Have you ever taken your horse to a horse show–not to compete, but for the experience?
For writer and rescue horse advocate Cate Lamm, the first outing she had with her gelding, Banjo, proved to be a challenge, but a lot of fun.
Here’s Cate to explain:
Banjo and I were taking more trail rides off the property and experiencing new things. But now it was time for a different kind of learning experience. He was ready to trailer out to visit a horse show. We weren’t ready to compete, but I knew it would be helpful for him to experience the sights and sounds of a show without any pressure.
There’s a schooling show held near my boarding facility, so I joined some friends for an exciting outing. Banjo and I had practiced trailer-loading, so it was easy to pop him in the trailer for the ride over.
When we arrived at the show, I took him off the trailer and out for a walk around the showgrounds, which were full of horses and people. He was so interested in everything. He got a lot of attention, as his draft-horse looks stood out among the Thoroughbreds and other show horses there.
We walked down to the warm-up ring. Banjo was fine with this. But the concession stand and announcers’ stand were scary. We spent some time there; I found a little patch of grass nearby, and we just hung out. He ate grass and watched horses and people come and go. As time passed, he really relaxed and began to enjoy himself.
I decided it was time to ride him, so we went back to the trailer and tacked up. He was more nervous with me on his back, but he managed well and listened. We made our way back past the concession stand and out to a cross-country field to walk around.
When Banjo relaxed again, we made our way to the warm-up arena. As you may know, a warm-up arena at a horse show can be exciting. This was no exception. Riders of all sizes were coming and going. Banjo was used to riding with a few horses in the arena at our barn, but this was much busier!
We kept to the edges of the arena and just walked. He was nervous, but stayed under control. As the warm-up arena cleared out a little bit, we began to trot. Wow, he was excited, giving me great impulsion. Amazing what a little adrenaline will do.
Banjo was really showing off and enjoying himself, so we had a canter in each direction. It was a little too fast and dangerous with so many small ponies carrying their young riders, so I asked him to trot again. It was fun, and he drew his own crowd of little girls. They all loved him. They wanted to know what kind of horse he was and what his name was. It was very cute.
As I cooled Banjo down by walking him in a nearby field, I felt pleased with his progress. I thought back on the scared rescue horse I’d been working with for just a few months, and I appreciated how far we’d come.
I knew I’d made the right decision when I followed my heart and took this wonderful horse.
Cate Lamm, an avid horsewoman, has been a part of Colorado Horse Rescue (www.chr.org) for 10 years. There, she’s served as head of the adoption committee, has acted as general manager and now works as a rehabilitation trainer. Lamm has owned a number of her own rescue horses and has 20 years of equine experience. Based in Longmont, Colorado, she’s also the editorial assistant of The Trail Rider (www.trailridermag.com), sister publication of MyHorseDaily.com.
If you want more information on rescue horses or you want to locate a rescue near you, please check out AHomeForEveryHorse.com.
Equine.com and the Active Interest Media Equine Network have joined forces with the American Horse Council’s Unwanted Horse Coalition to launch A Home for Every Horse Project.
This project helps find homes for America’s 170,000 to 200,000 horses in need of care and shelter.
Here’s how it works:
• Begin the search for your next equine partner at AHomeForEveryHorse.com. You can search horses waiting for homes at nonprofit shelters across the country. Browse by rescue horse, or find rescue organizations in your area.
• Visit the site’s “Services” section to learn about your local rescue organizations. Find out how you can volunteer, donate, or simply spread the word.
• Look for upcoming stories on EquiSearch.com related to horse rescue.
If your 501(c)(3) rescue organization would like to join the Home For Every Horse Project, call (866) 467-7323, ext. 100. Equine.com is a part of Active Interest Media Equine Network.