Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What Do Wednesday: Pro Rides

I'm Looping together the Penny Oaks (PO) wrap up within a Wednesday because a) I don't have media b) I am generally curious on opinions. So cough them up!

Penny Oaks almost didn't happen, so I was incredibly grateful I wouldn't  be eating my entry fee (which as most of us know, is NOT cheap for eventing). PO cancelled the XC  phase about 3 days out from the start, due to torrential rains, and a lot of my barn thought of saying screw it and not going..

But they went and my lil nugget went right along with. I was a little upset I missed a lot of firsts. Braided for the first time, first USEA show, first dressage test, etc.

I am a little miffed no one took pics of him looking spiffy, because apparently he really did look great. I got a few FB messages from friends telling me how wonderful he looked and how good he was!

I forgave EME though, because essentially, PO organizers condensed Dressage and Stadium and ribbons into one day, with minimal planning and it was hectic as all fuck. Also Supertainer had 8 riders and 3 horses she was riding herself. Keep that tidbit in mind.

3 weeks leading up to the show Supertrainer was riding B everyday and she schooled him XC twice, which ended up not being needed, but I was happy it was done regardless (GREAT rides) She said those weeks his flatwork was really lovely and she actually adored riding him! Made me happy to hear that from my trainer. *heart sings* He was a little trickier over fences and continued with his trend of refusing everything the first time. ARGH!

Leading in to the show, out goals were 1) stay in arena 2) all four feet on the ground 3) don't get E from refusals.

A tall order for my unpredictable nugget.

From what I heard from Supertrainer, B was incredible in warm-up. Super calm, forward and easy. Then they stepped in the arena. Cue tense and not listening.

However, I got a very grainy, far away video of his test and it was...not bad.

There were two pretty ugly moments, one where he apparently tried to leave the arena and another where he picked up the wrong lead and refused to be brought back to a trot to correct.

 BUT. There were some lovely moments. I thought his first canter departure was wonderful and unexpectedly calm. Calm....I like calm. There was no free walk to be had, mostly wandering eyes, but he didn't jig. Win. NO galloping. No rearing. WIN. And he stayed in the arena. GOOOAL.

Here's a link to the video I DO have.

He earned a respectable 44, which put him in 11th out of 16. NOT too shabby big man!

Supertrainer later admitted to me she had an error in the test (I've watched it 4 times, I didn't see one) and he should have gotten a 42.

So I was MORE than happy with that. Its not great, but REALLy great for B. Overall I was floored with how well he did first time out ever. He mostly kept his wits and there was only half a mini-tantrum. Supertrainer said because of his inattentive brain, she kept his trot VERY in check which I think was a brilliant move. Asking for more would have been asking for disaster.

On to stadium, Supertrainer said he was literally perfect. We were so worried about him refusing that she rode with such concentration and determination on course, that she missed a fence completely and was eliminated on technicality... WHOMP whomp . HAHA I died. I was like, welp...whatever dude, he went clean. Good on him!

So apparently the fences were not simple and were pretty scary and he took them like a champ. Rocked the 2 stride "combo" so much that she forgot where she was!

I could only laugh. Like, whatever! I probably would have ridden so much worse and forgotten my course, so I didn't care. We came and we conquered my goals for the weekend. 1) stay in a arena 2) all four feet on the ground 3) don't get eliminated from refusals

Also, it was a good experience for him! Perhaps we will continue eventing, perhaps not. Either way I was so proud of him and SO thankful for my trainer for piloting him...even with errors :P

So thats my question. When you pay someone to ride or compete your horse, what is YOUR expectation from them?

I can tell you mine is all about the horse and NOT the ribbon. I could care less about that, I just want a great experience for the horse with a tactful and quiet rider.

ST also took the time to get to know him over 3 weeks and did some great work with him for me when I couldn't. To me, thats worth my money a million times over. Didn't win dressage? Who cares. Went off course in stadium? Whatever, we are all human. Its all good in my book. Even if it had been higher stakes, I still would have been happy given the situation. I got what I expected, which was a calm first outing.

So dear readers, what do? When you're someone to ride, especially if that someone is a pro, do you expect them to be perfect or do you give them some leeway?


  1. My expectation is that the pro will give the horse a better ride than I would have. Vague, yes, but that's really why I put a pro up. I want the horse to come away from the ride with more confidence and a better understanding of their job, however that may be attained. I think an expectation of "perfect" is just setting everyone up for failure.

    1. I suppose perfect isn't the best word, but I actually know some people that expect that (which is ridiculous) so I was trying to envelop both sides of the spectrum

      By the way, I agree. Better than what I would do. And in this situation- she did hahah.

  2. My situation is a little bit different from most for a few reasons, because 1) my trainer doesn't ride anymore and 2) my horse isn't green, he's just opinionated sometimes. That said, I do have access to a wonderful amateur who is willing to help me when I need someone else in the saddle.

    When she shows my horse, I mostly just want to make sure he goes around without theatrics. If he's going to peek at a jump, she will ride it better than I will. If he's going to act up on the landing, she can ride it better and correct it. All in all, it's really more about me watching and seeing my horse be well-behaved than it is about my horse getting experience.

  3. I'm guessing it would depend on why I wanted a pro to ride my horse. If I was paying for experience, than I'd take whatever. If I was paying for wins (trying to sell the horse or get the horse qualified for something) then I'd want perfection. And either way, I'd want pictures. It sucks you didn't get any.

  4. Wooo yay Bacardi!! Bummer about the TE - but seriously, Bacardi didn't know he was eliminated. He probably thought he was the best horse evar right then lol. I would echo what you wrote above and what Amanda said : I would want the pro to give the horse a better experience and outing than I could. If it were a regular schooling / training ride type thing, I would want to see improvements and progress in my own ability to ride the horse. Anyway glad it worked out so well!

  5. The way I look at it is. While I may be a bit bummed it didn't work out perfectly it was ultimately my decision that I couldn't/wouldn't/shouldn't ride my horse. So it isn't the trainers fault in the end. If I could have done better then why wasn't my butt out there? And since it was ultimately my decision not to be in the irons then it's my fault the way it ended.

  6. Yup I put a pro up because I don't think I'm capable of doing the job, which means I'm not expecting my horse to be perfect and I just want a good experience.

  7. I think of my horse was more green I would love pros showing him. However at this point, if a pro wants to show him and wants to pay for the classes then sure! I do wish I had pro schooling rides but oh well.

  8. I'm at the stage with Riley's training that I need to get some serious pro rides (at shows) in the books. He's really coming along but he needs some real confidence boosting at shows and some pro miles before I can get him around without a disaster. I can get him around, but it's no good if we're both a bit frazzled in the end. I'm so happy to hear Barcardi was a good boy and kept a lid on it for his first event! You should be so proud!

  9. If I had a pro riding a horse that is new to the discipline I would expect and be thrilled with exactly what you got. If I was paying a pro to ride a well trained horse who had competed successfully I would expect a lot more. I think she did great and I'm so excited B had a successful outing.