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I'm thinking about bailing on yet another show, what do you think?

893 Views 15 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Acadianartist
We were totally ready for this show that's coming up on Saturday. The trainer was definitely going to be there, as she's showing her own horse. We've been working on it and I actually feel ready.

But.

The last week or so, Pony has been having issues. He seemed to be struggling in patches of deep sand. I overbent him in one of these and then he ran out of the arena. He's never done that before. And now every time we approach that spot, even at a trot, he wants to run out.

I fell off him hard yesterday. We were doing a combination and I let him get fast to get it in fewer strides. But he got too fast and the tight turn at the end was deep sand, and I guess he put his head down to balance and I went flying. The trainer got on him after that and he was still having problems but she worked him through them.

I guess they used him for a kids lesson today and apparently he stopped short AND ducked out multiple times. This is very unlike him. They had another instructor get on him and she eventually got him through them. She said his saddle was slipping a lot. Also she said he was very spooky today, which isn't like him.

The bodyworker came on Thursday and thought he was a little tender in the back of his saddle area, and when she looked at his saddle she thought it was maybe a bit gappy there. I talked to the barn owner and she's going to bring out the lady who reflocks saddles to take a look.

In the meantime, the show is Saturday. The more I think about it, the less I want to show him at all. This would be his first "real" show and I don't want him to maybe be in pain for it.

So yeah I guess I've decided on that, then. I guess it took me writing it all out to see how obvious it was.

The only thing I'm wondering is whether I should take him just to hang out or not? Historically, when he goes to a new place he really needs to get worked to settle in. Or he needs to be put in an enclosure where he can run around for an hour or so and settle. Neither of these would be happening at this show. He's been to this place several times before, though. So I'm not sure he will need to settle. But having said that, that was with Moonshine.

I'm going to have to get him used to going places on his own, but I'm not sure this is the best atmosphere to start doing it. What do you guys think?
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I'd scratch the show altogether. I would not take him there to get him used to the environment if he is going to be anxious, and especially if he isn't feeling great. You want the association to be a positive one.

Furthermore, I commend you for your willingness to put his well-being before your desire to show. It is the right decision.
 

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I've always wanted to show but have never actually done it. Everytime I go to a show I ask myself what would I be trying to prove? I don't need the approval of the other competitors or the judges so I just don't do it and don't see the value. My reasoning is that it's not a "real" environment and proves nothing. I get much more satisfaction simply going out for a trail ride. But, that's just me...I know I haven't really answered your question but I don't think I'll EVER show.
 

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On the saddle bridging issue, you could try a test. I recently purchased two saddles to try with Rusty. One put my legs in a really good position, but I felt it might not fit Rusty all that well. He's been threatening to buck lately when I ask for the trot, which he hadn't done in a really long time. The lady who sells me saddles on consignment told me to try this: sprinkle corn starch on the horse's back where the saddle would sit. Put the saddle on and press down gently. This was the result I got from the saddle that put my legs in a good position:

Leg Bicycle part Auto part Composite material Human leg


The white is where the saddle is making contact of course, so this shows some very significant bridging.

On the other hand, the other saddle I have for him looks like this:

Grey Automotive tire Synthetic rubber Human leg Tire


Much better! You can see all areas are coming into contact with his back. I thought it was kind of neat. Except the part about the saddle that fits Rusty really well doesn't do me any favours at all... :confused: But at least I know the other one needs to go back because it clearly doesn't fit him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@Elessar I think part of it is me wanting to prove to myself that I can do it. But also, practically, if I ever want to sell him, he'll be more marketable if he's gone to shows, especially if he's done well. And yes I guess there is an element of pride to it. Our first show (that fun show) we got third place! And lots of compliments.
 

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The last week or so, Pony has been having issues. He seemed to be struggling in patches of deep sand. I overbent him in one of these and then he ran out of the arena. He's never done that before. And now every time we approach that spot, even at a trot, he wants to run out.

I fell off him hard yesterday. We were doing a combination and I let him get fast to get it in fewer strides. But he got too fast and the tight turn at the end was deep sand, and I guess he put his head down to balance and I went flying. The trainer got on him after that and he was still having problems but she worked him through them.

I guess they used him for a kids lesson today and apparently he stopped short AND ducked out multiple times. This is very unlike him. They had another instructor get on him and she eventually got him through them. She said his saddle was slipping a lot. Also she said he was very spooky today, which isn't like him.

The bodyworker came on Thursday and thought he was a little tender in the back of his saddle area, and when she looked at his saddle she thought it was maybe a bit gappy there. I talked to the barn owner and she's going to bring out the lady who reflocks saddles to take a look.

