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Post Show!!

Hanna and I discussed the show and he had really good behavior. There were only two moments of debauchery. One was during lunging, but I got him settled. (He got pretty excited and there were other stallions and mares and he started acting like a stallion). The second was that he became frustrated with me and kicked out at a gate obstacle during practice. This was my fault and I didn't punish him and we worked through it. But the rest of the time he was calm. He did get bored easily and for example, didn't want to stand still right before the ridden trail (wanted to walk) and he wanted to go out and eat grass, but we worked through this too. He he wasn't walking fast or anything and he only stopped at the door as he wanted to go out. When I asked him to go forward and rewarded him, he was ok with this. After the trail class, he was "tired" and stopped trying to walk off.

The kicking out at the gate issue was him getting a bit scared of me opening and closing it; and when he wouldn't get close at one point, I was putting too much pressure on him with my legs. His threshold is much lower when we both have anxiety, so when I started pressing harder on his side to get him to move closer to the gate, he swung out and he kicked out with his hind legs in frustration. I paused for a moment and then asked again, only this time with less pressure on my leg. I accepted smaller steps and rewarded him with small amounts and for small tries. He finally side passed close enough and I stopped asking and we moved on to something else. It was a balance of, no we can't have a temper tantrum and give up, but I respect that you are confused or nervous so I will lower my standards and ask more kindly. It worked out!

Outside of emotional behaviors, the show was great!! He came away with 2 firsts (Liberty and English Pleasure), 1 second (Halter Geldings) and 1 third (Ridden Trail). Plus Reserve Champion halter gelding and Reserve High Point Champion. Good job! Oh and for the trail, he did great but he spooked at a hole in the wall and didn't want to get near the mailbox that was placed in front of it. We practiced the mailbox multiple times but he wasn't terribly keen. Add something spooky and forget it! But I pressured him, making sure to be gentle and not frustrate him, and he finally did it! Barring this, we might have placed better. He was also kind of lazy on the bit of trot; he tried to walk on the final cone.

In English pleasure he was quite good; initially any pointing toward the door/grass he sped up a bit. But once he realized that wasn't going to happen, he got into a nice trot. His transitions and turns were lovely. No feeling of pressure from the other horse. He also walked when he heard the announcer say walk. Nice.

Oh and he was not scared of the other horses at all. He only had a moment where he didn't want to pass behind the Stallion Tino and in front of a mare. Fair enough, respect for both ends lol

Now that the show is over Hanna and I agreed that we could go back to working on his self carriage and other things. She suggested that we work exclusively on asking for his head to be vertical and not worry about head up. This is because he struggles to not poke his nose out. Then we can worry about getting his head up and the rock back. I can also do more work with my lateral movements and even try moving him into the canter.

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