After getting the entries sorted out I headed back to the trailer to unload Kat and get started. Cleaned his feet, dusted him off and took him into the warm up arena to lunge and loosen up. As he started to work he let out with a loud high pitched whinny to let everyone know he was there.
If everyone liked the one picture of him working from before, had they been able to see him on the lunge line showing off, you would all be picking your jaws up off the ground. Kat rocked back on his rear end and let his hooves fly as he cantered around on the end of the line. His knees were coming up level with his elbows, yet he never sacrificed or lost any movement in the rear end either. His hocks were also coming up level with his stifles. Talk about POP!
Because of his whinnying, people along the rail were looking. Everyone was staring at him as he went around on the end of the lunge line. When he dropped down to a trot, he still had that same fluid, graceful movement with a ton of action in it. His legs and hooves came up and out with an extra amount of reach in each stride. This was the kind of movement I had gotten in the dressage arena when warming up for the Darby back in August.
Since he was a bit excited and this was his first show, I lunged him a little longer and was sure to take the edge off of him. I'm just not up for the same kind of excitement we had back in our early days of training and our first few trips to the horse park. With other horses and riders around, I didn't want to be the talk of the show for the wrong reasons.
When Kat had settled down enough I took him back to the trailer to harness him up. We were parked along the rail of the warm up arena and could hear as the classes were slowly proceeding. I think there was one horse in the stallion/gelding halter classes, a decent amount in the mares sport horse class and none in the stallion/gelding sport horse class.
Once harnessed, I took Kat back into the warm up arena. I figured by ground driving him a few laps around in both directions, we would slowly help accustom the other horses and riders/handlers to the idea that we would be driving and coming in with the cart at some point. It would also give me a feel for how he was behaving and which horses were disturbed by our appearance. Since there was also a cutting show going on in the covered arena, JR had disappeared to go watch. He did ask before he left if I would be needing help, but I assured him we were fine as he went to watch.
Everything was going smoothly ground driving so we headed back to get the cart. I have worked with Kat a lot at home when it comes to putting him to the cart alone. Some people advise leaving the horse tied, others hobble their horses but with Kat I have always worked on whoa means whoa and you don't move. He stood nice and quiet as everything was buckled and fastened into place. JR came back in time to do a few of the straps for us and then hold Kat as I got into the cart.
Did I mention we were parked on a slight hill? And going down that hill onto the 'roadway' Kat did fine. Even stepped over the curbing like it wasn't even there. We walked off down the driveway behind a few other trailers parked near us. Looking up- here come the water truck, sprinklers on full tilt to wet things down and settle the dust...
Schooling shows- Part 1