In the meantime, the show is Saturday. The more I think about it, the less I want to show him at all. This would be his first "real" show and I don't want him to maybe be in pain for it.

So yeah I guess I've decided on that, then. I guess it took me writing it all out to see how obvious it was.

The only thing I'm wondering is whether I should take him just to hang out or not? Historically, when he goes to a new place he really needs to get worked to settle in. Or he needs to be put in an enclosure where he can run around for an hour or so and settle. Neither of these would be happening at this show. He's been to this place several times before, though. So I'm not sure he will need to settle. But having said that, that was with Moonshine.

I'm going to have to get him used to going places on his own, but I'm not sure this is the best atmosphere to start doing it. What do you guys think?
@Elessar I think part of it is me wanting to prove to myself that I can do it. But also, practically, if I ever want to sell him, he'll be more marketable if he's gone to shows, especially if he's done well. And yes I guess there is an element of pride to it. Our first show (that fun show) we got third place! And lots of compliments.
So here's what I'm thinking about what you wrote.

#1 Pony is a little bit off. Not sure why, but he's just not quite right. #2 Pony is acting out which is uncharacteristic. #3 You took a hard fall and it doesn't sound like you got back on to ride through any of your issues or his. #4 Pony was a brat in the kid's lesson today and they had an instructor eventually work him through his issues. #6 His saddle is slipping and sounds like it's not fitting right. #7 Bodyworker thinks he's sore in the back.

#8 You took him to a playday and he did well. #9 You got lots of compliments. #10 You want to prove you can do it at a real show. #11 He will sell better if he's got a show record (but only if it's good). #12 There's an element of pride to it.

How well do you think he'll do in pain with an ill fitting saddle? How well will you do if you're expecting to get thrown again? How many compliments will you get if you have a sore horse and a disaster of a show? If he doesn't do well, it won't do well for his performance record, not to mention his brain to work in pain. You'll take no pride in showing a sore horse.

Let this one go by, actually, good for you, you already made up your mind to let Pony have the time to get better. Good for you for putting him first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@Dreamcatcher Arabians yeah it sounds even worse when you write it out than when I wrote it out LOL.

I'm leaning toward not even taking him. Really I think he'd do better if he went and got worked, not if he went and just stood around thinking about things. Why set him up for failure?
 

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I would say haul him out and just hang out and ride around if it weren't for the fact that he's acting so different. I think you go with your gut on this one and stay home.
 

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@Dreamcatcher Arabians yeah it sounds even worse when you write it out than when I wrote it out LOL.

I'm leaning toward not even taking him. Really I think he'd do better if he went and got worked, not if he went and just stood around thinking about things. Why set him up for failure?
I wouldn't take him, if he was mine. He's not used to going by himself yet, and if he's not feeling great he's likely to be anxious. I'd let him get better, then take him by himself to one and then you could lunge, hand walk, maybe even get up and just ride him around if he is calm enough. Then show him at the next one, especially if he'll have other horses he is acquainted with that will be there. I prefer low and slow and if anybody gets upset, back up to where they calm down and stay in comfort zone.
 

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I'd leave him at home and go through the motions you mentioned above. Get his saddle checked out; if that doesn't help call out a vet or physical therapist and see if they find anything. It doesn't sound like he needs to be taken to shows for exposure so I'd sit this one out and save the cost of gas + entry fee + everything else, and use those funds for his saddle check + medical check. If he showed signs of a sore back he may be in discomfort / pain whenever someone rides him (like a thrown out back for us) and the time off may give his back gets a chance to heal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@Acadianartist that is such an awesome trick with the cornstarch. Might I suggest you make a thread with just that in it so everyone could benefit? Just a suggestions obviously...
 

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On the saddle bridging issue, you could try a test. I recently purchased two saddles to try with Rusty. One put my legs in a really good position, but I felt it might not fit Rusty all that well. He's been threatening to buck lately when I ask for the trot, which he hadn't done in a really long time. The lady who sells me saddles on consignment told me to try this: sprinkle corn starch on the horse's back where the saddle would sit. Put the saddle on and press down gently. This was the result I got from the saddle that put my legs in a good position:

View attachment 1135452

The white is where the saddle is making contact of course, so this shows some very significant bridging.

On the other hand, the other saddle I have for him looks like this:

View attachment 1135453

Much better! You can see all areas are coming into contact with his back. I thought it was kind of neat. Except the part about the saddle that fits Rusty really well doesn't do me any favours at all... :confused: But at least I know the other one needs to go back because it clearly doesn't fit him.
Now I am going to try this with all of my saddles
 
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