What a wonderful outcome! Zar behaved with a maturity far beyond his years remaining calm and manageable at his very first Royal. Saturday we started the final ride, lunge and the full show wash in preparation for the mega road trip. Sunday we started out at 3.30am and arrived at the Royal show gate dead on time. Was a bit of a hiccup in getting a stall key which delayed our preparations and caused a delay in getting into the ring for his led class at 8am. A big thank you to other competitors and the judge for allowing us to compete despite the delay…. Zar had decided he wasn’t going to take the bit into his mouth at the last moment, tossing his head up and keeping it there and being very silly, he wasn’t scared in the slightest just didn’t want it back in….
Still with assistance from an experienced hand or two, he finally succumbed and we were off to the ring. It was nerve wracking, went the wrong way in the turn and he stopped trotting on the way back with all the excitement… a shame as we had practised this for weeks and he was perfect.. all the smells and noises and other horses of course were just too distracting. Still we secured the second place and I couldn’t have been prouder. I discovered when back in the stall the bridle was 4 holes lower on one side, no wonder he was a bit topsy turvy when trotting him out, no doubt the bit was slipping all over the place, he obviously took it in his stride…
Due to the crazy test with the bit it stayed on him for the rest of the day. The stalls are small and Zar was surrounded by all these new friends.. he became enamoured with the gelding next door for a while thinking he was a she, the gelding being an old hand to the show circuit, just wanted to sleep and Zar’s snorting was interrupting this.. thus ended any further cavorting and Zar was left to call out to other fillies in the stalls as they came and went. Zar was far calmer than we thought he would be given the cacophony of smells and scents and seemed quite content in his stall.
Our rider, Jess, however was not doing so well battling infection and nausea and a few times we nearly pulled out of the ridden class. But Jess soldiered on and took him up to the exercise ring for a workout and lunge. He did well but it was very hot which affected the both of them. By the time we got back and cooled him down it was time to get organised for the ridden, we decided, due to the dishevelled state the flights got into, to take them out. Judge commented we should have left them or replaited as everyone else had presented with their breed ribbons. He behaved well for poor Jess and completed the workout wonderfully for a horse that had only been ridden a total of 10 times in preparation for the event and only broke stride during the canter. Another placing, how exciting, more than what we had hoped for and the lad was so well behaved.
On arriving back at the stalls team Deacon went into overdrive collecting the vehicle, gathering gear, sorting keys, cleaning stalls. We had the lad loaded and on our way by 5pm and home just on dusk. Despite the small hiccups during the event we had a terrific run, nothing forgotten, everything catered for and a positive experience by all. At the end of the day Zar was exhausted, Jess was fighting the infection that had taken hold, Jan’s bad back was making itself known with spasms after a long day carting and cleaning, Dale at least was relaxed once the stress of being at the event ended, he was happy AND we all smelt dreadful.
We wouldn’t have attempted the Ekka on our own and humbly thank the Deacon team…. Jess Carpenter, Steve Carpenter, Jan Moy and Sue Bailey for their support and attendance, marvellous job done by all. We’ve tentatively booked leave to attend Royal Brisbane in 2013 if all goes well through the year.