This weekend Galahad and I went to our first ever trec event and we LOVED it!
The day didn’t have a very auspicious start as I had to get up early to clean my tack and Galahad came in from the field covered in mud. He even had mud dreadlocks in his mane. I hadn’t left myself all that much time so we had to have a very fast, very effective grooming session! We still managed to arrive in plenty of time which gave Galahad a chance to settle a bit before I actually got on. He was very spooky though and kept jumping at the slightest thing. When a rug billowed in the wind (it was very windy!) he shot sideways and caught the side of my head with his lead rope. Again – not a good start!
However, once I was on he felt a lot better and even walked straight past a pile of wrapped bales – all with wildly blowing loose ends – with barely a glance. We ride past a flappy set of bales at home and he hates them but that could be because they are hidden behind a hedge. He was still a bit tense and he was not at all keen on the big doors of the school which were also rattling in the wind. I took him in the little warm up area and after a few times round he was beginning to settle nicely. For him the warm up isn’t so much about warming up his muscles – although obviously that is important – but more about warming up his brain and reminding him that he should listen to me because I’m not going to ask him to do anything dangerous.
Once we were in the school – which he walked straight into with no trouble – we started introducing the horses to the trec obstacles in hand. Galahad was quite happy with them all except the mounting block which he has never liked. That is something I meant to work on before the weekend but I never got around to it. I had to mount from the ground this time but I am determined to change that!
Once we were mounted we went back round all the obstacles again. The bending, tarpaulin, immobility and neck reining were no trouble at all. The s-bend was sometimes brilliant and sometimes terrible. It was the first time Galahad had seen it though and he was still working out what was expected of him. He was definitely trying hard! The rein back was okay but the gate was not good at all. We did manage to open it, go through it and close it again but it was not at all stylish. Something else to work on.
At the end of the lesson we had a mini competition which was great fun. We got no points for the gate or the rein back (which started well but then went to pieces) but we did get some good marks – including tens for the tarpaulin and immobility! We came fourth out of the four in the lesson but I wasn’t expecting anything else and I was so proud of how relaxed he had been about everything. He had never been in an indoor school before so I was prepared for him to be terrified and refuse to do anything!
‘Very calm’ was the judge’s comment for our immobility!
We had a break then, while I watched the more advanced classes, before I got back on board for the newcomers class. Galahad was a bit worried about things rattling around again but soon settled and was fine once we were in the school. He had clearly remembered what he was doing in the morning and had improved immensely. We still got no points for the gate and I had to get on from the ground but this time we got four tens! Again for the immobility and tarpaulin but also for the led s-bend and the jump. We hadn’t jumped in the morning and we obviously haven’t at home for a few weeks so I wasn’t sure what he would do but he flew over it.
The newcomers class also contained the control of paces section which we hadn’t tried in the morning. The idea is to canter slowly and walk quickly. We got no points for the walk – fast walking has never been Galahad’s strong point. The canter felt very rushed but the score wasn’t too bad – probably because he only has little legs! With a bit more schooling to balance the canter we ought not to do too badly with that.
There were three people in my class and I knew I would probably come last. I thought I knew where we had all come but then this happened:
Our first first!
Not bad for our first try!
I had such a fantastic day and I can’t wait to try it again.