I had thought the 2 minute trailer ride would be great for her, but not so much. When I opened the doors of the trailer at the show I found Lucky shaking. Uncontrollably shaking. To the point where I had thought that she night be tying up. Looking in to her eye though it became very clear that my pretty girl was terrified! Since I wasn’t nervous at all I just took a deep breath and assessed the situation. I was alone with a very scared horse. I knew I couldn’t unload her until I had checked in at the show office, so I decided to just sit with her in the trailer. I talked to her and hung out. It took about 5 minutes before she started to eat hay and another 5 for the full body shaking to become intermittent. She was still upset, but I didn’t feel bad leaving her to check in.
As soon as I got my number I unloaded her and brought her out to look around. She settled down a lot more once she could see other horses. I figured that the short trailer ride was a little off putting to her and she would be fine from now on. Yeah, I was wrong.
As I brought her back towards the trailer so my show coat and her bridle she started to dance. She was clearly anxious and could not stand still. I actually feel safer on Lucky when I am on her so after one walk around the ring on foot establishing that I was still with her I climbed aboard. We walked in to the lower ring and she tried to grab the bit and bolt. I grabbed the reins up just in time and so she just did a few steps of canter. My first thought was “Go Me. You stopped her”. My Second thought was, “Oh Shit, she is really strong and you have never figured out how to make her less strong while riding her”. At this point I was alone so I took a deep breath and started talking to myself as though I was the trainer on the ground. I told myself to do lots of transitions, from walk to halt, free walk to medium walks, walk to trot, etc. I was doing transitions when I noticed that I had zero control over my horse when I was not using my reins. I couldn’t control her tempo, her gait, or even her direction if I was not strong arming her.
I don’t want to strong arm her though. I hate it when I am grabby on her mouth. I kept trying to sit deep, but she would ignore my seat. Even worse, she would actually go towards any leg pressure. Like when I would put on my outside leg she would drift towards the outside! I decided to change to a different warm up ring to see if that would help. I decided that since I so little control I would just focus on getting her to turn where I wanted and to try and get her forward at the walk. My parents had decided to come by and see me, and tryingtoride came early to she could watch my ride. Even my non-horsey parents could tell that Lucky and I were not doing so well. I kept trying to drop my reins and give her the benefit of the doubt, but she kept throwing her face in the air and walking like a druken sailor.
I almost scratched. As the called my number to go in I literally stopped with the intention of just getting off. I knew better though. You can’t turn a green horse in to a great show horse if you don’t show them. So what if the test was shitty. I was there for experience. I walked her in to the ring determined, but riding very, very defensively.