So, we went, my little horse and I, to the European Championship for Arabians. Saleem drove alone, all the way to Vilhelmsborg, which is a two hour drive, and he was quiet as a mouse all the way.
I almost didn’t panic at the thought of loading him into a trailer, so already here, my goal for this show was accomplished.
As we arrived, he wasn’t soaked in sweat as I had feared he would be, and he took everything in stride. Sure, he did call out quite a bit at first, but he calmed down quickly, once he realized, I believe, that none of his friends were answering.
I must say, already before I got to ride him, I was impressed by how easy he was to handle, how nice he took everything. This is his first show, his first time away from home alone, amongst other horses and he was rather curious about this new world that opened before him.
After all my years with Poseidon and Apollon, I hardly dared believe that any horse could be that sensible, but what do you know. Saleem is a superstar.
Warming up, he was totally cool with the other horses, the audience, the loudspeakers, the flower decorations, (a sure thing to make Apollon freak out,) everything. Just cool and having a good time.
As for the program itself, he tensed up a bit once he left the warm up grounds, and the other horses, but he coped well. We totally messed up the canter part, but I had expected that, so no surprises there.
I must say, it is NICE for once to bring a horse, you can count on. Saleem gave me exactly what he always gives me, his very best. Everything lacking, is because I haven’t got to teaching him yet.
With Apollon, you never knew what to expect, mostly I had a superstar at home and a rodeo horse at shows. Saleem is looking very different. He is looking like a horse I can actually train and count on in the future.
He loaded easily and was quiet all the way home as well, no problems. And this is my little horse, who two months ago, couldn’t drive alone. Training sure pays off with this one. Today he spent four hours in a trailer all alone and he wasn’t stressed out about it. Unloading him at home, he was let back on the pasture and he just blended in with the others and in about 30 seconds, he was eating hay as if he had never been away at all.
I am just thrilled. I still can’t believe that I went through with it and that he was this perfect.
So, jumping up and down here, and I will do so for the rest of the night. No wait, I was up at four in the morning to get him ready, so I think I’ll go to bed soon, but anyway…
I still can’t believe I loaded my horse into a trailer and drove him all the way to Vilhelmsborg! And he was cool with it!
As for the show, we scored 53,3%, with a comment from the judge, saying that it was a good horse, but he was lacking a bit of indulgence today.
Looking at him with dressage eyes, yes, he sure was. Looking at him with my eyes, knowing what a long way Saleem and I have come, from his violent headshaking last year and to this, tension at his first show, I think he was brilliant.
I got to tip my hat to a judge though, who can see that the horse is well trained, it is just inexperienced, which is what I am reading into her using the word “today” in the sentence.
I guess the world of dressage is not all bad… and then again. As I was riding, one of my friends was taking pictures of us- obviously- and two of the other competitors walked by. My friend heard them talking and one said to the other, “that looks nice,” (about my riding,) and the other instantly replied, “don’t say that, that’s the girl who took those pictures at the Danish Championship…!”
Oh so now you can’t ride your horse nicely, and get credit for it, just because you happen to own a camera and take pictures of some not so nice riding, and refuse to keep quiet about it? And snap, welcome back to the world of horses in all its glory…
I had hoped we wouldn’t find it here, at the Arabian events, where people generally treat their horses nicely, but what do you know…
Who thinks I’m paranoid now, when I talk about being blacklisted for speaking up?
Anyway, I’m guessing the judge hadn’t heard of me yet, because I do think we got a fair evaluation.
And did I mention, Saleem was an absolute star?!
THANKS to LHK for driving us, thank you, thank you, thank you!