I am riding at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo as part of the Working Equitation group. TJ, AM and CS wanted it to be a demo right before the main event, but the timing did not work out, so instead TJ hosted four clinics. Two of them occurred on Friday, both of which I rode in, then there is a class on Saturday and one on Sunday.
So J and I took off work on Thursday and Friday.
Thursday morning saw us get T to school, then the dogs to the dog park, before heading to the barn. The goal was to be there about 11 am to get Ashke settled into his stall, our stuff unloaded (feed and shavings, folding chairs, saddle, saddle rack and tack box) and then get him out and into the arenas.
Homeboy loaded onto the trailer without any issues. He's becoming a great trailer horse.
We drove down to the National Western Stock Show Event Center in about 25 minutes, then made the boy stand in the trailer while I checked into the Stalling Office to present my Health Cert prior to unloading. While I was in the Stalling Office a train went by, which J said Ashke was not fond of. The stock show is right next to the rail yard, which makes sense, since the purpose of the Stock Show is to bring cattle in for sale and loading onto railcars to ship back East.
Literally. The cattle holding pens on the far side of the rail lines.
I hoped to desensitize Ashke a bit to the train, which was five feet from the back fence, but instead of calming as the train went past, Ashke got more upset. That was the first time he ever tried coming into me. Ever. I de-escaladed the situation and took Ashke back inside.
First thing up after unloading everything, was a bath.
I unloaded everything (J did most of it) while keeping Ashke with me. I am his security blanket and he is calmer when he is with me. Once everything was unloaded, we parked the trailer and then came back to bathe the boy. He hasn't been bathed since October, and although is keeps pretty clean with my grooming (and the blanketing this winter) he was covered with pee stains when we loaded him on the trailer. I think he liked it and I was happy the water was warm. He is getting more and more flea bites as he gets older (splotches of color in his coat). This is typical of grey arabians.
Immediately after his bath, I walked him into the big arena to let him look around.
I covered him with his clean BOT fleece cooler and tucked him away into his stall to dry.
Once he was dry, I tacked him up and took him into the arenas, which were filled with clinicians giving private classes, which defeated the opportunity to ride where we would do the class. Instead, I followed TJ outside to ride some in the arena there.
Looks calm here, doesn't he?
This was seconds before homeboy decided he had had enough of the large graders, railcars, earth moving machines and general mayhem that was the outdoor arena, bogged his head and tried to buck.
Thank goodness he doesn't know how, since all it really ended up being was a couple of crowhops, and then a slight rear. I wasn't even scared or mad. I did pull him into a circle and made him move his butt out while pulling him around, but even that was more to refocus than because I was feeling unsteady. That was his little fit. After that he was better.
J had to leave the Event Center to take T to the eye doctor, so while she was gone, Ashke hung out in his stall (saddled) while I waited for the opportunity to ride Ashke in the big arena.
He amused himself with trying to sniff noses with the horse behind him.
They would take turns putting their noses up there. On the other side of the wall is a Lusitano.
By the time J got back, I had been able to ride Ashke in the big arena, which he handled moderately well, and helped CS, TJ and AM get ready to practice their presentation for the Mane Event. Mostly by scaring their horses with the garroacha poles, but, you know, what's a little rearing and stampeding among friends. Also, handle one pole at a time, because pinwheeling 13' wooden pole in an arena of horses doesn't work out as well as you would expect.
I was wiped out. We finalized things with CS, who tossed Ashke a flake of hay at night check, and planned on being back at 7:30 the next morning. Our first ride was at 9 am and he needed to be warmed up and ready to go before that. I was staggering like a three day drunk by the time I got in the house.
From left to right: CS, AM and TJ. Two Lusitanos and an Azteca.
I'll let you figure out which is which.