Friday, March 27, 2009

Oklahoma Land Run 2009

What an enjoyable weekend to be had!

I took off work Thursday to get my truck and trailer ready as I wasn't home the weekend prior to do so. But your not hearing complaining from me. I am blessed that my Sergeant let me off on such short notice for the preparation of this event.

Friday morning found Summer and I on the road at 6am. It was a very nice drive and I was at camp at 10:30am. I got a great spot right near all the amenities (manure dump station, porta potties, dumpster, water, wash rack and water trough). If you are not a horse camper person, all those things would sound disgusting. LOL

Not much camp to set up and I have gotten to setting my camp up, down to a fine art. I also got my air mattress and such made up that Thursday so I wouldn't have to deal with it Friday. I am sure my neighbors thought I was nuts. LOL

Checked in with management, then went for a short ride on the yellow loop with Patti, Kim and Liz. Once I got Summer re-groomed, I checked her in with the temporary vet judge. Our judge was stuck at an airport and one of the competitors is a NATRC vet judge and was kind enough to check in Open and Novice, but couldn't do the CP class as that was the class she was in.

Friday night, I slept quite well and we were on the trail by 8am I believe. It was a beautiful trail, as usual. The weather was overcast and windy with the occasional drizzle, but nothing that got you real wet, just enough to feel good. Summer and I started out to mid/back of the CP/Novice pack, by the end of the second loop, we were right behind Liz, who started out right in the front. I know, I know, open, open...LOL. I was about 20 or 30 minutes ahead of time, so I lingered a little too long in camp, but nothing that made me late. It actually put me right back on mid time. During my camp break, I met a first time competitor named Susan and her little POA Sprinkles. He was little, but he did his darnedest to keep up with Summer, but he never got upset if she left him. I think it was more Susan wanting to keep up with me. So I took her on and decided I wanted to do my first mentoring job. And I really enjoyed it. She is an endurance rider with most of her rides in California and on Saddlebreds. She seemed to really have a good time and I was glad I could help her with all her questions.

The third loop really seemed to go by fast and I really did enjoy Susan's company. She was like a sponge on wanting the knowledge of NATRC and what goes along with it.

Our first obstacle of this day though, was logs placed as cavaletti. I looked down as I felt Summer was rushing a bit, so I lost a half a point, but Summer received an excellent with a plus on her card. Guess I should rely and trust my mount more like Janine said. (smile) The second was a creek crossing and I received an excellent with a plus. The third was what usually gets me with the horsemanship judge. It was a down hill, and it was a pretty good down hill too. I have really been working on those as more often than not, I usually get a "down in the saddle" by the judge and loose points. But I got a good on my card and was very pleased. The vet judge, Kay, does do trail obstacles, but mostly focuses on metabolics, and that is what it should be about, I really like that about her. And I really liked this horsemanship judge, Janine, she was a very nice lady and I can't imagine why anyone would gripe about her. Hm? Oh well. Don't know the whole story, so can't tell ya.

The next day I decided I would like to ride with Susan and Sprinkles again. After our morning off side mount and trot out. Which, BTW, I got a half point knocked off cause Summer took a step and another half point because I landed slightly heavy in the saddle. Off side mounts, don't like them. I feel like I am going to fall off the other side. (smile) Anyway, after we were standing around after everyone was finished, Susan decided to get off and put her rain jacket on. Once she was off, the jacket spooked Sprinkles and he was off like a flash. After his little speed exhibition, I walked Summer to where he was as he had already buddied with her. She was standing in the paved with gravel road (big gravel) and something he told her made her spook. She about came unglued. She was all over the place on that gravel. I lost a stirrup, my left rein, and my seat. I looked down at the ground while she was still freaking out and legs going everywhere and thought to myself, "I cannot fall off, that gravel is going to hurt like hell", so I wrapped my left arm around her neck and tried to calm her down. As fast as she started, she quit just as fast. She settled, I got my seat, my stirrup and my reins. I turned her around and everyone started clapping and cheering! LOL I stood in my stirrups, raised my arms and hollered, "Thank you!" I heard someone say that was 8 seconds, and someone else say that if the judges saw that I would have received an extra plus. LOL Summer was still shook up, so I took her to a clearing and did some bending and basic exercises to get her mind off of what just happened. I wasn't mad at her at all. I figure, they can have bad days too. At least I think that of her, because she has never done that, and she has never given me a reason to think that she is dangerous. Anyway, after about 5 minutes or so in the clearing, she was calm and ready for the day. Greg, (who's stallion reared straight up on him right after Summer settled) told me later that day that it looked like Summer was panicking, because she couldn't get her footing on the gravel after the initial spook. I imagined it like me trying to stand on marbles and trying not to fall. He said she didn't look malicious, just frightened because of the gravel rolling out from under her feet.

