On Sunday I took my gelding Amir to an open sporting day.
I thought it was going to be a disaster. He's only 3.5yrs and he's only been to two other shows and 4 pony club days at most and that was all between August and November 2009. He hasn't even been out of the front gates of the property since then.
His last shows he's always been more concerned about the whereabouts of his paddock mates and any umbrellas and banners trying to eat him. He would call out all day and deafen everyone, pull back off the float to go and find some friends if left alone for more than 10 minutes, rear, buck, prance around, you name it he basically did it.
So it wouldn't have suprised me if he actually threw me off on the weekend with all his past behavior. But whatever, it was all going to be a learning experience for him just to start going out again.
He was an ANGEL. I am so impressed with him. We had a small group which I think was better for him than the usual big groups and we just trotted and did a little canter through the events, with a lot of bucks in the middle of some of them and stopping after cantering to the finish line.
He did call out at the start and he did prance around for a while, but he calmed down after about 45 minutes and stood pretty calmly eating while others in the group went through. He had a few little spooks at the ribbon stands and a couple umbrellas and some barrels. I finished before my friends and I thought I'd just try him out being tied to the float by himself for the day with some hay and water, and to my suprise, he actually stood by himself with everything else going on all day. Even when he finished mauling the hay net.
At the moment, I think he's bucking during events because he's getting frustrated trying to understand why we have to turn around all the poles and barrels so quickly all the time. We don't have a lot of stuff to practise with at home so we make do with little drums that are knee high that he just jumps over if he's going to stand on. When he's had more training in the events and he's a little older, I think he's going to make a fantastic sporting pony. What's better is that he calms down well from going nuts and trying to gallop the bounce pony to pull off some nice calm, level headed flat work away from others between events.
But all in one day he learned to stand at the float, not to panic because his friends are gone and he would actually live to see them again at the end of the day, not to feel the need to LEAP over a painted white line on the ground like it's a 1m show jump, not to freak out and run away bucking at the ribbon stand, not to run backwards when the judge came over with a pretty ribbon he earned and he even learned a couple new games.
I was just hoping that I would stay on for the day, but my group was small enough that we placed in each event - two 2nds, five 3rds and three 4ths which earned us a 3rd place trophy at the end of the day.
I just had to come and share as the "proud mum" that I currently am. I was just hoping to even get one ribbon, so to get 3rd overall was such an amazing feeling.
And now to leave you with a picture of Amir with his ribbons. It took like 10 minutes to get him to stand still to just put one of them on him but by the end he was like "meh whatever".