2017 Show Season - Ready, Set, Go!!

This weekend officially marked the beginning of the 2017 show season. It's been absolutely beautiful this winter, featuring outdoor clinics and cross country schooling about a month ago and no snow. So of course our first show of the season was twenty degrees not including the wind chill.

I was flying solo so I have no media, and I sincerely doubt I'll be purchasing any of the show photos because between my cold weather bundling and Runkle's... Runkle-ness, I'm sure they won't be anything to write home about.

A couple weeks ago it was nice out. Now, ❄️. #letsgetreadytorunkle #dirtypony #theyseemerollin #exhurdler #thoroughbred #ottb by @kieshorse

Runkle was fine when I brought him in from the field, tacked him up, mounted and walked into dressage warm up. At that point I felt his brain fall out of his head. Have you ever felt that on a horse? In case you haven't I'll let you know how it feels: you hear a squishy sort of slapping noise as the brain leaves the cavity of your selected mount's head and then they suddenly become seven hundred pounds lighter, able to dance on the tips of their toes and blow about in the breeze. Or freezing blusters, whatever season it happens to be.

I legitimately felt bad for the other people trying to warm up. There was another woman who was trying to ride her very nervous horse and Runkle, without any warning, lost his side stabilizers and did an impressive gallop half pass into him. That's when I finally gave up and dismounted (although he also tried to jump the low wall out of warm up,crash into a tree, and spook at deer a half mile away before then).

I tried to lunge him, and that helped less than zero.

So I dropped all the way back to the ground floor, and put him back in the stall to let him calm the hell down. We were actually right exactly where we were last season.

I ended up scratching my first test, untacking him, and letting him sit for twenty minutes to marinade and think about his life while I went around and visited with friends competing. I went back into the barn like we hadn't just checked some squares off on eventing bingo and tried again.

Attempting test #2 he was much better and more rideable, although still a little overexcited about all the new 'friends' that came over to his house. Of course once we went into the sandbox he laid down a lovely test including a fantastic free walk for 31 and change penalty points, landing us in first.

Of course.

Jumping was it's own disaster, this one not actually his fault. The division was huge and the seasonable weather meant the ground outside the arena was frozen. In the time I spent waiting for my turn to warm up I guess I didn't move around enough, because my hands completely froze.

I was useless holding the reins and as the feeling came back into them it was excruciatingly painful so after warming up over about half the course I couldn't take it anymore and scratched that as well. Which believe me, makes me feel like the biggest pussy to ever saddle up and call herself an eventer. I was in tears in the bathroom muttering curses trying to warm my hands up with barely lukewarm water.

Overall, really successful first outing.

But, it actually was. And I keep telling myself this, because I'm incredibly hard on myself. And I also learned more than I thought I would.

  • He dealt with warmup, especially around jumping which used to be his kryptonite. He actually stood great in jumping warmup and there were about fifteen people galloping around with varying levels of control at once.
  • Don't take any part of his behavior for granted.
  • I shouldn't be prepping him like what I'm used to, seasoned veteran event horses. He's a baby. He was great on Saturday despite having Friday off because on Thursday I rode through a couple different dressage tests six times. I need to ride him hard the day before we compete and give myself MORE THAN AMPLE warmup before my test.
  • Pat on the back for me: my seat is way better than I normally give it credit for.

I'd buy stock in SMZ's if I were you.
So no, not the start I hoped for. But it's still a start. Time to start planning for the next one. And maybe buy some warmer riding gloves...


  1. woo yay for that 31 tho!!! sounds like a lot of good exposure (except exposure to the frigid temps bc DAMN it was cold this weekend :(...). lots of excellent takeaways too - sounds like Runkle was figuring it out by the end of the day!

    1. he really is a good boy

      and yeah there IS such a thing as the wrong kind of exposure :P

  2. Ugh I give you props for still going out and showing in that weather! It was NASTY! You had a good learning experience AND still pulled out a 31! I'd say that's a great day :)

    1. yeah in retrospect I wish I had 'forgotten' to put my entry in :P

      I knew presidents weekend was too good to be true...

  3. I am all too familiar with that brain falling out feeling. So fun. I am glad that you were able to get it back together for the second test!

    1. its not fun. you feel it start to go and you're like please no. why.

  4. It sounds like a good outing! Even though not all parts were rainbows and sparkles. I would definitely not be able to ride if my hands were frozen, so there's nothing sissy about that!

  5. I'm sorry it didn't go as planned, but it seems like the weather was the biggest issue, and not you nor Runkle. So that's a big deal!
    This weather is really like torture. How did it go from 70 to 17 in the matter of a couple days?!

  6. get those little warmy dealios to go inside your gloves!


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