Monday, March 24, 2008

Oklahoma Land Run CTR

Whew, what a ride!!!! My friend Liz, her step-daughter, my daughter and I, got on the rode at 5am for our 5 hour drive. We arrived right at 10am and got a good site to camp in. There were already folks there who had arrived the day before. The wind was brisk and blowing around 10 miles an hour. And right on the lake it felt cooler than the actual temps.

Well, we got camp set up. My daughter (Amanda) and Liz's daughter (Kaylee), both 17 years old, stayed with some friend's of ours named Katie and Cork in their RV. Lucky girls got a bed and we got a tent. Oh well, we brought a heater and 125' of extention cord, so we were set for the cold nights.

This is the second time I have been to Lake Carl Blackwell. The first was in 2006 at my first competition. This weekend was only my third ride ever since I have been involved in NATRC. If you have never been there, GO! It is real pretty with all kinds of wild life. During our Friday night ride briefing, a group of white tail deer, came bounding out of the woods and ran past our camp, it was so pretty.

Saturday we rode the white loop with an extra 2 miles added into it to make it 20.9 miles at 4mph. The trails were gorgeous, but I tell you, if a non horsey person saw the trails, they would ask, "are you really going to make your horse climb that!?" My friend counted approximately 14 downs and back ups. And they were steep, boggy, and contained large boulders. But they were pretty. You really had to trust your mount to get the job done. I just got off Summer's back, gave her her head, and said what I always say to her on steep hills, "up, up, up." But, they have to walk up them, if the horsemanship judge catches you trotting or running, you will lose points. And the judge this weekend, Patsy Conner, likes to hide and she is a tough judge but a very sweet lady. So there were a couple of times she was judging us on trail and we never saw her.

I rode with Liz and her paint mare and Mary on her Arab gelding. There was one hill so steep that it was kinda scarey. I am kinda a big girl, and I just prayed Summer could get me up it. She did. Mary and Cimmy went up it first and Summer second. As soon as I got up it, I turned Summer around so Liz's mare, Jazz, could see that Summer wasn't leaving her. Well, Jazz bounded up it anyway and Liz almost came off. It was pretty scary to watch. But she held on and got up the hill.

Well, needless to say, by the end of they day they had already pulled a few horses for lameness issues. Summer's loins were a little sore so the vet judge came by my camp that evening to check her again. She told me to ice towel her and get two raw eggs, beat them, and slather it on her loins and leave it over night. Weird right, but not unheard of. In NATRC, you cannot medicate your horse, and you cannot attach anything to your horse but you can lay an ice water towel on your horses back, because it is not attached. And eggs are not medication, but for some reason, they help in reducing swelling, so they are legal. By the next morning, she was much better.

That poor girl of mine is a flat lander horse, we ain't used to those kinds of hills. I can't tell you the last time she was sore in the loins. I am always light in the saddle and totally get off her back to climb. It was just those hills she wasn't used to. And there was just so many, had there only been a few, she would have had no problems.

Sunday we only had to do 10.1 miles at 4mph. Now, at ride briefing on Saturday night, we were told these trails were MUCH easier than the Saturday trails. Yeah, right! Liz, Mary and I all agreed that they were even more technical than the previous days trails. Of course, then we had the "snowy river" twosome behind use and they were right on Summer's bum. And I watched this guy and girl going 90 to nothing up these hills and I heard the guy que his horse to run up the hills. At one hill, Summer was half way up, next thing I know, I hear his horse grunting and here he comes, right up Summer's butt. I YELLED at him, "DO NOT RUN UP BEHIND ME." And most of you don't know, I have a very load voice. He backed off the rest of the ride. Now, Liz is the president of our region, so later down the trail, I asked her, should I apoligize for yelling at him, she said no, it was a safety issue.

