Showing At Home Turf – Much More Difficult Than Going To A Venue

The outdoor arenas are still closed.

Looks like horses will only school in the indoor, and once there’s a show, the outdoors’ will be prepped, courts put up, and they’ll be used mostly for showing.

There are four large, very well maintained, outdoor arenas at the barn – three used as show rings, and one even larger as an extra outdoor warmup, for days with too many horses in the indoor warming up.Β  Super spacious, and super nice.

outdoor arenas closed in winter
One of the outdoor arenas. Ready to go. But we don’t go πŸ™‚

There’s also a fenced in, more grassy looking arena, looks like for in-hand and stallion premiering etc, and a tiny, unfenced little thing for warmup out of the view of the show commotion.Β  But they’re also closed…

It’s sinking in that Gray Mare will have a heart attack once we’re finally able to go in the outdoors for a test.Β  Not just because it’s a new arena, but because it will be her home venue, completely transformed to something super scary.

portable stalls at shows
All of the deserted portables in the background will have scary roofs on them. And horses inside!

There’ll be major hustle around all the arenas:Β  tents, trailers, flags, merchandise vendors, tables, all sorts of crazy show action and new equipment.Β  Which is fine when driving to a new venue.Β  But I bet it’ll be very triggering when it’s happening on her home turf…

riding in off limit areas
Tree ally down to another empty guest barn. No riding here either. Maybe someone you know did it just once.

EVERYTHING will seem different and scary…

2018 will have weekends with show jumping here, which we don’t go to, and then about 4 dressage show weekends.Β  First one in May.

Yep – planning on going!Β  Same saddle, same everything, but with a very different, tweaky-rocket ship horse.

Who’s idea was this!!?


three horses waiting their turn in the arena
That day we all watched a test. But someone was way too excited just to have friends to be watching.

18 thoughts on “Showing At Home Turf – Much More Difficult Than Going To A Venue

  1. If she were my horse (which of course she isn’t so all opining past this point is just idle talk) I would take her for a nice walk around every one of those hunter/jumper shows just to give her a little life experience which may or may not apply to a later dressage show. I still have to laugh at my long-gone old Thoroughbred who, when it came to lessons, was afraid to be ridden in the empty home pasture he spent years grazing in. When show day arrived, he marched right out there among all the parked trailers and tied horses and camping tents–I guess because his crazy curiosity got the better of him. He acted for all the world like he had been doing this forever. Horses…😏

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    1. This is what I’m hoping for – for her to want to show off, feel a little brilliant, or ‘sumethin. Knowing her, she’ll turn in to a tense ball instead, absolutely unable to focus at all, since so much Crazies are going on at her own home…
      If allowed, I plan on doing a walk with her during the jumper shows, but there may be a rule that you have to be in the show to actually ride on property during show hours. Not sure. If so, I guess a hand walk. I’d need steel toed boots πŸ˜‰


  2. It’s true! when their home arenas are changed or tampered with it seems to be much more upsetting or spook worthy. Last week Biasini had difficulty with some brightly colored plastic buckets that had been placed just outside the arena rails. something was different in his “sacred” arena!

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    1. That’s just it! They take a mental picture of what things should look like. And then react instinctively when a smaller detail is changed. Pray animals. Very smart system. But, oh so difficult to work around in “real riding life”.

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  3. Great photos! Surely a good idea to anticipate the scary things, but of course don’t let on to Miss V! It’s amazing how horses can read us when we’re projecting what they might be afraid of. I’m one to talk! πŸ™‚

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    1. I hear you! Planning on going out there like going to just any other show venue – steady, curious, and just a little more energetic than usual. Faking it until she makes it! πŸ™‚


  4. Ha! You’re so right about this…home sweet home is not to be messed with, in a horse’s opinion. Away from home, we can horse show in a thunder storm with tornado-strength wind gusts (true story) without even a flinch, but at home if there is a bucket out of place on our path from pasture to barn, we must widen our eyes and sidestep and take very loud breathes until we’re all past that evile bucket. πŸ˜‰

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  5. It is always so much worse going to a familiar venue that has been changed then showing up at a manic but new venue.

    They just do not appreciate change haha

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  6. my horses have always been better off property too – whether for shows or even just for lessons. somehow the small changes to an otherwise familiar setting are way more disruptive than a totally new and unknown venue. go figure!

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    1. Yeah. This wasn’t something that was truly on my radar before but now it is definitely sinking in. I was so excited about being able to show ” at home”. Now I’m second guessing the results πŸ˜‰


  7. I agree with hanging out at the hunter show. Here they allow people to come to a show and not compete. There’s a small fee but it’s totally worth it. You can ride in the warm up ring (staying out of the way) and even hang out when they give out the ribbons.

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    1. Yes, agreed.
      To some extent, it’s also me, not really wanting to be “that” person, with the idiot horse going bonkers just walking by an arena, ruining the test for someone else. Often less of an issue with jumping versus a dressage test, but still. If she’s going to be making dragon noises and having a hard time just walking across the grounds, maybe I should just be actually paid to be in the show… Then again, not! Ohhh, this is so hard to do on my own! πŸ™‚ We’ll see in spring!


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