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!