Last night, I hitched a ride with some barn friends to Saturday’s show venue (Bridle Creek Arena in Sperry, OK) to piddle around on Gina and try to determine if we’re going to embarrass ourselves at the show. The place is great- the indoor arena is very large, there’s ample parking, and it’s about a 5 minute haul from the barn. It’s used primarily for rodeo events, though, and has lots of spooky stuff like cattle runs, sponsor banners, and a general smell of livestock. Gina’s been there before for a show with her former lesson kid (who has opted to ride a different horse this season), but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to haul her down there anyway.
She hopped in the barn owner’s giant slant load like it was no big deal, unloaded at the facility and stayed quietly tied to the trailer as if she’s never been a brat or pulled back in her life. Gina even tolerated barn owner’s giant green bean warmblood gelding trying to sniff her, trying to chew on lead ropes, and trying to stick his butt in her face. (She did kick out at barn owner as she was moving around between the two of them, probably because she thought barn owner was that pesky gelding getting TOO close.) She calmly left the other horses at the trailer when I led her off the the arena (because Gina is too good for the three peon geldings that accompanied her on this trip).
Inside the arena, Gina was giving everything the hairy eyeball. We walked around for a few minutes before I mounted from a picnic table and set off. There were about 8 other people there, most of them western dressage competitors who were also prepping for this weekend. Gina was unfazed by their presence and was laser-focused on power walking around and randomly staring at the cones that made up a makeshift dressage arena.
Her walk was incredible- swinging, forward, and very powerful. We did a little shoulder-in and some leg yields and circles before I asked for the trot. She fairly exploded forward into a huge trot and really stretched downward and over her back for a few strides before settling into the contact. I was so surprised at this enormous fancy trot that I sat on her back like a idiot, completely posting on auto-pilot while she went around the ring. Who is this horse? was all I could think!
We trotted and trotted- she was really lovely, aside from a little tail swishing and llama-ing when I asked for leg yields. Our canter work was equally nice. Gina was very forward- maybe a little too forward at first. It took a few circles for her to realize that I was asking her to get on the bit and canter at a slightly more sedate pace.
I tried to make sure my position was good; I kept my shoulders back and tried to keep my hips supple and my hands low. It’s amazing what a difference concentrating on your position can make!
I was absolutely thrilled with Gina’s behavior. She felt energetic, attentive, and really fucking good! A couple people even complimented me on her (and nearly everyone was surprised to hear she’s 19)! That’s something that doesn’t happen often. I’m very optimistic about tomorrow’s show- I don’t think we’ll embarrass ouselves at all!