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 Jonni...open, 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.