Monday, August 26, 2019

Team NW Bedrock Show August 2019: Full of Hot Air

Every year my town hosts a weekend Art and Air festival. They have hot air balloons that take off Friday and Saturday morning and night, as well as Sunday morning. There's also booths with local artists, food, and drink plus bands.  I've seen the hot air balloons flying many times, but for the first time this year some of them landed super close to us.  Like in the field next to my barn close. My BO said in the 10yrs they've been on that property the balloons have never landed there.

My friend took this from her house, but the multicolored balloon and the red/gray one were landing next to my barn
Saturday morning I was hauling Peebs up to a show.  I got to the barn just as the balloons were starting to deflate.  Peebs had a direct line of sight to the balloons from his paddock, and he thought the alien invasion was upon us.  The BO has just fed but for the first time in his life Peeb was too upset to eat. He was standing at the back corner of his paddock with a bite of hay hanging from his mouth staring at the alien invaders. He would sporadically run circles screaming warnings to the other horses who thankfully didn't seem as worried as he was.

I had loaded the trailer Friday night so all I had to do Saturday was hook up and load Peebs, but I decided to toss a longe line in the trailer.  Normally Peebs doesn't need to be longed at shows, but with as upset as he was about the balloons I figured it was a good idea to take the longe line just in case. When we got to the show Peebs happily tucked into his breakfast and I left him alone for while to chill.  The show ended up being huge so we had plenty of time before my classes.  I did decide to longe and as we were waiting for the tractor to finish dragging the longe area a horse also waiting got loose from his kid and took a tour of the jumper warm up arena before running back to us.  He aimed directly at Peebs and I and poor Peebs shot backwards and into the fence. Seriously, not Peebs' day.

When I got on to warm up for my hunter classes Peebs was still a tense, hot mess.  We spent a long time walking around the warm up ring before trotting.  He was looking at everything, trying to find alien invaders or loose horses.  I finally just picked up the canter, got in a half seat, and let him canter it out. It kinda worked.  He was still looky, but started paying attention to me. When he gets like this there is almost no working him down, I could have longed him again for an hour and it wouldn't have made a difference.  So I popped over a warm up jump once each way and called it good.

Peebs was still looky and distracted once we were in the ring but I tried to stay zen about it.  Coming around to the first diagonal line, we had to go past the in gate and Peebs broke to the trot.  I knew kicking him back into the cater would lead to a disorganized zoomy Peebers so I decided to just trot into the line. Peebs apparently thought the aliens were hiding behind the first fence in the line and  got super wiggly and stopped.  I took a deep breath, circled and made it over on the second try.  In our second round I did a better job of anticipating where Peebs was likely to break and kept my leg on.  But our last line was down the long side towards the in gate and Peebs really wanted to be done.  He took a flyer at the first fence, started to charge down the line, and I pulley rein stopped him. I had already written off this day and I figured it was better to school my horse than worry about proper ring etiquette. We once again circled and jumped the fence fine on the second attempt.  I did make Peebs do a big courtesy circle at the end and walk quietly out of the ring.  We did place fifth and fourth in our rounds, out of five.

Originally the plan for the show was to do the hunters on Saturday as I was showing by myself and then do the jumpers Sunday when my trainer was available to school me. I called her Saturday as I was driving to the hotel and explained the day and how I wanted to scratch our jumper classes and do the eq on Sunday instead. She agreed with my new plan and we also decided that Peebs could go for another longe Sunday morning. I had felt pretty upset after my rounds Saturday, but once I had eaten dinner and talked it over with trainer I felt a lot better.  It just wasn't our day but I was happy with how I handled it and we had a plan for  Sunday.


  1. Ugh! What. A. Day. I think you handled everything really well. It doesn't sound like you got frustrated with him, you just did your best to ride the horse you had. I hope day two was better!

  2. I don't blame peebs - hot air balloons are fucking weird