But I can also think rationally again which is nice. I completely forgot to share Theo's latest pre-show outfit.
My poor, poor horse. Because he's a beaver, he goes in turn out overnight even when braided up. That means he needed all of his fly armor as well as a sleazy to protect his braids. I haven't done a good job of coordinating his summer outfits. He even looks embarrassed in the picture. But there's good reason for the armor.
I love the moans and groans. He was so happy to get a good roll in after all of that grooming. But the good news was that his braids were just fine the next morning, so the armor did it's job. Even if he's a bit of an eyesore while he's wearing all of it.
So the first outing is done. Theo was a damn packer once he was done being a stud, which was nice. With his reputation, I'm always cautious with how he's going to react to things. He gave the judge's booth a hard stare, but decided that it wasn't worth shying away. Mom has spurs, you know. I let him stop and greet the judge and scribe, so he decided they were okay. He went in the ring and marched around like a horse that knows his job. We've got some work to do with getting that really butter soft feeling when under pressure, but that's expected. I still turn into an alien the second I see a judge, but it's getting better. He went around without looking like a giraffe, so that's progress. The larger arena definitely helps me open him up since I'm able to take more than six steps without turning. Trainer A is optimistic about the sanctioned outing since we'll be in the large arena for our Training 3, which means I can open him up more. I guess he looked a bit stuck in our first test while I worried about getting his big butt compressed enough to fit. She said if I had our gaits from the large arena in my Training level test, we would have been at 68%.
It was also a sharp reminder that, as much as he's improved, he's not a 70% horse. He's gotten so much more obedient and willing, but that doesn't change the fact he's not lofty. He's not electric. He doesn't have that edge that gets you the high scores. He doesn't scream 'look at me!' when he trots into the ring. The horses the judge loved were right there on the bit, just dying to go forward with long legs barely touching the ground. That is not mi papi. He has a mellow attitude about life and that often translates into 'not enough desire to go forward'. Trust me, lady. There was plenty of desire. He put a lid on it because I asked him to, and I love him for it. When I said lengthen in the canter, he said 'yes ma'am' and I said 'omg BRAKES!'. I made the judge laugh when we halted at G since Theo had just done a lengthening and I was a bit worried we were going to halt in the judge's booth with her. I guess my eyes got a bit big. We got an 8 for that halt, our one 8 of the day.
Holy shit, my elbows are in
Horse shows are good for bringing us back down to earth. Theo is great. I adore him. I feel quite safe on him and he gave me the confidence I needed to go in there and ride the best test I could on the day. We're not going to be winning a ribbon at regionals. Not in New England where he'll be the cheapest horse in the ring and probably the only one without papers. But I can give him the best damn ride possible and give them a run for their money.