The second AHJA show of the year was scheduled for May 20th at Harmony In Hooves. There are usually two shows at Harmony In Hooves, which is a local therapeutic riding center: one in the spring, which is a regular AHJA show; and one in the fall, which is a benefit show for the organization but still counts as part of the AHJA show calendar and contributes points to year-end totals. I went into preparing for this show feeling more confident about our chances after winning champion at the first show of the year.
One advantage we had at the April show was that Prada had just been to the venue a couple of weeks before the show for a clinic with Joey Brumbaugh. By the time we returned to the Fairgrounds for the show, Prada was already pretty familiar with the sights and sounds. Prada had never been to Harmony In Hooves however until the Friday schooling day.
Harmony In Hooves isn’t just a riding stable – it’s also the owners’ home, and besides the horsey inhabitants, there are also donkeys, dogs, cats, chickens, and geese. When Prada first stepped off the trailer on Friday, she was a little overwhelmed by all the new sights, sounds, and smells. Misty actually took me over to school early in the day, so we were the only ones in the arena, which is probably a good thing for my stress level. Prada was feeling pretty spooky, but Misty had me pick up a trot pretty quickly to get her moving and working instead of thinking so much about everything going on around us. It worked pretty well (with the exception of her getting freaked out by some of the horses misbehaving in the pasture), and soon we were cantering and popping over some single jumps. Prada and I were both starting to relax by the time Misty had us start going through our courses. We were finishing up our last course and headed to the outside line when suddenly, a flock of geese decided to fly in and land in the pond on the other side of the arena fence.
Guess what. Prada doesn’t like geese.
She had a bit of a spook and made a zig-zag pattern between the two jumps in the line, and while we managed to get over the second jump in the line, she tried to bolt afterwards. Luckily when she spooks and bolts, her frenzy doesn’t last long, and I was able to bring her back quickly. I gave her a moment to calm down, scope out the geese (who were now happily swimming around in the pond, oblivious to the havoc they had just caused). And then we jumped the outside line again, this time without incident!
As it turns out, the show was actually canceled due to rain. But I’m still glad that we got the opportunity to school at Harmony In Hooves anyway. It was good practice and will hopefully help desensitize Prada for the next time we have a show there.