Five Day Challenge -- Day 4

I have some fun updates on training to share with you guys about Guinness, but for today let's continue with the Five Day Challenge!

16. One thing you’d like to change about your horse:
You would think this would be an easy question, I'd take away his advanced fetlock arthritis, right? Well, I don't know. I've learned to manage it, and it's not really detrimental to our riding right now. What actually does seem to be hurting us is Guinness anxiety issues. So, actually, I think I would vote to make him a little less anxious and more comfortable under pressure. When he goes into full nervous breakdown, it's almost impossible to pull him back out.

17. Your horse’s future:
If you'd asked me this two years ago, I would have said that Guinness and I would make it to Second Level, and then I'd be leaving him behind with a friend or retiring him to pasture somewhere. Now? That future seems silly. Sure he's 15 now, but he's sound (SOMEONE PLEASE KNOCK ON WOOD!) and happy with his work. I see no reason that we can't work towards Third in the future. He's not going to to win any championships, but he's my perfect teacher.

18. Your worst show ever:
Hm. There are so many shows that can take this cake ...
I am going to go with the first show of this season, the IDS Schooling Show in May. The weather was gross. My horse was STRESSED. I was behind. Our scores were almost in the 40s. It was bad. Really bad. However, I didn't let it get me down. Instead I came up with a plan of attack for our next show and really buckled down on training. The result was a much more relaxed show season, and scores in the 60s that count towards my USDF Bronze. I guess it can't be all that bad ...
Yeah, that's not tension. Nope, not at all ... oh, god.
19. Favorite horse show venue:
I have to give a shout to the Kentucky Horse Park. I haven't personally shown there, but I've been down there so much for other people's shows, Rolex, and the World Equestrian Games that I feel like I could have. I'd love to show down there in the next year, but I don't think finances will allow it. It's a dream, though.

20. Your show day routine:
This is something I've worked really hard on, so I have a super detailed answer. Prepare your boredom meters for overload!
• Get to show grounds at least 2.5 hours before my first ride, if it's a morning ride. I arrive by 7:30 if it's an afternoon ride. I also pray it's a morning ride.
• Feed Guinness and administer Ulcerguard.
• Quick groom while he's eating (He's super clean, and I bathe the night before. Usually he barely needs a brushing.)
• I set up all my tack so it's ready to go, spot clean if necessary.
• After Guinness is done with his grain, I'll take him for a quick walk around the show grounds to stretch his legs.
• Braid.
• Change into my riding clothes 1.5 hours before my ride. I "borrowed" a set of scrubs from friends that I wear over my clothes to keep them clean while I bustle around. They pull right off over my boots, so they're great!
• Run through my test in my head. Then again. Then again. Then ... you get it.
• Remove Pig's standing wraps and Sore-no-more his fetlocks. Check for any inordinate heat. Trot him out or take him for another walk if there's a lot of stocking up or heat.
• 40 minutes before my ride, I tack up.
• 30 minutes before my ride I try to be mounted and at the warm up ring. This is usually delayed by me forgetting a) my whip b) my gloves c) my stock tie d) the bridle number e) all of the above.
• Warm up slowly, focusing on getting Pig's attention, contact, and lateral flexion at the walk before trotting and cantering to warm up the rest of him. Walk breaks are frequent to check mental well being, and maintain a calm pony. Any signs of nerves are an immediate sign to walk and try something easy.
• Head over to the ring for my test just as the horse before me is getting started with their test.
• Try to have a nice relaxing ride, and maintain the same softness I was working on in the warm up.
• After the ride I will either school a movement we had difficulty with for a minute, or head back to the barns to give Pig a quick bath and put him away.
• If it's my last class, I'll start packing and try to be out of the grounds. If not? I'll visit and relax until my next class. Showing is one of my favorite times to catch up with people I only see at horse events!


  1. Come to KY for a show next season and stay with us! Seriously, we would love to have you - we live about 15 minutes from the park. Seeing the pic of HHP makes me terribly home sick...


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