What a wonderful first outing of the year! Douwe, Rovandio and I traveled to Safe Haven Farm in Durham, ME for their annual open house. There was a full schedule of great horses and riders from the area including jumping demos, sidesaddle dressage, cowboy mounted shooting, jousting, and much more. I rode Rovandio with my good friend Lydia Rose dancing in our first routine and then did a liberty ride with Douwe and Rovandio. This was Rovandio's first overnight trip away from home and he was wonderful. He was a little nervous and unsettled in his stall but when he got out in front of the audience he was 100% focused and relaxed. Last year the demos were in the large outside arena but the weather forced the riders and audience into the smaller indoor. We practice in a fairly small indoor arena at home anyway so the space wasn't an issue. The only hard part was that there was no warm-up and I only had a couple minutes to get on Rovy, do a few rounds of trot and canter and then start. I wasn't able to practice any of our harder movements so we could have done a much better job in the routine. But I was SOOO pleased at how relaxed Rovy was and how much he loved performing. There was absolutely NO tension in him at all, he knew what we were supposed to be doing and he watched Lydia dancing as well.
In my second routine I rode Rovandio with Douwe at liberty in the arena. This was the first time I have shown any of our liberty training in public. I have had such a fun winter working these two horses together and every day they come up with new moves and teach me how to stay in the moment. Rovy was so relaxed that I was able to use my bareback pad on him (I am also riding him in a Dr. Cook Bitless Bridle). I prefer riding him in the bareback pad because I can feel his movements and keep his back swinging. Douwe was a really good boy except that he wanted to roll so he was a bit distracted...in hindsight I should have just let him roll at the beginning and then he might have focused better! But I knew that he would be happy to lay down so I was able to put that into the routine even though I hadn't planned on it. Most of the moves I hoped to show involved Douwe going on the pedestal which he usually LOVES to do but today he wanted to roll instead. Haha so you never know what you are going to get!! I want to thank Jennifer Poulin-Novaria for having her open house each spring and giving local riders the opportunity to perform for the local community.