Monday, February 10, 2014

MM: Catch Handling

Last year, I had originally planned and wanted to take my filly and show her in hand at a June show.  However, I didn't get my ducks in a row and was still recovering financially from a previous show, so I was settling into the idea of enjoying the weekend with the husband I had off.

Then I received a phone call.  The trainer that had originally schooled the filly in hand needed a catch handler.  The amateur that was going to show these horses had a family emergency to attend to, so would I please come and show?


Except, I had not shown a horse sporthorse in hand at this point.

Also, the weather was a little gross.  More like pea soup.

But I went ahead and put on the only polo shirt I owned and off we went.

Three horses to show.   Hey, it couldn't be too bad, could it?  

I decided the first step was figuring out what I needed to do again.  Second step was to figure out if I could actually run that far in deep footing.  Third step was to make sure I actually had the right horses at the right time.

Horse one was a very pretty Straight Egyptian Arabian mare.  I don't think she's had many life experiences.  She was very good though.  The footing was terrible.  The girl before me ran in rubber boots.  I passed on that one.

But I gave it a go.  I didn't expect much since I had known the mare for approximately .025 seconds and had just learned about 15 seconds before which way to run on the triangle.

Sorry, I look a little derpy.  Kind of how I look in real life too.  

Not that long ago, I looked up the scores.  I was fairly impressed.  Then I looked more closely.  I ended up third.  Horse #1 that beat me has multiple national titles and was national champion in hand a previous year.  Horse #2 also had a national title in hand.  I was .9% behind those mares.  Not too bad.  The judge was pretty friendly and gave me a few suggestions. not to bad I suppose.

Let's try again.  

They moved the triangle to the parking lot.  The next horse I was a little concerned about.  I had known him for much longer than the mare I handled.  He was a two year old gelding.  Very athletic and intelligent, but needs to know where he stands with someone.

This whole "where he stands with someone" ended up being schooling him in the parking lot.

Is it a bad sign when people come over to watch and see what's happening?

He really wasn't too bad, but he just forgot that he has boundaries and he should progress in the right line, speed, and preferably not on top of me.

So into the arena we went, pretty hopeful.  The walk was fine and then the first trot around the triangle he was a little squirrely and ended up a little more sideways than extended.  I made it back to the apex and the judge told me "Again."

I asked if she was serious.  The whole thing?

Yes, the whole thing.

So around we went.  OK, so the distance of the triangle isn't that bad, but when you are running through mud...

No pictures of this guy that aren't the pro shots, sorry. 

But he was amazing.  Really cool extended trot.  Go figure.  We placed fifth in a good sized group of geldings.  The sixth placed gelding took national titles this year.  The others in front of me were more mature, fitter, and also with national level titles.

Not too bad.

Horse number three...also a two year old gelding.  Happened to be just about the sweetest two year old gelding around.  I loved him.  Very gentle and friendly.

We took second to a mature gelding who shows Prix St George.  I'll take it. 

It is often harder to show those funny looking two and three year olds against finished mature horses.  The horses all did their jobs wonderfully, despite having to make a makeshift ring in the parking lot.

I learned a lot and didn't make a total fool out of myself catch handling.  The horse owners were all thrilled to death.

Great experience and memory all the way around.

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