Monday, December 13, 2010

Awesome horsey weekend!!!

My weekend started out okay. I was going to go riding Saturday, but circumstances caused me to not stray far from home. So, when Saturday morning rolled around, I decided that it was just too pretty not to do something outside. I got to the barn (my second home) at about 8:30 and got my chores done, then loaded my trail cleaning and marking stuff into the mule and headed out to do some much needed trail work. I guess I worked for about 3 hours and I was having a blast. Sometimes we just need that alone time with nature to recharge our emotional batteries. I took silly pictures of things I saw, texted 3 different friends repeatedly, and listened to my iPhones ipod. Had a great time!

Then about 12:15 James called me. (my sorting instructor) He called and asked if I was coming to my lesson. I wasn't sure if they were having one as I couldn't get a time from anyone and decided they must have canceled. So I quickly got back to the barn, unloaded and cleaned out the mule. Loaded my saddle and Summer in the trailer and off we went. (a whole 6 miles from my barn)

Let me just say, Summer was total game on this day. I was so proud of her and our lesson. James noticed one thing that Summer has always had a problem with and that is initially separating the herd when going for our first cow. He and I both noticed, she didn't hesitate once. I just felt that this was one of our better lessons and wished I hadn't missed so much time with my back issues. Oh well, God does everything for a reason.

On Sunday, Tracey and I went to the arena for sorting practice. Roy is starting up Sunday practice at $5 a run. This was Amira's second time to try this as the first time (a bit over a year ago) she decided it wasn't the right sport for her at that time. LOL She has since learned that cows are our friends and that horses and humans are the bosses of cows. And Summer has told her they taste pretty yummy too. LOL Amira has learned to move them around in open pastures, however, working cows in a little round pen is much different than working them in a pasture. But she was a good girl and decided to "cowhorse up" and show those stock horses that Arabs can do this too. Everytime she went in, she got a little more comfortable. It's just gonna take a lot of practice like Summer and I did.

Summer was very "game on" again this day so I was once again real happy with her performance. I did 7 runs with Tracey and James saved me one of his runs. James and I ran real good together until he let a trash cow by him. LOL I told Tracey that even the best can bust.

Another thing I like about how Roy is doing this now, is this. You buy tickets for your runs. You hand the gate keeper a ticket when you enter and you get your full 60 seconds. If you bust within the first 10 seconds, you still have 50 seconds for practice so you can still keep going. But, because you have to pay per practice run, you kinda have to have your partners lined up. I spent $35 to run with Tracey and Amira. I won't do that for just anyone else, just like I wouldn't expect someone to do that with me. But Toni and I both knew Amira had it in her. We all know that a horse can feed off fear and nervousness from another horse, but I have also read that they can feed off of the confidence of another horse. Maybe even Summer was "telling" Amira she could do this too.

Tracey also said yesterday that Amira would never win a jackpot. I told her I thought that exact same thing until Summer won 2 of the 5 I entered her in last year. Never say never. You can't have "can't" in your heart as Joe Dirt would say. Cause if you do, then you won't. Ever. But I have also learned in this sport, you MUST be an aggressive rider. No timidity allowed when working with cows. That's for sure. Just like the barrel racing saying, "Ride It Like You Stole It!" : )

Monday, December 6, 2010

NATRC Christmas at the Ranch 2010

Well, this was my first time I have ridden this ride as I have been ride secretary a few times and a go-fer one year. So it was a different feeling being on the other side of things at this years ride. I did help decorate the barn last weekend before the ride with Alanna and Liz so that was fun as I love to decorate. But to sit and just be a competitor had a weird but nice feeling about it.

I took off Thursday to get things done that I hadn't got done during the week to get ready to leave Friday morning. Lucky me, the ride is only 40 miles or so from my barn. Anyway, Friday I got to the ranch and set up my camp site, then saddled Summer and went on a 3 mile hack. We walked mostly and cantered a bit just so I could see where her head was for the competition. She was great.

At check in with the judges she was a good girl. Not fidgety or anything like some other horses were. Some just wouldn't stand still and made me nervous when their rear ends got way to close to the judges secretaries table. I am sure points were docked for that. Anyway, after the vet judge checked her in, I was to go to a horse trailer and tie a quick release for lead ropes with the horsemanship judge.

Saturday morning was okay. We timed out the head of the CP/Novice pack but that didn't help. Apparently, someone had switched the horse I rode Friday for an evil twin. I thought it was Summer, but apparently I had been had! She was very forward, too forward for what I would call a nice ride. But, she was a gaiting machine. She was SMOOTH....My only true complaint was she seemed to me, to rush through the obstacles. But I only lost 1 point on Saturday from the horsemanship judge for backing crooked up the hill. Summer lost 1 point from the vet judge at the side pass on the hill obstacle.

On Sunday, someone had come to my trailer in the middle of the night Saturday night and switched Summer back with her evil twin. So my Sunday ride was AWESOME! I rode with Sue and her molly mule, Sugar. They paced very well together. Sugar's dam is a TWH so there were no problems with them keeping up with each other. And Summer's Sunday obstacles were just flawless. The horse I rode Saturday reminded me to appreciate the horse I rode Sunday! There are still minor things on the obstacles we still need to work on, nothing that we had to do this weekend tho, just future ones we might encounter. But mostly, I need to work on her conditioning and getting that right so that someday my girl will finally get a NATRC blue ribbon.

So I finished the weekend with a Horsemanship score of a 99 and second place out of 3 in my class. And trust me, the two ladies I was competing against are good. I just knew I was gonna get 3rd. Which I would have been fine with as long as I had a decent score on my card. Cause I try to remind myself, I am competing against myself, not the others. I really liked the horsemanship judge too. His name is Kim and was a very nice guy and eeriely looked just like my sorting instructor James. Sounded just like him too. It was just weird. But they say, everyone has a twin.

Summer however, lost 15 points from her metabolics over the weekend. The judge is a AERC judge and they are very metabolicly conscience. I was glad for her judging as it showed me what we needed to work on and how to fix some of the little issues Summer was having over the weekend. And besides, Tamara is a super nice lady. And I would like to thank her too as she is a reserve, in the Army I believe, and is about to be deployed for a year. Thank you Tamara!

Summer received 3rd with a score of an 84. But I must remember, we haven't competed in NATRC in about a year and eight months. Now we just have to get ready for the next one which is in March.

All in all, I had a great weekend. Great horse, great company, great conversation and great food.
Can you tell I had a great time! LOL

Thanks for reading!