Green plates for Horse and Ponies, and pink plates for VSE's:The first obstacle that they encountered on trail was a Back 1-Stride. After that, the horse and ponies were to do a clover leaf obstacle (barrel racing pattern). On each barrel was a cone and on the cone was a tennis ball. This was a timed obstacle with penalties. All my paced obstacles were walk/trot only. If they broke gait into a canter, that counted as a penalty.
The VSE's next obstacle was the Marie Laveau trail. This was their paced obstacle since they didn't have to do the Clover Leaf. From start to end is 3/10ths of a mile. On this course, they had to pick up and return to judge, 3 clothes pens. Each clothes pen had a different colored ribbon on it. This was a walk/trot pace. I used the clothes pens to make sure the competitors didn't canter. This kept them aware of their trail and for each clothes pen they didn't return was a 2pt penalty. This trail is also decorated with cool yet creepy decor: This is the entrance to the trail.
Here are a few trail decorations:
The above picture is the end of the trail and where carts must turn around. Here is a close up of this trees decor:
The next obstacle for all was the cones course. It turned out better than I could have ever imagined. The only thing missing from making this look like a professional course were FEI cones! But I couldn't have asked for better! This was a 10 gate course and just looked wonderful with the meadow surrounding it.
Once they completed the cones course, the drivers were directed to the next trail which was lined with Pinwheels. I spaced the penwheels out from the trail enough that it wouldn't cause a wreck if the horse should decide to refuse. But my judge said they all completed it with flying colors.
Once they exited the pinwheels, they continued on trail and came to a figure 8 pattern which was a walk pace only. Once they completed the pattern, there was a mailbox at the end. They were to settle their horse, open mailbox, removed contents (rolled up magizine), return contents, close mailbox and continue on down the trail.
Two different trails returned the competitors home. The VSE trail was approximately 2 miles and the Horse and Pony trail was approximately 2.5 miles.
Once home, they were told to untack and return in 10 minutes for a P & R check. The horse was done immediately upon returning home and basically had a resting heart and resp rate.
After the P & R check was the final obstacle. Send your horse over a caveletti.
It took a bit to figure the cards as I couldn't get the computer to work so we had to do it all by hand. I was glad I made several copies just in case this occurred.
For awards I purchased blue feed buckets for first, red brushes for second and large sponges for third all along with 1st thru 3 ribbons. For high point I purchased a very nice helmet case and a grand champion ribbon.
This drive only had 6 entries, but I am grateful for that. I was competing with an established show in Houston. Next year I am going to shoot for May 22nd/23rd as there isn't usually a driving show that weekend.
After awards several of us went to Sam's Cafe and just enjoyed the air conditioning and good company.
Again, thank you all who attended to compete or volunteer and please know how grateful I am for you.