As I walked towards the bridge Phoenix started to look at it. I sat up tall and put my legs on making it clear that he had to go ON the ramp. He tried to go left and right, but I was so firm and consistent that he started on the bridge. As he put his foot down on the wood and it made a sound he started to snort. I took a deep breath and tried to pass all my confidence down to him. And it worked! He marched over it like a little trooper. At the barrels he picked up the wrong lead! I was so mad. There went my chance of winning! I was so mad that I almost forgot to stop at the second barrel! Luckily my little dressage pony was listening to me so when I used my aids to ask for a downward he dropped right down to the walk.
Of course now that he was snorting and blowing it was time to get the rain coat. Phoenix turned to face as it blew in the wind and it took a lot of coaxing to get him close enough to grab it. As soon as it was in my hands he settled right down. The T was not so pretty because Phoenix does not like to back (he would prefer not to use his hind end thank you very much) but at least it was clean. I figured we still had a chance of pinning as we came up to the ground poles. My lazy, of course, had to hot everyone the whole way through. Sigh. We now had two movements with poor scores instead of just one. I got a little too close to the mailbox so I actually had to tip it back in order to get the mail out. That made everyone laugh! The gate was tricky. I ended up having to get it open and then back Phoenix through. As it came time to re-attach it Phoenix started to walk away! I was so shocked that I almost dropped it! Luckily I was able to get it back on in just a nick of time.
It was VERY fun to be able to do the class! I was all smiles watching the last group of people go. At the end they announced the results and Phoenix and I came in 3rd!!!! How great it that? My trainer actually ended up winning the class! Here it was an English/Western show and my dressage self and trainer ended up coming in 1st and 3rd. What a great feeling.
As I got off to wait for the unmounted trail class (Kristen…YOU ARE SO TAKING LAZ TO A SHOW…look for a place) I could not help but be proud of my fat spotted pony and myself. After waiting literally almost 2 hours it was finally our turn to go in the unmounted trail class. The pattern was more complicated this time involving tarps, jugs, and even a little pattern through cones. Right before it was our turn to go in a big gust of wind came along. The giant rainbow colored umbrella came flying out of its holder behind us. Phoenix, of course, came flying forward.
Phoenix spooks big so he literally jumped into me. I was not mad though because a giant rainbow umbrella blowing around behind you IS a scary thing! Phoenix repositioned himself so he could look over at it (he had turned himself 180 degrees) and was now hiding behind me and scared. He had his nose on my shoulder and so I talked to him and gave him lots of love for being such a good boy. He could tell I was not worried about it at all so he dropped his head in to my arms and took a big sigh. I wish someone had a picture of that moment. Phoenix was scared and he was looking to me for comfort. With me holding his head he could not see anything, which made him feel better. He knew I would protect him from the evil umbrella.
Since this happened right as we were called to go EVERYONE was watching us. Phoenix got TONS of “awwww”s for being such a mama’s boy. I gave him a couple of kisses and waited for the scary umbrella to be put back in its place before I told Phoenix he had to be a big boy and do his class now. Phoenix, understandably, was high as a kite as we walked over to the bridge for the trail class. He even spooked at the flowers that were on the bridge, the same flowers that had been there 2 hours ago when he walked over it. Next was the jug run, where Phoenix would only way. Hahaha…I had been hoping that him being up would mean he would want to go…no such luck! By the time we got half way through the course Phoenix was starting to calm down and focus.
We had made several mistakes so I knew that if we placed it would be out of luck. As we approached our final obstacle, the trap, Phoenix was wary. The tarp was held down by 2 PVC pipes so it was like walking into a flat blue chute. I really didn’t think Phoenix would have any issues with this so I just walked right next to it knowing he would follow. And follow he did…well…sort of. To avoid stepping on the scary blue tarp my little ballerina WAS WALKING ON THE PVC PIPE!!!!
As soon as it clicked in my brain what he was doing (how does a horse even get 3 legs on to a PVC pipe at the same time?!?!?!?!?!) I quickly made him go back, causing him to do half a rear and land on the tarp, which scared him and made him run backwards a few steps. At this point I was still laughing at his Shawn Johnson move so I gave him lots of pats and told him that I would walk over it with him. It would be counted as a Disqualification, but we had done so poorly that part didn’t matter. What mattered was that Phoenix knew it was okay. As soon as I got on the tarp he looked down and started walking over it to.
I loved him more finishing that trail course then I did before it.
He tried so hard. My little Phoenix was a total Rockstar. And everyone loved him for it! We had a break of 5 classes before it was time to get back on and do our pleasure classes. I planned on spending that whole time tell Phoenix what a good boy he was.
To Be Continued…