When we finally got back to camp, we were told to untack and get in line for check out. Well, poor Summer's loins were sore again. She would give a little and take a step if you put pressure on them. But there were horses there, much worse than her. One horse was pulled only a mile out of camp Sunday morning. Sunday morn, we had a judged mount and trot by. This one lady on a blk/wht SSH, mounted, I watched that horse give to her. His croop was flat and almost concave and his legs buckled ever so slightly. I saw her talk to the vet judge, then she rode off, but did not pull from the ride. A mile out of camp was our first observation, "do you have a knife?" was the question by the judges. I was told that when the same lady turned to get the knife out of her saddle pack, the horse almost sank. The horse was then pulled. So, these hills were tough on some of these horses. But thank God, Summer's issues weren't near anything like that poor horse and rider.

Okay, I just realized how long I have made this post. So long story not so short.

8 was supposed to start in my class, 5 finished. Because of Summer's loin issues, she lost 4 points. That cost us dearly, but not her fault. She got 4th place. But I know she would have done better had it not been for that because she got 2nd place just two weeks ago out of 12 horses. So I know, she is a CTR horse, we just need to find hills to work on.

I totally knew that I would not place too well because judge Patsy is one tough cookie.

But.... I... got... MY FIRST BLUE RIBBON IN HORSEMANSHIP!!!!!!!!!!

I about fell out!!!!!! I have started losing weight, a whole 4lbs so far. But if I want to catch that blue for Summer, I need to get the weight off!

In CTR, we always want our horses to do better than us. But if Patsy Conner awarded me a blue, then I know I can help Summer catch her first blue.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another wet one...yuck

Boy did it rain yesterday. Everything is icky, soppy and muddy. I just hope this dries somewhat before Friday morning. I also pray that Lake Carl Blackwell will be rideable. That is where the OK Land Run is held. It is a very pretty place, I just don't want the mud. As I am sure no one wants.

Anyway, just wanted to write something.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Getting ready for rides...

Well, my hubby got a lot of work done on my trailer this weekend. Lights, hay manger, dressing room door, metal molding, center divider, the hitch, the roof and I know a couple of other little things. But, now it is usuable. It still needs some cosmetic surgery, but it is now functionally sound. I took it to a car wash last night, only had a couple of dollars in quarters, but it looks a lot cleaner than it did. I just need to do some spot cleaning now. I was in a hurry to get my trailer done because, well, first of all he promised to get this stuff done, second, it will be going on its first CTR with me on the first weekend in April to the Parrie Haynes, Deep in the Heart of Texas ride. That is, unless I hitch a ride and split gas with someone.

This weekend, Liz and I will be going to the Oklahoma Land Run in Stillwater, OK. Once again, I am excited and nervous. And once again, I hope we just finish sound. This is the first ride Summer and I did in 2006 and her metabolics were horrid. She still placed 6th out of 10 horses, but had she not lost 7 metabolic points, she would have had a perfect 100 on her score card because her obstacles were great. Hopefully, with the conditioning I have been trying to do with her, she will do better with her mets. I did buy some electrolytes just in case, but hope I do not need them.

Please keep us in your prayers that we have a safe trip and a safe ride.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Girl Scout Scamper CTR...

What a weekend! Boy, are Summer and I pooped.

First thing first, we weren't even sure this was going to happen. The weather here in north TX was horrible on Thursday. Wind, rain, sleet, and snow. However, by Friday morning, almost all had melted and the sun was out and doing his job.

I loaded my SUV and headed to the barn, fed Summer and loaded more stuff. Then headed to Liz's barn to unload stuff into her horse trailer. Drove to her office, grabbed her hubby's truck, and proceeded with more loading and unloading. Whew, I was already beat by 9:30am. Liz got off at 10:30, we headed to her barn, hooked up, loaded her horse Jazz, headed to my barn, drop off my SUV and loaded up Summer and off to Cat Springs we went. The weather was gorgeous!!! The only complaint we had was the wind was strong.

(We met Mary at a store near Liz's barn and caravaned to the ride.)

