Friday, March 27, 2009

To show or not to show...

In case you haven't already seen this one:

Just not a good day at the horse show!

I don't know if anyone got any advance warning in that case that the original horse who bolted was in a mood that day, but I shared this with a trainer friend who shows in driving classes and she said that if she sees a driving horse looking not-so-in-control in the warm-up ring, she won't show her horse. She won't do it even if the owner insists. She simply won't risk the horse or her own safety if it looks like there could be a wreck.

(Amazingly, no horses or humans suffered serious injuries in the video above. They were very lucky. The announcer was giving GREAT advice but unfortunately some of the people in the ring were in the wrong places and actually forced the panicking horses off the rail and into the other horses and people.)

So that brings up another good topic. At what point do you decide that an event - any event - is not worth participating in due to the risk of another horse who doesn't seem to be under control? Have you pulled your horse out as a result? This could be a show or it could be a trail ride or other more casual event. When do you draw the line (if ever) and say, hey, I'm just
not going to ride my horse with that horse? Or do you just ride defensively, keep your eyes open and hope for the best?

What do you do when a rider loses control? I was always taught to jump off and hold my horse if, for example, someone gets dumped or bolted with in a flat class. I still think that sounds like the safest option. What does Pony Club teach? What do you teach your students? Do you talk about the "game plan" if this happens before your child or lesson student goes to his or her first show?

If you manage shows or ring steward or judge, have you excused a horse for being out of control? I have and of course got snarled at (but you know, when your stallion is rolling on the ground in a halter class and you can't make him get up, I believe that's an indicator that you can't stop him from doing anything else, like, say, breeding a mare in the warm-up pen. Just a theory!)

So tell your stories - how do you strike the balance between safety and the realization that horses are unpredictable under the best of circumstances, and green horses do have to get out there and "just do it" at a certain point?

Today's Friday Featured Rescue is a mare that made me do a double-take and say "Wow!" This is Billy Bar Bonanza and she's at PERN rescue in Greenwood, California. She has been started under saddle and is ready to continue with her training. This mare has her papers so she can go all the way for you at a very reasonable adoption fee of $500. You can contact Gloria to meet her.

Totally OT but if anybody in the Los Angeles area is looking for a sweet, older lap kitty, one has been purring on my lap the whole time I've been writing this. He needs a lap of his own! E-mail Leslie if you might have a quiet, loving home for him (he'd be SO great for a lonely retiree - he outlived his last one which is how he wound up in rescue.)