Wednesday, May 4, 2011

5/1/11 STAR Arabian Show, Sinton, TX

R, Jen, Harley and I arrived around 9:30am. The wind HOWLED all day. We were located at the trailer, in a parking lot. There was so much sand in the parking lot that, with each 50mph gust, we were all treated to a dermabrasion facial. It was a sandblasting trip.

I walked Harley in his knotted halter to the warmup area of the show arena. There were horses being ridden, some standing patiently in their sparkly halters, and a lot of people around. More importantly, there was a ghostly voice coming from the sky. *yup* Harley was initially NOT amused with the loudspeaker voice. He was very "up" as we entered the warm up area. Head up high, ears and eyes on wide alert, and after about four minutes, his feet started to wriggle about, absolutely certain he didn't know how to take it all in. We stood a few minutes, and we walked a few minutes. In his fear, Harley was definitely "in my hula hoop personal space". At first, I ignored it. After a few minutes walking, I tugged on the halter, and backed him up. Without letting my emotions show, I mildly disciplined Harley for his over-reaction. After a little while, they were going to have a scheduled open arena break. We waited that out, then walked into the arena while many others were riding.

Harley was pretty quiet on his first walk through the big arena. He sniffed the dirt, snorted at the fake grass/plastic chairs/flowers at the center of the arena, but quickly realized they were harmless. I walked him over to the cattle chutes, and the wind made an awful whistling noise in the baffles at the top of the arena edge. Harley didn't even flinch, and touched nose to pipework around the arena. We stayed for a while before carefully dodging the crowd and leaving the arena. Back to the trailer for another long wait.

There was a second riding break, and again, we hand walked around the arena a while. I showed Harley the two banners that were flapping in the wind on an arena wall. No problem, even when it flapped at him - he just stood there. I let him have a long look at the metal bleachers, and the space between the sections. He glanced over, saw people all about, and quieted quickly. The magic voice over the loudspeaker shared information with us for a bit, and he quieted to that as well.

Before the next break, we saddled Harley in his purple goodness, I got dressed, and Jen took him to the longing area for his standard warmup. About fifteen minutes into his warm up (now well after noon; okay, closer to 1:30), Harley was showing us he was tired. Tired from the drive down, tired standing in the parking lot, tired muching hay and playing with their water (which at this point he was NOT interested in drinking), and really tired from being sandblasted for so many hours. He warmed up quietly, neck stretcher work at walk and trot only.

We tightened the saddle, and I hopped on...

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