Anyway, our obstacles for Sunday. The second was back the length of a log. Linda Courts taught a few of us last year at the grasslands about an idea of an invisible beach ball and using it to get your horse to back. I have been practicing at home and put it to use this weekend and was very pleased that she responded. I got an excellent. I told Janine about what I had been taught and that I liked it because I wasn't jerking on the horses mouth. I think she was pleased. Summer got a very good, slt crooked. And she was slt crooked, my fault, she did exactly as she was told. This was only an 11 mile day which made it for a very nice ride and time for visiting with one of the newest NATRC members, Susan. I think she is going to be a fine asset to NATRC and she promised she would be back. Another good thing about this day, we saw several deer about 3 different times this day and 2 of the doe followed us just a short way, until Summer snorted and scared them off. LOL

There was 11 in my class and I placed 4th and Summer placed 2nd. I am real proud of her, but once again, as Patti called it, she was the bridesmaid. LOL I thought that was hilarious. I was calling it the "elusive blue" LOL. But I tell you, if/when she ever gets one, I am going to bawl like a baby! As Jonni said, "never be embarrassed by a few tears..." And I won't be.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My baby is 18...

On the weekend of March 14th, Amanda, Mom and I took a 4 day trip to Altus. Amanda's birthday is March 16th and that is what she wanted to do for her birthday. Her birthday falls on her Spring break and every year she went and spent spring break with Granny. I had a bad feeling that this was going to be a sad four days as Granny will be gone for a year on March 26th. But I also knew, Granny wouldn't want us dwelling on her not being with us. Because, I guess in a way, she was. We stayed at Aunt Doris' house, she is Granny's baby sister. Her daughter, Sandy, stayed the first night with us as Aunt Doris had to go be with her other daughter, Pat, who's husband is very ill from cancer and they live near Killeen, TX. We were heart broke that we wouldn't get to see her, but totally understood.
Anyway...we ended up having a great time. Only a few tears shed on the trip to there. Once in Altus, we headed to Sandy's house. Sandy now lives in Granny's house and as of this weekend, will be buying it. We are very glad, as I know that none of us want to see some stranger living there, it would be too hard.
Saturday, we just hung out and visited with all kinds of cousins. Sunday, David's parents picked up Amanda for church, took her out to eat and then shopping. While they were gone, Sandy, mom and I, planned a little surprise party for Amanda. We got her the really pretty cake with gorgeous blue roses on it. (a little story) When Amanda was a little toot, mom and she would go grocery shopping, Amanda would see birthday cakes and tell mom, "Nanny, get me a Happy Birthday to me, birthday cake." Well, this weekend, we got her just that. The lady at Walmart did a fabulous job of putting those words on that cake.
And here is a picture of the cake, to bad we cut into it before we thought to take a picture:

Of course, with Amanda and the gross factor, had to show us her blue tongue. Of course, the rest of us had to follow suit: *****************************************Sandy
************************************Me and mom

Granny would be so proud. Come to think of it, I am sure she is. (smile)
Some other family came over to for cake, but no pictures of them. Cousin Susan and her daughter Tanya with her two boys, Mason and Aaron.
On Monday, Amanda, Mom and I went to the cemetary and put new artifical flowers on Granny's grave and I put a little angel on her head stone. Mom placed Tracey's collar around the angel. Tracey was Granny's poodle. She lived with mom and dad for the past year and a week before this trip, they had to put her down. It was very hard on everyone. I think because it was one of the last connections to Granny before she died. Anyway, it was somewhat a hard day. But still not as bad as I thought it would be, for that I am grateful.
Aunt Doris had to come home on this day as well. Her back was hurting real bad and she had to come home and go see her doctor. I hated that she was not feeling well, but glad that we got to see her.
All in all, we had a wonderful trip. It went smoothly and we got so much visiting of family in that it was more happy than it was sad. Thank you Lord.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Girl Scout Scamper CTR 2009...

WOW, what a fun weekend. Even though I woke up Friday morning nauseated and stayed that way all weekend, I still had a great time. Tracey went to town for ice and with the advice of Fran, got me some Ginger Ale to settle my stomach, it did help considerably.

What can I say about my first ride of 2009? Well, I went to have fun. To visit folks and to have a nice ride. I chased those points last year. Well, that is, after I found out in the middle of the year where Summer and I were standing for year end results. I don't know if I want to do that again this year. I don't want it to feel like a job again. I don't want to dread getting ready to go to the next ride. I was excited about going last weekend and just decided to have fun, and I did. If you remember my posts from my last two rides of 2008, Summer didn't place. I think I was getting too serious, even tho her scores were good. Anyway...

Friday, I got to the 7IL Ranch which is in Cat Springs TX, got camp set up, went and picked up my vest and got ready to check Summer in. She checked in real good except the part where she thinks a bee flew up her bum. She started moving around and acting silly. You would have thought the vet Pat Reiger was examining her and not Darlene Wehr. I got onto her and settled her down pretty quick, but not quick enough to not loose points. I lost a half of a point with Shirley, the horsemanship judge. Summer never acts like that unless it is Pat checking her. Of course she wasn't near as bad as she is with Pat, but it was still embarrassing. Little fart. Other than that, her mets were good and she was sound and cleared to start the weekend.

