Sunday, December 4, 2011

The First Show!

Maybe I need to include in my blog description that I'm a middle aged woman, amateur rider working with a sensitive OTTB with a big lovable heart trying to find our way in the dressage ring...

I know I'm not the world's best rider but I'm not horrible.  I get my enjoyment from making that connection with my horse and being able to understand and communicate with him.    Yesterday was one of those days that puts a perma-grin on my face because I could see that I could do it.

Anything could have happened in the course of the day.   Ollie could have had another day like last week when we traveled to Masterson Station Park.  But instead we had a "We're rock stars!" day!

Ollie loaded well for Matt and me.  He had been a bit of a challenge but we've been practicing and he's improving.

We arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park and found our way to the stabling area.  We unloaded Ollie and put him in a stall with water and hay.  He was a little anxious but not too bad.  He was doing some stall walking and an occasional whinny but overall pretty darn good.   We let him decompress in the stall and we hung outside of the stall with him.  When he settled down I decided to put a bridle on him and walk him around the property for his first look around. 

Getting Ollie acclimated to the surroundings at the Kentucky Horse Park.  In the background is the new outdoor stadium which can seat 7400 people.

He seemed to take it all in without a hitch.  He just looked alertly around at the other horses and activity.  I thought for sure that the lights for the "Southern Lights" holiday exhibit would get to him but he didn't bat an eyelash at them.

He seemed to be doing well so I took him back to his stall and tacked him up.  Again, I took him around for a tour over the same area.  It was no big deal...

I felt that I could get on him and ride him in one of the warm up arenas.  I didn't want to just jump right in there so I had Matt lead him using a lead line with me on him, then I had Matt take off the lead line but had him keep walking with us.  Then finally I had Matt just stand in the middle and we rode around him.  Ollie was fine!  In fact, he seemed to be better than some days in our own arena!  I think it was important that we took the time to let him see and hear everything going on.  As one friend says, "We need to spell out everything in capital letters and in crayon for him."  I was so proud of him at this point because this was the exact opposite horse I had last week!

Can you see the scaffolding supporting a holiday light rocking horse behind us?  Didn't bother Ollie a bit...

Here's a video of our ride around the warm up arena.  Matt was in the middle so I started to tell him where I was going so he could follow and get out of our way too...  

I am just so proud at how calm cool and collected Ollie was throughout the video.  He only got quick  once out there.  And he could stand and look around without getting wound up over it.  He looks like a good horse!  So unlike last week where everyone was trying to get out of our way...

Needless to say, I am very proud of us.  I think I handled him well, he responded well and I have faith that I could actually compete and not just go as a non-compete.

I don't pretend that I'm a great horseman.  I'm just learning as I go along with my horse.  I get all my enjoyment over our accomplishments and isn't that what owning a horse is suppose to be about?   I'm just a middle aged, average rider who can do it (with the help of professionals) on her cute spunky OTTB.  I'm still grinning...



  1. florida horse girlDecember 4, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    WOO HOO!! WE DID IT! WE DID IT! WE DID IT! I have a perma grin too and can't wait for next time!! I would ride today but my legs seem to be jello! LOL So proud of all of us!

  2. Good for you. Ollie sure is handsome. Popped over from hay-net

  3. @florida horse girl - CONGRATS!! So glad we can share our triumphs no matter how small they may be!! Good on us!

    @horse care courses - thanks for popping by and commenting! I proudly post the hay-net badge...

  4. Such good news. You and Ollie both have so much heart.

  5. wonderful, I loved seeing the pictures of your progress. Keep up the good work! Karen

  6. Ollie is stunning! I love the grey patches on his knees and hocks and his sweet face. His trot looks really nice -- he reaches under very nicely. You guys are on your way!! (and there is nothing wrong with being a middle aged amateur rider enjoying her horse - I am too).

  7. An excellent report, Wendy, and many carrots to Ollie from his red-headed cousin "Huey." ;o) You're doing things slowly and with purpose, and Ollie is getting his confidence from you. Keep up the good work!!

    When is the NEXT show? (;o)

  8. Nothing like getting that first outing out of the way, and successfully. Ollie is a pretty mover and you two look wonderful together. Looking forward to hearing about your next show! :)

  9. Congrats! You guys look great together!

  10. I think the both of you look lovely. He looks like a total dear; so calm and pleasant! No crazy race horse in there at all. Such a sweet face too :)

  11. You guys are so well matched and adorable :)

  12. Just what the doctor ordered - for both of you! Congrats!

  13. LOVE following the progress, Wendy! Congratulations and you should be proud. I'm learning a lot just by reading you - your patience is inspirational!

  14. The look on both your faces says it all - what a feeling when it all goes right! The reason why we (middle-aged) horsewomen keep working to get better. Great admiration to you, Ollie and the "staff photographer"!

  15. How did I miss this?! You guys look like a wonderful, well matched pair, calm and cool. Love your leg/heel position:) Congratulations!!