Wind, rain, and other pressing projects (farm related, that need to get done at the right time) all conspired to keep me off her back. I know Kate was disappointed. By the time I finished the new brace posts and rehanging the main arena-to-barn gate, there was barely enough time to give her a bath. And once I had her in the wash area, I realized her feet were in dire need of a trim before we went anywhere! So, following these two tasks, as the darkness gathered (mind you, this is nearing 9:00 PM), I put her up for the night and loaded the trailer.
Next morning, we met friend Debby and her little mustang mare, Wendy, and headed out. Arrived right at 9:00, when the office opened, and got the girls settled in, signed up, and started getting ready. Deb hollered that they were doing the beginners' course walk, and though I was pretty sure I had the route down, I walked along to hear any questions. Then went back and was putting my boots on when I realized they had started the class! Then Deb let me know that I was "in the hole"!! Quick put Kate's bridle on, and started a very cursory warm-up, especially considering I hadn't been on her in two weeks. Then it was our turn.
|The bridge: 4 . Kate walked right over, so I'm not sure what the judge counted her down for.|
|The turn-around box: 3. These three photos make it look better than it actually was.|
|Kate had trouble with this one last year too, and actually started off pretty well this time, then got a little flustered, bumped the log, but then finished okay.|
|I picked the toughest route through I could find, for extra points...|
|...and Kate never took a misstep.|
|The mailbox: 5. Kate actually got me too close, with barely enough room to open the door. But the judge couldn't see it from the angle she was observing. Otherwise, Kate stood like a rock.|
|The only reason I can figure we were marked down was that everyone else pushed the gate away from themselves, so maybe we did it backwards.|
|The "trail ride": 3. I'm not sure if Kate was confused by a bunch of cross-country jumps that were nearby, or reluctant to leave the rest of the horses, but she wandered a bit, heading up the hill.|
|...and trotted the rest of the way up the hill.|
|Then she had a little fuss about getting me up close enough to the vertical pole to ring the bell that was there.|
|Then back down the hill...|
|...with a quick snack on the way. Poor starved darling!|
|Around the tires at a trot (not an obstacle, but we later went and clambered over them a time or two).|
|Final obstacle, ground tie and pick up feet: 5. I've never really ground tied her, but I knew I wasn't going anywhere, so I took a chance.|
Judging left a little to be desired--the judge (there was supposed to be two, like last year, but something came up), was on horseback, and was often visiting with spectators during competitors' runs. After the first few go's, she didn't even bother riding over to the obstacles to observe--she just watched from 100-200 yards away (further for the "trial ride"). The most outstanding ride of the day was a flawless performance in the advanced class by a young gal whose horse was perfect on the obstacles, relaxed and steady, and happy...but she lost to another rider with the same score whose performance was rushed and whose horse appeared aggravated the whole time. But the tie was broken on total time. I thought that was too bad. The better horsemanship certainly should have been rewarded.
All in all, I was very pleased with Kate's performance! She placed 5th, but with so little work this spring I considered the trip to be primarily for schooling anyway. Now to get some actual practice sessions in, before we go to Walla Walla on June 10th for the "Cowboy Mountain Trail Challenge"!