I took him to a local jackpot last night, for the sole purpose of him starting to get some experience hauling to an arena where there is other horses and some commotion going on. Work made me late, so we had to rush to get our 3 exhibitions in, but we made it. I did also enter him in the first go-round, for experience.
As I completely expected, it was nervous and scared of everything going on. He is now known as the "snorting horse". Because he very loudly snorts at things when he is scared, which I don't mind (I think it's rather funny).
But when they started the first round, he was freaked out about why horses are running full kilter in the arena. I wanted him to stand near the arena so he could watch what was going on. After a few riders went he just started acting stupid and weird. At first, I was afraid he was going to rear, because he was acting like it. I was doing my best to keep his feet moving in the circle and trying to keep him listening to me, but it just wasn't working.
Then I'm not exactly sure what happened, as it happened so fast. I think he leapt into the air. It wasn't a crow hop exactly. But it wasn't a buck exactly. It's like he just couldn't handle it anymore and just BOOM! On the first jump/bounce, I landed directly on my saddle horn with my inside right thigh (that's the big ouch point), and I thought for sure with the next bounce I'd be either on his neck completely (half of me already was there) or I'd be on the ground in front of him. But somehow, I managed I bounce back into the saddle on the next bounce and got a hold of him. I don't think I even lost my stirrups. I don't know how that's possible. I also managed to cut the front of my right shin with the top of my boot. I have no idea how. But there's a cut and a lump.
He's never done anything like that before.
And then he just stood there. I wanted to keep him moving and try to get his attention back on me, since we were up in about 7 riders.
So I was trotting circles in a different area, and he tried it again. This time, I was ready and got him yanked in a circle with his head down at my knee.
Little bugger. Killed my nerves for the night too. It's been a long time since I've had to deal with anything like that, and it was only on silly 2 and 3 year olds I was training to ride!!! Not a broke to ride 6 year old.
So as long as that hadn't happened, I would have said that he handled it okay, for his first time to a jackpot all by himself. After the first heat was over, I took him away from the arena a little to work him in some galloping circles. After that, he was pretty much walking around any where cool and relaxed (mostly).
And he loaded into the trailer to and from like a champ! We were having some issues with that, but now I just point and up he goes.
The next jackpot is in two weeks and I am planning on getting him there again. I'm sure for the next few days my leg is going to continue to remind me of his implosion.