Monday, September 29, 2014

JK Presents Fall Festival 1 - Getting Tango to the showgrounds

Preparation for this show started on Thursday with this beast:

I volunteered to pull his mane, thinking that either his owners didn't really know how, or he was antsy, or something.

Antsy was an understatement. He leapt, cavorted, and tried to kick me. He shook his head everywhere. He bit at me. Thank goodness I had help, otherwise I never would have gotten him under control. I managed the whip for when he kicked me, and my student offered the "GOOD BOY"'s and cookies. All the cookies. 

Stuff his face with cookies. 


The video pretty much sums it up. Ugh. Horses.

Tango decided that the standards in the corner of the 'dressage court' were terrifying and therefore he had to scoot his silly little butt sideways and leap about like an idiot. Love you too, derpface.


I had the students bathe Tango, clean the tack, and pack the trunk. I loaded Felix and Leo up into the trailer and took them to the showgrounds, unloaded them in the dark, and then took the rig home because I'd lent my car to the people who own the truck and trailer. 

I then played a game called "where shouldn't you park a truck and trailer?"

What about outside of a burger king?
How about in a business park?

Close up on the crummy parking job


Sunday morning rolled around bright and early. I was still pretty ecstatic to be hauling this rig around. I love the freedom of putting my horse in a trailer and just going places.

I got to pick one of my working students (E) up and I for whatever reason thought it'd be a good idea to drive this whole pile of metal up a hill with no real knowledge of whether I could turn around or not. I managed to back the trailer down a side street and then turn around, but E was bothered enough to comment "man, I'm glad I can't drive yet."

We arrived at the farm and I started to wonder where the kid who was riding Andy was. I mean, I don't mind throwing the horse in the trailer and going, but I had no idea how to get in touch with kid&parental units about the fact that horse and I were gone. Turns out that kids parents had just dropped her off and figured that I'd bring her along with the horse to the showgrounds. Thanks for the heads up, parents.

Andy loaded without fuss. The only fuss was getting him to take a step forward so that his big ol' quarter horse butt fit behind the divider in the trailer, thinking that Tango would prefer to have a little more room in the back of the trailer.

Tango disagreed. He happily put half his lanky self into the trailer, then stepped his hind feet up and balanced like a silly bird. I hooked him up, pull his lead line off, and go to get out of the trailer so we can close the door. It is at this moment that Tango realizes he doesn't have the whole of the trailer to swing around in, and he decides it's time to get out... only he's attached to the trailer. He panicked, scrambling backwards and pulling against the halter. I start shouting at him nonsensically because the best way to calm an uptight creature down is to shout at them, right? In pulling the quick release under his chin, I get my thumb stuck in his halter and he rips my thumbnail in half as he gallops off.

Bye-bye, pony.

I was pissed, bleeding, and trying to ascertain if anyone was going to get my horse. I mean, I had four kids standing there. I honestly don't know who got him, but I wrapped my thumb in a towel and tried to get him into the trailer again. He seemed very peaceful, but he was also refusing to get his happy self in the trailer. Then he stepped on me. I was wearing my converse, and those things don't really protect your feet. I started crying.

The kids stood by, feeling vaguely helpless, trying to offer me advice.

I finally decided to leave Tango because I needed to get Andy and rider to the showgrounds by 9:30 and Tango's first ride wasn't until 12:24. I was feeling really down, still bleeding, and my hand was pulsing. It's not a bad injury by any stretch of the imagination, but holy cow! There are a lot of nerve endings in your fingers and I was hurting.

I arrived at the showgrounds, parked, unloaded Andy, and spotted Beth longing one of the other horses. I went over to let her know her student and horse had just unloaded, and got over to her just in time for her longe line to break and the silly pony to go a'galloping away, through the warm up ring. Luckily there were people on the ground to stop him. Crisis averted.

Not so gallop-y at home, hey?
Later, Leo leapt out of the dressage ring and then also went BOLTING down the diagonal with his rider. Oops. But the student did really well, held on, and stayed calm. Boom. Can't ask for more from a kid than that.

I left working student #2 at the show to help Beth with anything she might need assistance for. I drove back to the farm. I parked in front of the barn, opened the trailer, and put Tango in the trailer. There were zero theatrics. He acted like and old pro and settled into his hay.

I repeat: horses are silly.

I'll post the rest of the days adventures tomorrow. Until then, do any of my blog-friends know how to interpret the comment "Ag. hands"? It appeared on two of my tests and I don't know what it means.


  1. Ag. hands means against hands, usually if they're resistant or off the bit :) I love Jen's shows at the HP!

    1. Thank you! I'd figured that's what it meant, but then the other trainer at the barn swore it was "again hands", and that didn't make ANY SENSE AT ALL.