Yesterday me and Rudy went to a ‘C’ show down in Greensboro, NC. The facilities aren’t exceptional, the show grounds is small, and the competition usually lacks…but we always have a great show! Rudy always goes well, the management is great and it’s inexpensive. Always a plus.
We competed in the 3’9 and 4′ Training Jumpers. I had a horse show first, I forgot my course! I usually learn my course a head of time and have a chance to walk it at least once, but the way timing worked out I wasn’t able to walk the course. I turned right instead of left after a vertical on centerline in the 3’9 class. Made the turn into a really large rollback and all was well! No “refusal”, just time faults.
Rudy was a super star. He was right there for me all the way. He was a bit spooky at the first jump in our first class. A square oxer with a solid gate on the quarter line. A bit of leg and spur off the ground set him up to be bold and forward the rest of my course.
The 4′ class was a blast! Some of the jumps looked pretty large to me, but I was confident in my ride and didn’t second guess myself. Rudy gave some fantastic efforts over the oxers and was very responsive in the combinations. I was quick with my upper body at one oxer off of a short rollback that made Rudy hit it hard with his front end and have the rail. Front-end rails are very uncommon for him, so that one was definitely my fault. I was overall very pleased!
I felt like I had my old horse back. Our last show shook my confidence and faith in our progress over the last year. But these jumps were solid and Rudy really tried for me and felt like he was enjoying himself. I know I was!
Reflecting on things, I believe the major contributor (outside of our confidence building rides and bridleless work) is Rudy’s diet. He got introduced and turned out with a new pasture mate a few months ago. They got along great. Rom is a big older gelding that is very laid back and let Rudy run the show and boss him around. However, Rudy would chase Rom away and steal his food. Rom gets the Cavalor brand food while Rudy gets Blue Seal Sentinel LS. Rudy’s food is a low-starch extruded feed with probiotic and he does very well on it. Cavalor is a great brand of food, it just doesn’t work for Rudy as an individual.
Upon figuring out that Rudy was stealing Rom’s food, he is now back out by himself (he doesn’t mind private turnout and he can still play with Rom over the fence). He seems a lot more laid back and less spooky. A month later and back to the old Rudy!
It’s funny how much their diet can affect their performance! It shows that you can’t just be a good rider to do well in this sport. You really have to be immersed in all aspects of your horse’s care and well-being. Perhaps I will take the time to write a post on important components in an equine athlete’s diet at a later date…
Unfortunately none of my barn friends were around to snap pictures or video my rounds. But here is a cute picture of Rudy munching hay by the trailer after being such a good boy…