Woodford Hounds at Shakertown, Kentucky.
Shakertown, an old restored Shaker Village, is like stepping back in time. Having an old tradition, such as the Blessing of the Hounds, fits right in with the atmosphere of the Village. Also, there are wonderful trails at Shakertown to take you horse for a small fee. During WEG, this was the home location for the U.S. Endurance Riding Team.
After the Blessing was made for the dogs, foxes, coyotes, horses and riders, the hunt galloped off throughout the surrounding countryside.
In a nutshell, Ollie was on his toes with the new surroundings as I suspected he would be. He was doing fairly well UNTIL...
Three other horses entered the arena we were in. Ollie made it clear to me that he did not know those horses and he had a meltdown. There was just too much stimulis for him and he panicked. I'll fess up that I did come off at one point and a gal who was standing nearby was able to catch him. Several people remarked how beautiful he is and asked if he was an arab or anglo arab. I told them, "Nope! Just a thoroughbred who is lacking some brain cells at the moment..."
Julie arrived soon after our incident. She directed me over to the dressage arenas up a hill. But at this point, Ollie's brain cells were gone. So we spent our time in the dressage ring getting him to settle down. Even though it wasn't like a traditional lesson, I learned a lot about owning a sensitive animal and dealing with it. Next time I'll probably be better at nipping things in the bud.
Here are some not so glamorous photos of getting Ollie to relax and come back to earth.
We are finally walking flat footed in this next photo... phew!
Here is a photo of an exhausted horse and rider. My helmet still is askew from my earlier tumble...
So while he wasn't a rock star on this day, we did learn a lot. Julie and I spoke about the show and she encouraged me to still go. I'm going as a non-compete. This way I'll be able to use my running martingale which we still need (especially under new situations) with Ollie.
I can't say enough good things about working with Julie. She's very supportive, still likes Ollie and she's been in my shoes before with a hot horse. I truly value her input and her amazing understanding of a sensitive horse.
This first show is going to be all about getting Ollie's feet wet with a positive new experience. One from which we can grow. Sometimes it takes baby steps...