Thursday, July 28, 2016

Roscoe's Lifting And Lightness Tell

I think you guys can tell I am pretty happy with Roscoe's behavior at the show. So here is a deeper look and how my Faith post points worked out.

1. Roscoe is a five year old. I will expect a distracted, baby. I will also pack the in hand tools to work with him.

Roscoe was distracted and he did cause us to pull out the in hand tools. BUT, surprisingly being tacked up centered him and he relaxed quickly. He was still a tourist, definitely, but a working one.

2. Roscoe is a Stallion!!! I do know this fact. I expect him to call and I expect the chance he will charge other horses. So I will not sit like  a sack of potatoes on him.

Roscoe announced all day that he was a stallion and he was alone. We had one instance during the long Champion of Champion Class that he leaped forward toward the mare in front of us. My fault, we had creeped closer than I thought. Under saddle, he called twice and he was intent on watching the horses walk by. When I asked for trot, he listened. He gave the right answers. I did not trot long enough, too hot, to get his best trot, but it was a good trot. He halted when I asked and I hopped off. Then he turned into puffed up Stallion again. He is like Rosemary in that way. She will be so well behaved while your on her back or in the cart, and then turn into drama mama once you are on the ground. Both stay within manageable limits even with the change.

3. The temperature will be in the high 90's. I think that will slow down my Cob who tends to be on the lazy side.

Well the heat did not have quite the effect I expected. Roscoe got really sweaty, but still had high energy. The heat killed me more, hence the cancelled class. I did like the fact that I had an active walk and willing pony despite the heat.

4. Roscoe will have all day to chill out, I will have all day to worry. I am a nervous shower. That said he is not my first 5 yr old  project pony. I have a history of riding rotten ponies.

Ha, chill out did not happen until we tacked him up. He had moments when he cocked a leg and snoozed, but he was hyper aware of all the horses. That said, he did load easily every time we asked him to. This show was too expensive to bring Comrade along, but he does seem to help during the wait periods. Misery loves company you know :) My worries mounted with the increasing heat and activity of the facility. But they all disappeared the moment I sat on Roscoe's back.

5. I would never leave the barn if I worried about the "could be's" or "maybe's."

I have only one thing to say, Have trust in your training, or don't sign up for the show.

6. My pony is not a robot and has a mind of his own. I will think positive and deal with any issues.

Roscoe made sure his opinion of the line classes was clearly known as he piaffed and puffed while tracking the activity outside the arena. Though I would prefer he stand still, I let him be as long as he stayed out of my space. When his leap happened, I just swung him around and apologized to the mare handler. He did not push the issue, just went back to his dancing. Under saddle, if he got quick we circled. Circles are such a great tool.

7. This show is a schooling opportunity, no more, no less.

After getting the prize money, my show fees were reduced to $35. In this area that is what you would pay for one dressage test or schooling fees at near by facilities. I signed up for the ridden portion so that Roscoe could experience the show environment under saddle. He did and he proved he can handle it. I lost nothing because he gained no Welsh points from the classes since they were open and he was alone in the class. We rode for about the amount of time the classes would have taken in the show ring, so we definitely gained more than we lost. All in all it was a successful outing.

Now I will say I gave into some of the pressure put on me before the show, mostly because I was not 100% healthy and the opportunity was available. But I did it my way, not the way it was "suggested" to me. Some felt Roscoe should have a field trip accompanied by Comrade to some other facility to make sure he would behave. With only a few days until the show, I refused to put my horse on a trailer in this hot weather and pay more money to go to another facility. So I asked Peggy to see if a lady in the neighborhood would let Roscoe use her arena on Thursday. She said we could at 2pm. I refused to let another horse come with us, but Mom and Peggy drove the green machine next to us. We walked the road for a couple miles to get to her arena. Roscoe did really well. Again similar to his mother looked at shadowed spots, but not really anything else. He dealt with the FedEx truck driving by and kids playing.
He did have a tell though when he was going to trot or get excited, he lifted and got really light in the front end. I let him be if he was just inverted, acting the tourist. If he started to feel like a plane lifting off in the front, I circled him back to the ground. I have never felt a horse get so light in the front before. Roscoe is naturally uphill so it was amazing to feel him get even more so.
Once at the arena, the 5yr old stallion came out. We got quick and he called to the cute ponies right next to the arena. Circles and more circles. Plus breathing, always a good thing. The arena was large and I could easily work him on the far side, so I did. Figure 8's, shallow serpentines, turn on the forehand, walking and trotting. He settled some, but still had the high energy. I was persistent with what I wanted and gradually worked closer to the side with the ponies. Each time I felt that super lightness and lift, I knew to circle or redirect his attention. We had an awesome trot when he relaxed and stretched into the bit. It was great to ride somewhere with that much room. I was really pleased that he gained forward, rather than losing it to distraction. About a half hour later, he was able to walk down the side of the arena with the ponies, some of them mares, without rushing. He could look, but he could not get quick.  I hopped off, a proud pony owner.

He did nothing I could not handle and nothing I would deem misbehaving or embarrassing. Thank you Roscoe for confirming that your big brain can overrule the little one.
The walk home was when the heat hit me hard. Roscoe was still full of energy and his big walk is hard to keep up with. So we tried something to make it easier for me. I sat on the back of the green machine and Roscoe walked next to it. I was in a position I could easily jump off if I needed to, but I never did. We played with the speed to find a comfortable one for him and set off. He never pulled too much even when he called to the horses along the way. Seriously, he was a good boy. He actually cooled off nicely on the walk back. All together round trip and ride time, it was an hour and a half.
I could tell at the show, Roscoe learned from that session that being super inverted is not comfortable so he kept his more normal uphill tourist position rather than go to the extreme. I'll take it.
Progress whether made in strides or in miles, is still progress.


  1. Roscoe did great and he's only going to gt better!

  2. I always forget he is only 5 - he is really doing so well!