I rode the ride Saturday by myself. I wanted it to just be Summer and I since she does have some buddy issues. Plus her BFF Amira was there and that didn't make it any easier on her. I think she moved out so fast on Saturday because Open and Novice/CP used the same trails. The only difference is, Open timed out first and went at a faster pace. Tracey timed out at the head of the Open pack. I timed out mid to back of the pack in Novice/CP. But I know Summer could smell Amira and that is why she moved so fast. It wasn't bad or uncomfortable, just a quick 5.5 to 6 mph TWH, head noddin' walk. I was real proud of her for that. No pacing, no trying to canter, just that lovely walk. She did good on her metabolics Saturday, her P&R's were good and I thought she executed her obstacles to my liking. I only lost a half a point at the mount because my reins were uneven. Summer stood stock solid for me to mount. I didn't think about my reins being uneven. Summer lost a half a point at the "downed fence" obstacle because her last hoof to go over the fake fence, drug the fence about 4 inches. Oh well. What it was, was this...they used a yellow rope to simulate a downed barbed wire fence. You had to dismount, stand on the fence, get your horse to cross the fence with all four feet while you stood on it. Once that was complete, you had to remount. You had a minute and a half. We did it in probably 30seconds or less. I thought it was a wonderful obstacle. Due to the fact that it really happened to Tracey and I about a week prior at our barn, with 3 strands of real barbed wire. And it was Summer and I that it happened to. It was a team effort by Tracey and I to get Summer clear of it though because of all the mesquite trees around us with those big ol' thorns. Anyhoot... the other Saturday obstacle for Shirley was follow directions, stay to the left of some ribbons and go up a hill. Summer tried to rush it and I pulled her back, said walk in firm voice and she listened. I got a good and didn't loose any points because she listened.

Sunday morning ride out was a bit different. First, we did a trot by for soundness and control. I lost a half point because Summer decided she wanted to show the judges just how many gaits she really had. Silly horse! I thought it was funny, oh well. LOL When we timed out, we had to walk and you could already see an obstacle waiting for us. It was a trot through the brush and when you rounded corner, they had laid some wood in the trail for you to trot over. Or whatever gait your horse does. As for me, it was rack over. There were 4 pieces of wood, Summer's back foot hit one piece and she was dinged a half a point. But again, I was proud of her as I have never asked her to do that before. I guess we need to practice that at the barn.

The other Sunday's obstacles were approach a log, stop at it, not over it, and side pass down the side of it, go down a hill and then up the other side. Now, that would have been a breeze but...during the day, we had started riding with Candy and her TWH, Tuck and Linda and her TWH, Blue. They did the obstacle first and Summer saw her "herd" leave her. Now, she didn't throw a fit, but she didn't know what the purpose of side passing down that log was. Why can't we just walk over it and get to Tuck and Blue faster. She did do the obstacle as requested, but she paused half way through and looked at the boys and it was like she was thinking, "why am I doing this?" But I urged her on and she completed it. But, because she hesitated, she lost another half a point. She did the up/down hill part like a champ tho and didn't rush it.

The last obstacle on Sunday was pretty good. But I lost a half a point on it because once again, Summer didn't see the point in the obstacle because Tuck and Blue had already done it and they were on the other side of the pond waiting on her. It was cross the pond and walk to Mary. Once to Mary, you had to stop at a ribbon, then back your horse down the small hill as if fixing to back into the water and you had to stop with your horses front feet even with the ribbons at the waters edge. Would have been a piece of cake if not for those two hunky TWH geldings waiting for her on the other side. LOL But really, she did it great, I only lost half a point because she backed a little crooked going back to the water, other than that, it was great.

Once back at camp, we cooled down, got us a bite to eat and a drink. I let her eat and rest a bit before checking out with the vet. Now, Summer had perfect metabolics all weekend and I was crushed when she lost a point for gut sounds at check out. But after I thought about it, it was a hot, dusty, dry, windy weekend and she did great for me. 10 horses pulled from this ride for one reason or another, but she finished strong. However, at check out I am glad she listened to me during the trot out and lunging part, I forgot my lunge line and had to use my lead rope. Had she acted like her usual goofy self, don't know if I could have held the rope. LOL

At any rate. I went to have a good time, and I did. I didn't go there thinking, "what place will Summer and I end up?" Patti (Open LW rider) asked me to get her cards and awards if any. Leslie (someone I just met and who was in my division, Novice HW) also asked of me the same thing. So this weekend, if it makes any sense, I felt real comfortable and happy, not anxious at all. So they called Leslie for 4th place HMS, I went up to get her award, then Elaine told me not to sit down as they called my name for third. I was real happy with myself. I took the weekend in stride and got a bonus at the end. So I guess you would know that I was real happy when they called Summer for second place horse. Once again, being beaten by a horse trainer! LOL There were 15 horses started in my class. So again, I was real proud of her and was happy to take home that "icing on the cake."

Thanks for reading and sharing my joy...
Tammy in TX