Tiki hasn't been to a show since ... December 13th. Yesterday was January 16, so a little over a month. Went to put his sheet on him for shipping, and it was too small. No, I haven't washed it! He was chunked out/muscled up to the point that he is FINALLY up a blanket size. Hmm, guess that's why he has RUB marks all over his coat:( Nicole showed up at 6:30 in the morning of her own free will to help me load. She rocks. Had Star and Tiki up at the barn, fed them some breakfast, I wrapped Tiki while she wrapped Star, then went to load.
For anyone that hasn't read the mid part of this blog, I will quickly re-cap my loading "issues". When I got Tiki, he had only been on straight load trailers with ramps. He walked right up, no problem, could load him by myself with no issues. Loaded him a few times on step up slant load trailers, and while he still got on with no hesitation, by the time I unloaded him, he was REALLY sweaty. Then came Jen's Great Screwup. I borrowed a trailer from a client that was a step up straight load. It was a 2007 model trailer, but it was VERY small. Mangers in front, and very dark. For the first time, he did NOT want to load. Used a longe line to force him in, shut the doors, and it was done. I effectively ruined my horse's ability to load. For the next ... 8 months or so, we have had days of hour+ loading efforts, longe whips, longe lines, pitchforks, etc. I can read a horse; it was NOT fear. It was a stubborn "Yeah, NO." Ever since that one incident of the too small trailer, I have made sure that the trailers were PLENTY big enough, he's just carried one heck of a grudge at enduring 3 hours in a trailer that he HATED. FINALLY, he has decided to relent, and start getting on with no drama again. Whew. Yesterday, he was PERFECT getting on, unloaded with minimal sweat marks, and all is well with the world again.
It wasn't too bad, temperature wise in the morning; low 40's and overcast. By the time I got to Wills Park, it was still low 40's, but you could feel the warmer, humid air was being replaced by cold air and a breeze:( Nicole surprised me with a beautiful wool dress sheet for the Tiki boy that actually FITS him, so after tacking him up, threw that on him to keep him from getting cold. My friend Becca met me at Wills to warm him up for me so I could do other "trainer" things. It was nice because she and Nicole were able to get on the horses, and go in an adjacent ring to just hack and stretch their legs, and let them have PLENTY of time to warm up. Becca let me know he felt like a different horse:) She hasn't ridden him since she showed him over crossrails in his very first show. That was a long time ago! He looked great over a few warm up jumps, and FINALLY it was time to go in the show ring to warm up. Jumped around the course perfectly, and it was time for the show to start!
I didn't have a complete team. We are overly qualified already, I'm just trying to get some individual girls qualified. Still, though, we finished like 4th out of 8 or 9 teams, so not bad. Star was her usual perfect self, and Tiki showed what a rock star he is. Flatted beautifully, jumped around without a hiccup, and with the exception of one flat class where the kid couldn't get his right lead, his "kids" finished in the top 3 every time. What made me feel SO good is the fact that Every. Single. Kid. got off, patted him, told him "Good Boy", then turned to their parents/friends/coach and said, "He was SO great/awesome/fun/cool".
This journey has been SO much fun. I am so proud of where we are, and I hope this year we just keep moving forward. I love my pony, he is such a rock star:)