We got there in about 4 1/2 hours. We finally found a place to park, unloaded the girls and set up camp.

This was a beautiful facility. It is called the 7IL ranch. Very nice, with 19.2 miles of marked trails.

I know it was 19.2 miles, cause that is what we rode both days. I am pooped! I have been involved in NATRC for 4 years and this is my second ride. Did I say somewhere in my blog I am a professional volunteer? (smile) Anyway, the first ride Summer and I did was 2 years ago and her metabolics ate her lunch. Course that ride is real hilly, but this ride was real sandy, so no matter which location, there is a lot of strain involved.

Okay, on to the story, I will make this short. The ride was 19.2 miles both days at a pace of 4.5mph. Her metabolics were MUCH better than the other ride we did. (It was the same time of year as this, so heat was not a factor at that ride). There were several obstacles, with two seperate judges, a horsemanship judge for the rider, and a vet judge for the horse. Obstacles included but not limited too were, trot bys, water crossings, backing thru trees, hidden obstacles, metabolics, trot into P&Rs, judge mounts(mount your horse in front of a judge), and a few more things.

I honestly didn't think Summer or I would place. My division was the largest class, 12 competitors (Novice Heavyweight) there and there were some good riders and some good horses. I wanted to stay just to get my score cards to see how we did and what we needed to improve on. So we stayed. I think Mary wanted to stay too and secretly I think Liz did too to see how Jazz did. This was Liz's first CTR on this new mare of her's.

Moving on...they called 6th, 5th and 4th, in horsemanship, Mary got 4th, WOO HOO, I was happy for her (she and I rode the whole weekend together and had a great time also, she and I were in the same class). I figured since Mary placed 4th, I knew I didn't place. Not the case, I got 3rd. I was really surprized and happy.

In the horse class, I was worried about Summer's metabolics. I knew she had lost 1 point at the last P&R of the weekend. (P&R means pulse and respiratory, they have to be a certain criteria or they can loose points). But that was okay, she lost 5pts at the 1st ride we did. Once again, I truly did not expect Summer to place. The vet judge called 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd. Mary's horse, Cimmy, placed 3rd. He is a real pretty Arabian and they usually have great metabolics. I was real happy for her once again but at the same time figured Summer had not placed since Cimmy was 3rd. Then the vet judge looked at me and called 2nd place for Summer!!! Summer's first red ribbon. I was so happy. I conditioned her real hard to get her ready for the endurance ride that we didn't get to do. So maybe some of that conditioning stayed with her. Now, if I loose some weight, maybe someday, she might win a blue ribbon.

Liz competed in a class called Competitive Pleasure and Jazz placed 5th, her class was the second largest, 9 competitors. So, we all got to take home a ribbon for our ponies.

Needless to say tho, I didn't get to bed till 12:30am. I made it to work this morning, but I can't wait to go home tonight and crawl back into bed.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Getting close to the ride...

Well, if all goes well, we leave around 11am Friday to go to the Girl Scout Scamper CTR at the 7IL ranch in Cat Springs, TX.

I haven't ridden in over a week, but she is still pretty fit from getting her ready for that endurance ride that we didn't get to do.

Once again, I am excited and nervous. I just want her to be sound this time. Remember at the Christmas ride, she checked in Grade 1 lame and I didn't let her start.

I got her feet done this past Sunday and I am going to put some Tuff Stuff on them tonight to strengthen the soles of her feet. I will be packing supplies a little every night.

I don't have much to talk about, even though I haven't written in a week. Same stuff, different day I guess.

I am slowly getting my root canal done. I didn't realize it would take so many visits. I went yesterday (3rd visit) and they put something in the openings where the nerves were. This visit did hurt a little, but still nothing like the abscess did. Then I go back next Tuesday for the build up and inlay.

Just keep Summer and I in your prayers that we get to compete and we finish the ride sound. If we place, well, that is just icing on the cake.

Glorify the Lord with me,
and let us praise His name together.
Psalm 34:3