Eli Goes to a Horseshow

Spoiler alert: he was a Very Good Dog!

Ashley and I took a few kids to the spring GMHA show this past weekend, and decided the baby horses would come along for the ride. We didn’t have any concrete plans for them, other than making it a great experience… and boy was it ever.

We unloaded and got settled into our stalls on Friday afternoon and wild horse was wild… to the point where we had to put the stall gate up because he was trying to climb out. The creature was freaking monkeying him self up and out the door because he just wanted to go see all the other horses and make friends. This horse loves friends… his friends don’t alway love him though. We’re working on it.

Since we weren’t planning on showing, he got a tube of quietex and some alone time to process all of the excitement. After about an hour he was settled and content to hang his head out of the door and watch the cars go by. We were lucky to be stabled in a quieter end of the barn sort of out of the fray of the grounds, and that helped a ton.

After giving the kids a lesson and hacking the clients horses, I took Eli out for a walk and a lunge to see what I had for a brain… it was hanging on by a thread but we decided since it was quiet, I should get on and let him see the warm up.

Conquering the scary bridge

He was good, but just barely. There was a lot of jigging around and head tossing because again, he just wanted friends, damnit! I got him around a few times, but my nerves got the best oof me, so we tossed one of our teenagers on board to see him go and he was a bit more settled. He hacked a few laps around and then we went back to his box to think about things over dinner.

He overnighted well and was sound asleep with his head hanging over the door when I got there for our leadline kid early on Saturday.

The lip gives it away. Much sleepy.

After breakfast I took him for a stroll and he was great, still looking but minimal dramatics over anything.

We got the girls through their classes and as Ashley was finishing one up, I tacked up Eli and we walked over to the warm up. He strolled around the grounds in a long rein, stood quietly while I chatted with another trainer, and didn’t lose his mind when somebody on a ranger couldn’t figure out how to get it into gear. He walked, trotted and cantered all the way around like a cool customer and I couldn’t have been happier with how he behaved.

He went to bed sleepy and we almost decided to put him in the Young’s on Sunday afternoon, however we ended up having a ring conflict with the girls so Ashley and I had to divide and conquer and we just ran out of time… he ended up chilling out in his stall most of the day, and getting handwalked every few hours before loading up and heading home.

I’m so happy he had such a great experience and he’s so exhausted today. We have the day off today, then we’re back to it tomorrow!!

I’m already excited for the next horse show, and am hoping to actually get him into the ring!

So much snoring.

“Mama hold me.”


The training of baby horses is never linear and while I’ve been having a great run with Eli over the last little while, today we mostly forgot… well… everything we’ve learned to this point.

I think partially because we had a mentally challenging lesson yesterday, but mostly because we’re almost 6 and life is hard. Like… REALLY HARD.

It all started with an epic meltdown when he accidentally cracked me in the head while I was putting his boots on… he jumped backwards, hit the end of the crossties, and panicked. Then when the twine snapped the crosstie smacked him in the face.

Much trauma.

Then we somehow have managed to land a starring roll in some kind of weird seagull migration… so there was lots of thumping on the roof and seagull noises.

More trauma.

So… when I got on today and it was like sitting on the horse I brought home in October.


Moving off my leg… nope.

Pluck around the arena on a long rein and literally do nothing… no.

Bucking… yes.

We ended up doing a LOT of lateral work at the walk, tail swishing, and zen breathing. I just wanted him to relaaaaaaax and move his body. I’m not sure what continent his brain was on, perhaps wherever the seagulls came from, but it certainly wasn’t anywhere close.

We played around with turn on the haunches to get him thinking about moving his feet and then ended the day with some long and low trot work over poles.

I AM proud of him for trying. He wasn’t being bad he just. couldn’t. focus. We didn’t get into any fights and ended on a happy note (poles are his favorite)… so for a day when the dude seemed to take a huge backslide in knowledge… he took a big jump forward in his attitude and that seems a bigger accomplishment to me with this guy.

The joy of training young horses, though, right? You ride the horse you pulled out of the stall today and keep in mind that there will be tomorrow…and the next day… and the next.

(Even if it is an insufferably adorable sass.)