Monday, June 17, 2013

Judged trail ride? Yes please!

The time since our horse trial left little riding time as I am still working hard at clearing the new fenceline.  At this rate we should be sinking fence posts by the first week of July!   If only more hours in the day would appear I could do what I need to do in a day.

I bopped around on the TWH and the App bareback as a way to work on my bad leg, to reestablish my balance and as a cheating way to make myself have a quick ride.  If I work hard at a w/t/c bareback, I will usually only ride for 30 mins instead of an hour so it is a cheating way to justify a short ride.  Overall I did really well although I came dang close to actually falling off of the TWH in the first canter/trot transition.  Dang close.  We were circling to the right and the right leg decided to snooze.  If I hadn't have had a bunch of mane to grab I would have actually fallen off.  Stupid leg!!  Later I rode the App, something I haven't done in over a month.  What a difference, I had forgotten/didn't realize how short strided the App is.  His canter felt like he was cantering in place compared to the TWH's!  It was so funny to feel the difference.

On Sunday I hauled RB4 and the TWH 30 mins away to a judged trail ride.  It poured the night before and was sprinkling when we showed up at 830, when it was supposed to start, and no one there.  We decided to just go on a trail ride at the park instead and as we were saddling up some people arrived, apparently registration was at 830 and the event started at 9a.  The gal said she didn't think anyone was coming and would cancel if if they didn't have at least 5 people.  I told her that we were going for a ride and would come back, if they decided to hold it then I would participate.  RB4 and I went trail riding for about 2.5 hours and had fun walking through tons of muck and water, getting lost and enjoying the quiet as we were the only riders in the 400+ acre park.

When we finally got back to the parking area the organizer said they were holding the judged trail ride but the ride is mostly in the parking lot due to the condition of the trails and there were only 6 riders if I wanted to join.  So I paid my entry fee and off we went.  The first obstacle I didn't know how the TWH would handle, there were pinwheels and a couple of mylar balloons to walk by.  Not only did the TWH not care, he walked right up and put his nose on a balloon to sniff it.  Go TWH!!!  Absolutely not the reaction I expected!  The second obstacle was just walking over a tarp which I knew the TWH had no issues with.  The third was dragging a tire apx 50 feet that was tied on a rope, I made sure to hold the end of the rope so the tire was a good 15 feet behind us but there wasn't a reason to worry.  The TWH looked at the tire pretty hard and walked sideways a couple of steps and then just continued forward.  I then had to walk to a tree, take a vest off of a hanger, put it on, take it off and hang it back up.  The judge laughed when the TWH took the opportunity to eat grass while I put the vest on, he is much more concerned about calories than vests lol.

The fourth obstacle was a bridge over a ditch which I was able to stop him in front of for a few seconds while I waited for the judge to be ready.  If we hadn't had those few seconds I am not sure if the TWH would have just walked over it as he was quite clear that he wanted to stop as we approached it.  Thankfully those few seconds were all he needed and he went over the bridge without a second glance.  We then had to pick up a branch that was leaning on a fence and drag it 100 feet.  The TWH repeated his boogey-eyed, side step for a few steps before just walking forward.  He was quite tense and nervous about it and since unfortunately I only had one hand on the reins so I couldn't give him a rein cue to relax but I talked to him and he did fine.  We then had to go over a huge log which I was allowed to jump (yay!!!), it was at least 2 foot high.  The seventh "obstacle" was to dismount/mount from the ground which I did although it was hard since I so rarely mount front the ground anymore.  Mounting blocks are my friend!  Thankfully the points were more for the horse standing still, which he does perfectly, than my grace in mounting.  The last obstacle was to unsaddle/saddle your horse without tying them up.  Easy peasy.

We got a perfect score, 10 points on all obstacles, and went back to the trailer to untack and get ready to leave  Right before we left I walked back to see if they had determined placings and it turns out we had won!  The next closest person had gotten a total of 7 points off.  It reiterates how proud I am of my TWH and how nicely trained he is.  He may have irregular trot steps but he sure can clean up in competition!

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