Saturday, February 24, 2007

Winning at Scottsdale

This morning I showed Trouble in the three- and four-year-old gelding AOTH class. Trouble is three this year. It was a sunny but cool morning and the stands were beginning to with weekend spectators. It was a fun morning watching Trouble as he was groomed. I almost never wear make up or decorative jewelry, but I get glammed up for the horse shows. When the announcer called for our class to begin assembling outside the gate, a small posse of GTC friends walked over to the Wendell Arena. Tony reminded me of the things I should do to get the best performance out of Trouble. He’s very positive as a coach and I’m always glad he follows me around the arena in case anything goes wrong – like a halter breaks – and also giving me guidance from the sidelines … all of which is legal and very helpful!

One of the many things I’ve needed to concentrate on is slowing down the process of showing Trouble. I tend to jump right in and forget that the horse and I are partners and that to be successful I must have him on board with how we are going to proceed.

Trouble was really ready to show today and he likes it. When we came in the ring he was high stepping, snorting, tossing his head and generally strutting his stuff. The crowd liked it. As we went to the middle to stand for the 3-judge panel I tried to be slower and set him up as well as I could. I think we did OK and again as we stood along the rail for final judging things seemed to come together. Later, as we walked back to the stalls, Tony said I looked competitive out there today as an amateur handler and that was nice to hear.

Trouble and I won a Top 10 ribbon and plaque. Ian videotaped my entire session and snapped one photo of me being awarded my ribbon. Nice! Winning at any horse show is very nice, but winning at Scottsdale is extra special because the competition is very tough. I am proud of all I've learned since I started taking handler lessons in June and I am even more proud of how Trouble has developed. Now that Ian debuted as a handler at Scottsdale both he and I can look forward to a fun showing season this year.

Tomorrow afternoon, the last day of the show, two-year-old gelding Fire Hawk TL shows again. We wish him well. After that class we can begin packing up the trailers and thinking about the long drive home. Tomorrow night we'll relax and watch the Oscars and we will begin our 32+-hour trek home to Minnesota on Monday. It has been a wonderful experience and one I hope that we can do annually.


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