It's been a long bout with computer trouble, internet trouble, horse show preparation and attendance, as well as a spell with a bad foot (1600 lb horse vs. size 9 foot = horse wins) but I am back to writing.
At one point during a horse show attendance and the bad foot, I took Scout to his first horse show. This Summer, I also took Ruby to her first horse show. Scout is a very different creature than Ruby and the experiences were vastly different. Ruby's horse show went smooth as butter while Scout's was more of a rocky road ice cream cone that got dropped on the sidewalk. Both horses are young but came from very different situations so their individual mind sets were polar opposites.
Ruby had the advantage of going to a very civilized and quiet Dressage show. Scout was thrust into a carnival with a pleasure show going on right next to a softball game and behind the bounce houses. His classes had 18-20 horses all going around together in a ring half the size of the one Ruby was in. Needless to say, Scout was dealing with some sensory overload.
My plan was to take him into an equitation class, 2 pleasure classes and one of the games. We made it into the ring for one of the pleasure classes. The rest of the time was spent trying to get all of his body parts going in one direction ( a direction of my choosing) and for his brain to be plugged into me a little. Scout's biggest issue was wanting to be back at the trailer. Even when the other horses from our stable were up at the ring, Scout wanted to be nearby the first train out of Dodge. Each time we left the parking area to go up the hill by the ring to warm up, he had a tantrum and would try running backwards, sideways, over bleachers, pedestrians and loitering Quarter horses to get back down the hill to his trailer. Each time I managed to wrestle him back where he ought to be but as soon as he was settled, I let him go back to the trailer.
However, once back at the trailer, I worked his spotted pants off. Then we would go back up the hill, presumably to let him relax thereby letting him know that being at the trailer might not be as much fun as he thought. After a few rotations between ring and parking area, the plan worked, somewhat. He eventually stopped wanting to go back to the trailer as much as he had before but he never really relaxed. He couldn't stand still for more than a few seconds so we just cruised around near the show ring for the entire time he was up there.
The one pleasure class that we did manage to get into the ring for was pretty good considering how Scout had been performing outside the ring. There were 8 other horses so it wasn't a huge class, like the ones we skipped with 18 or more horses. Scout was tense but he walked, trotted and cantered when asked and made decent transitions. There was trouble with the canter in that he broke once in each direction when he got nervous about horses cantering behind him. By the end of the class he started to let go of some of his tension but the class moved along quickly and just as he was getting good, it ended. So, no ribbon for Scout, but I was pleased nonetheless that he was able to maintain composure and he was cooperative.
Someday, Scout will be a good citizen. My bleary-eyed fantasy is that, like in the movies when the troubled inner-city kids meet up with the tough as nails but deep down, kind hearted teacher and the kids become honor students, Scout will be reformed and eventually be a happy, well-rounded partner for some pony clubber or similar scrappy young equestrian. In the meantime we will cruise around and try not to go bowling through the spectators and maybe we'll eventually actually participate in the classes.