Sunday, May 17, 2009

Yee Haw, RODEO Time!


I wish I could show you pictures.
Or better yet, video.
Sorry... no funniest barn videos today.

Kate, Maddie and I trucked down the road to a little Eastern Washington QHA schooling show yesterday. I was hoping the trail classes were going to be over the new outside (natural) course the facility is rumored to be developing. Disappointingly, no: typical arena type obstacles, though set up in a pasture with real trees. Six foot square box to turn around in, L-back-up, bridge, sidepass to a mailbox, that sort of thing. We did the 40 and over class, and junior horse--better the second time through, though pretty sloppy both times. Because of her abscess, evening work commitments and the crazy E-burg wind, I hadn't been on her more than twice or three times in three weeks. It was good practice for her though. Her most important lesson, however, was to stand (I won't say patiently, 'cause it wasn't) at the trailer for most of the day. Suffice it to say that the ground was too rocky--she didn't make hardly any progress towards China--but not for lack of trying!

The real excitement was on Maddie.
Two English pleasure class (one walk-trot for warm up purposes, one junior horse w-t-canter) in the morning, then four western classes in the P.M. (walk-jog for warm-up, then 40+ (Jack Benny) and junior horse western pleasure; finally, a Western equitation command class). Plus I schooled her through the trail course (we went off course).

What was exciting was that throughout the day, in EVERY CLASS, we had several little fits of buck-fart antics! Not a "head-between-her-knees, I'm-going-to-get-rid-of-you" kind of buck; more of a "I-don't-want-to-be-here-doing-this" kind of kick-out behind.

She had done a little of this on Friday, but I figured it was the lack of work, or possibly my neoprene girth was pinching some hair on my thin-skinned black and white beauty. Or maybe she was coming into heat--though there were three (count 'em, three) studs at the show, who didn't come a-courting, nor did she bat an eye at them. And this was to be the first time I was going to try cantering her in the PSG saddle (I chickened out on Friday when she got snotty, as I am wont to do).

So we danced and pranced and snorted our way through the two English classes (couldn't chicken out here--too many people watching!). Actually placed third of four in the junior horse class, after some reasonable canter rounds, with only occasional buck-farts.

After doing Kate's trail classes, I switched the Western saddle to Maddie, and with no time to spare after the lunch break, went down to the arena for her walk-jog class. We entered on an energetic two-track worthy of fourth level dressage, and sputtered and strutted our way through.

Luckily this seemed to get the kinks out, and Maddie settled down for a decent go in the 40 and over class (which I didn't realize I was entered in until the gal called my number, after everyone else had gone in). Her jog was better, as she got wore out, and she managed some decent lope work, with brief intervals of buck-fart in the various corners, as she felt inspired. And was pinned second! The judge commented that we were all riding "young horses" so I guess her less stellar moments were less "less stellar" than the rest! (I wasn't paying attention to anyone else's rides--my focus was all on Miss Prima Dona).

I don't know if folks had decided to head home early (they were actually moving through their schedule very efficiently, it was only about 3 PM), but there were only two of us in junior horse, and again I was giving Maddie my total attention, so it really surprised me when, in spite of several (admittedly less energetic) kick-outs, she pulled the blue ribbon!

Finally the command class.
Forty and over was the last class of the day. In the other age groups, the judge had them doing figure-eights, at the lope, with a simple lead change in the middle. Now Maddie had been picking up all her leads correctly, but I didn't hold out much hope for us performing this particular feat. We started with rail work, and other than one spectacular buck in the corner (that would have unseated me if she had kept it up for a second bounce) Maddie did the best go of her day. The only other horse, a dependable campaigner, decided the noisy kids on the overhanging balcony were actually horse-eating predators, and totally lost it. I guess the judge had seen enough of each of our equitation skills, so no figure eights (whew!). And again, we got the blue! (I also think the judge may not have seen Maddie's buck.) Judge commented to me that she had definitely gotten better as the day wore on; he was surprised when I told him it was only her 15th ride, and said, considering that, she was doing very well!

My lesson for the day?
I CAN ride through such minor shenanigans, though I need to keep my weight deep in the saddle, and push her forward into my hands. I actually came to the conclusion at one point that if she had dumped me, it probably wouldn't have hurt as much as the knock-over in the driveway a few weeks ago, because the footing in the arena was very deep and soft. This may give me the impetus to haul Kate to the nearby indoor, and see if we can't get a decent lope going with her--I've chickened out each and every time I've tried at home, when she would swish her tail and grouse at me. Maybe I'll have to arrange for an audience, so I can't make any excuses....


  1. Congratulations on a great day! Poor Kate, though. You would paw too if you were tied to the trailer most the day I bet.

  2. Your last paragraph is the story of my life! I am constantly reminding myself that if I just sit back and push her forward, I'll be fine, and if I'm not fine that is some super cushy dirt to fall in. LOL!