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Friday. Arie trailers over to the show grounds with BeSe. He hesitated getting on the trailer, he was offered a carrot and then stepped on! Very good boy!

Callista, however, has decided to be alpha mare extraordinaire. Cathy’s warmup is slightly fraught with submission issues. Callista would rather not be both up and round, thank you very much! Cathy wins in the end but the test is not the best. Judges comments weren’t good. Back to the drawing board…..but hey, this is the first Third Level for Callista….we’ve got all winter…

Kassie schools Arie. Overall I’m very pleased. He’s up but attentive to the rider and it’s a very busy show….he has one bad moment when the tractor is being driven toward him and there are no horses nearby….but I safely can chalk that up to inexperience and youth. He’s being a good boy!

Rafi and I school in the early afternoon. VERY busy warm up as four rings are showing and the CDI is going on in the covered arena with its adjacent CDI warmup right next to us. Rafi was very up. This is our first outing in two years….she’s high and I confess I’m a bit on edge. Took me a little while to really get warmed up properly. Just maneuvering and steering in this big ring was its own challenge. But I really got her going with great forward energy surging into my seat and hands. By the end of our school, I was beginning to get used to the traffic and really focusing on my riding. We had super canter work, but I was not as happy with the trot work. Seat, SEAT, SEAT !!!

Saturday morning, life at the show began to change. I arrived about 10:30 am as everyone had later rides. Kassie is cleaning stalls and is just pushing the wheelbarrow out of Rafi’s stall and there is a huge quantity of hay mixed in with the shavings. Rafi hasn’t eaten her breakfast hay, nor for that matter, the night-time hay….this is a little ominous as Rafi is the classic easy keeper and we have particularly good hay this winter!

I’m watching her….she’s a little over affectionate. We get her out for a short walk. I’m to ride her in an hour or two. We all traipse over to watch Kassie ride the Brentina Cup qualifier……then we were to do Arie and Rafi.

I get back and Rafi looks lethargic and unhappy. We temp her….99.9. I watch for a while debating getting the vet. You know what…better safe than sorry….the mare is not right!

Kassie rides Arie. Today he is definitely an overwhelmed gigantic 4-year-old. It was a thirty minute ride and he spent 25 of it in the air…..he cleared the arena and earned Kassie a cheering squad in the bleachers for sheer sticking to saddle power….he was huge, he was frightened by the on coming cantering horses…..he was very “4”!  Kassie deserves a medal for finally getting him on the aids and behaving albeit with a giraffe’s neck.

In the middle of this I had walked back and forth from the barn and the ring.  Rafi needed the vet. Off to the show office I go and luckily the show vet is one I use often down here and knows my horses. Back to the barn, passing Kassie and Arie finally schooling in a more courteous and suitable manner…

In the tent our other working student is saddling Callista for her second try at Third 3. I’m supposed to read for Cathy. Fortunately, my good friend Mary Beth is stopping by our stalls and takes over the reading. The vet has arrived. Rafi’s gut sounds are sluggish and one side of her abdomen look slightly distended. She is dehydrated.. Banamine and tubing are next.

Everyone troops off to watch Cathy and Callista. I stay behind and play vet tech. We lightly tranquilize her, do a rectal exam to make sure everything inside where it belongs and get the tubing up her nose to put electrolytes and fluids into her. I get to hold the tube in place. The mare is an absolute angel….

Everyone comes back….Callista was a bit balky in the warm up they all tell me. But the test went well. Better comments from this judge but still low scores.

We groom, watch the last rides of the day. I linger through supper feeding to eyeball Rafi. She’s seems good and the vet has advised me to keep her at the show as our barn home is empty which could be more stress than Rafi needed at the moment. He suggests that if she’s chipper in the morning, that I ride her lightly…..He comes back that evening to check on her.

Sunday morning and I’m at the show grounds by 9. Kassie’s first ride is  9:30. I walk in the tent and am told Rafi was fine through the night and seems better. She had eaten more hay. I plan to ride after Kassie’s class.

Kassie does great, I buy a cup of tea and back to the tent I go. Rafi looks remote and her respiration is up. We walk her. I get the vet, a different one this time….same rigmarole, drawing blood, temping, tubing, rectal exam, banamine……It is decided that Rafi will go home on the first trailer out. My poor, poor baby! I am SO stressed by now that there is no point trying to express it.

Kassie gets Arie out again. He’s up but much better behaved…only a couple of leaps…man, oh, man, but he’s a lot of horse!!!

Callista has one more class…..same outcome. This time I read for Cathy and I thought the horse had some good moments…..fortunately so did the judge…still not the scores we usually see, but the comments were dead on and helpful…

I’m rereading what I wrote and it seems a dispassionate recounting. But the show was very tough! And I haven’t tried to journal here as I wasn’t really ready to re-live it.

Today Rafi and I had a great ride. Arie got the day off….he was exhausted when he got home from the show! Callista got a dose of Kassie riding her through some of the issues Cathy did not want to push through at the show.  They finished well. We may have Kassie show her next time. It hurts to know that my trainer , who is 68 years old, doesn’t want to risk pushing through stuff. It’s not that she can’t do it, but if a horse acts out and she lands on the ground, her career would be over. Kassie is fearless and 21 and a fabulous rider. So Callista and she will be having some submission discussions over the coming weeks. And me? I get to cool her off…..and that’s fine because I’m not brave enough to push through some of this mare stuff either….

Did I mention how tired I am? I am SO glad to have this show behind us!

And it can only be better next time!!!