylivia 03/31/2015 / 9:36 am

      Thank you love!!! So proud of my girl for being the angel unicorn that she is 😀


  8. emma 03/31/2015 / 10:02 pm

    wooo hooo congratulations!!! sounds like you all had a blast too!! fwiw my mare stocks up when the footing gets icky and she doesn’t move around as much. it always goes down with a little moving around


    • hellomylivia 04/01/2015 / 7:09 am

      Thank you!! We had sooo much fun together 🙂
      So far moving around seems to be helping- she wasn’t nearly as stocked up yesterday so it looks like she just needed more time to play outside!


  9. laurelashtonw 04/01/2015 / 5:22 pm

    Yay! Good job! My current horse often breathes fire too haha! I have always had hot hunters. My old hunter was previously a jumper and a high level dressage horse before he was a jumper, so he was always super weird in flat classes. He literally could run away with me at the trot… He would also try to race the other horses.. We got kicked out or excused ourselves many times before he figured out that he he won when he stayed calm.


    • hellomylivia 04/02/2015 / 2:39 pm

      I need to convince Addy of that! She had only ever shown as a jumper, and they always put the flat classes after the over fences classes- she just assumes that the ring must be for jumping. I will say, we did get some impressive haunches-in as I was trying to convince her to walk 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • laurelashtonw 04/02/2015 / 3:42 pm

        Haha yeah mine figured it out after a while, so I’m sure she will too!


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