Parents of little ones - turn their faces.. I usually try to keep the blog rated G for families, but I got to here..
Jen and I braved what turned out to be some horrid, crappy weather. As we got closer to the show grounds, A huge horrendous shitty rain storm and cold front pounded the truck. I am usually a brave driver, but a smart one. I pulled off to a gas station, and set Ransom's trailer in the cover. Hail, lightening, thunder, heavy rain, harsh winds. Nasty Nasty for about 20 minutes.
We arrived at the fairgrounds, and made the decision to leave Ransom in the trailer with his hay & mats. The stalls are tiny, he's big, and honestly, not worth the payment just to lock him up in a box and have him stress out. The trailer didn't do him much better, and I need to rethink how to handle these situations for the future. I got registered, and didn't see hide or hair of that Evil Man (EM) who opened the gate on us before. Good thing, I muttered to myself, I'd hate to whoop some hiney before we even get tacked up.
While we waited, Ransom stomped some serious dents in the horse compartment in the trailer, left us all kinds of potty presents, and made it entirely clear that waiting was not his game. I got him out for a while, and walked him to the arena, let him sniff & look inside and out. He wouldn't stand still, and didn't cause a huge scene, but didn't stand still, either. Entirely anxious to get going.. I completely understood & agreed with him.
I waited and waited and waited and waited. I almost chickened out, and got back in the truck to go home. Finally, around noon, it was time to tack up, change, and get to showing. Jen and I saddled him up, wrapped his legs, and I got dressed. The wind was still howling, but the rains had stopped, and the sun was squirting out of some breaks in the clouds. Jen graciously agreed to lunge him for me, and I watched with great intent. He warmed up beautifully. It was hard to hear in the wind, but Jen said he got all the gaits good, was listening to clucks, kisses, and "shhhs" in the up & downs, and was ready for me.
I looked around, saw everyone was leaving the arena, and decided, "It's now or never. I'm bigger, badder, and better than this damn arena. I'm going to canter in here, I'm going to go right & left, and I won't leave until I do. Footing's a little deep, but Ransom handled it FINE at Banshee for HM, he can do it here. Ain't no way I'm quitting now."
I mounted up, I walked, I trotted, I changed directions. His transitions weren't life-changing amazing, but for Ransom, in the cold wind, he was soft. His gaits were slow, he wasn't fighting me all the time. He wasn't tense, for sure.
I looked, I breathed hard, exhaled sharp, sang to myself, and squeezed. Up into canter-right.
I don't even remember seeing the gate, or who might've been watching. I glanced at Jen once or twice standing in the middle of our circle, and concentrated on the footing a few times. I only remember thinking, "Breathe, shoulders back & open, heels down, move with him, sing sing sing, breathe, relaaaaaax. He's soo slow, wiggle the bit, back on contact, head back down. Okay, three circles done, now breathe.. shhhhhh, squeeze the reins, back to trot."
Heading left, it was much of the same. I was relieved, happy, tickled, giddy, darn out right pleased with myself. We did it! The warm up in the outdoor arena has been conquered! I know he didn't look purdy perfect, but he was My Ransom, and My Babysitter. Even though I was not the best rider at that moment, it got softer, and my seat relaxed some.
Could we carry that same calmness into that rodeo style show arena? There were plenty of horses in there, I could see them through the bleachers. But if Ransom had the booger monster cootie fears, I needed to see it in the warm up, not in our first class. I needed to know just how awesome he was going to be, or how much I had to stay calm for him.
(By this point in the day, I almost couldn't care less what else we did. I had gotten through canters in the warm up outdoor arena, the same place that broke my shoulder & destroyed any courage I had left. I was terrified that arena and those fairgrounds were out to kill me, and I was certain the management wanted me on my bottom in the dirt. But we'd done it, and I can check it off the list.)