Thursday, February 20, 2014

An Excursion

I had planned to go to the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show last weekend, but then Rock got his hoof abscess and a number of other things happened to suck up my time.  P.S. and I were able to coordinate going this afternoon.  We got stuck in a traffic jam caused by an accident, and got there late, so there wasn't much going on in any of the arenas.  I also forgot to take my professional camera with the telephoto lens, so all I got are these cruddy snapshots on my mobile phone:

This guy is from Italy and has won over three million dollars as a competition reiner.  We went to his clinic, which we hoped would be about how to teach your horse to do reining moves, but it was more about how to prepare your horse for a show in the warm up arena.  Neither of us show horses, so it was hard to get useful information out of the presentation.  But I did like this exercise he does in which he asks his horse to cruise at a lope in a circle, and when the horse either strays off course or changes gait or starts gawking at things around him, he'd pull the horse around into a couple of tight circles to get his attention back on the task at hand, and then send him off again.  It was kind of like Clinton Anderson's cruising exercises.

Apparently, the idea behind reining competitions is for the rider to let the horse do all the work.  The more the rider visibly directs the horse, the more points he gets taken off his score.  Of course, the rider has to do a lot of work to get the horse to that point where he does his job automatically, but the show ring is not the place to be doing that work.

We mostly saw a variety of disciplines being practiced in warm up arenas.


This next picture is very blurry, but I like the hint of motion you get with the horse in the foreground.

We did see one halter competition, one English side saddle, one western side saddle, and a couple of hunter classes.  We missed the mounted police presentation, but talked to them afterward.  They had a Quarter Horse, a Percheron, and an even taller Percheron/Thoroughbred mix.  I asked how tall the Quarter Horse was for a reason.  I was building up to another question.  I got a sarcastic response in return, so apparently they were sick of answering questions like that all day.  Then they tried to direct my focus to the two taller horses, as if they thought I was inquiring about the wrong horse, because I should be asking how tall the tallest horse is, but I really knew what I was doing and really did want to know about the Quarter Horse.  Anyway, eventually I did get some straight forward answers.  These guys were doing a lot of joking around, so it was hard to keep them focused.

Speaking of asking questions, I asked an endurance rider a question out on the trails a while back, and she too gave me a sarcastic answer while looking at her friend and laughing.  I'm not sure why people do that.  It's insulting to the person who asks the question, and the lady was essentially saying to her friend, "Check out this idiot," when I was simply trying to be unassuming, and I was leading up to a more interesting discussion that never happened because the lady was rude to me.

The other day I asked my college instructor a question, and she told me to "Google it".  That felt like a slap in the face, especially after she had answered a lot of other student's questions patiently.  So, I got the message and sat quietly, not asking anymore questions, and then the instructor made fun of me for being so quiet.  She asked if I was dead or just sleeping.  I gave her no response, but I probably should have told her to "Google it."  The sad thing is that I asked the question out of respect, because I wanted her opinion.

Anyway, at the horse show, I hoped to see my old neighbor, the one who sold Bombay and Lostine to me, because whenever I talk to her on the phone, she says, "I'll see you in Scottsdale."  But I've really only seen her once while there.  It's a big place with a lot of people to sift through.  I hoped to run into her so that I could get all the gossip on the old neighborhood and find out what the crazy stalkers are doing.  I'd also like to know what the people who are renting my house are like.  But, no such luck.

I did locate Bombay's old trainer's barn, but by the time I found it everyone was either out to dinner or back at the hotel for the evening.  I hoped to talk with the trainer to remind her of how she had to gallop Bombay for miles through the Pinenut Mountains in order to help him get past his nerves about trail riding, and then let her know that I'm trail riding him in the desert a few days a week now.  It's kind of like running into your kid's kindergarten teacher and telling her that your kid is now a success.  He still has his moments though, and it's at those times I wish this trainer were there to gallop him for miles again until he realizes that hard work is much worse than facing the unknown.

I loved seeing all these people riding horses among golf carts, crowds of people, and bicycles without a concern.  Of course, those horses have ten days of exposure to all that activity, and at some point they have to learn that is all there is, so they may as well accept it.  The young horses being shown at halter were quite jumpy, spooking at applause and running sideways.  Some were rearing up while others were bucking on the lead line.  I was sure one lady was going to have a dislocated shoulder by the time she got her horse back to the barn.  It reminded me of when I showed Gabbrielle at halter as a two-year-old.  What a struggle that was.

It was nice getting out and getting a break from the dogs.  When I got home, everyone was still alive, so that was a big bonus.

1 comment:

Sam said...

We've never been there towards the evening. We usually go the first weekend and see a lot of the kids classes.

LOL - my husband calls it the Arizona Golf Cart Jamboree.