Monday, June 18, 2012

A Very Good Day

Okay.  So school is out for the summer (though I do have to go in for a couple of half-days in the next two weeks).  It's time to catch up on what's been going on around here.

With the advent of decent (though not always "good") weather, twice weekly KVTR rides have resumed--unfortunately, I haven't been able to do the mid-week rides until now, and getting stuff done around here (spring is a busy time) has also limited my joining up on the weekends.  I did get out for a couple of local poker rides, two weeks running.
Checkpoint at the Silver Ridge Prize Ride.
Looky who's leading up the mountain at the Roslyn Riders Poker Run!  We had a bit of an head-shaking, hoof-stomping discussion when I first asked her to go to the front (away from her trailer buddy, Rambler), but once there, she chugged right along.  Although she was happy to see him at the checkpoints, I never got another argument about heading out from him again.
Looking back towards the Kittitas Valley from Cle Elum Ridge.
Last weekend was my big splurge for the summer:  fellow KVTRider Barb and I loaded up at O:dark:30 and headed 200 miles southeast to Walla Walla, Washington for the Wild Cowgirls Mountain Trail Challenge.  I have wanted to attend this event for several years, but fate delayed my going.  This year I was determined to compete, even if it meant putting the expenses all on plastic.  Barb going along and sharing gas made it all the more do-able.  This is a three day event, but neither of us is set up for camping, so we planned on a one day sojourn.  Originally we planned on Saturday, but Barb (and another gal who thought about going) had a prior obligation, so we shifted to Sunday--which ended up being a blessing:  Saturday was COLD and rainy, Sunday was sunny and pleasant, getting up into the 70s by afternoon.
The three hour trip was uneventful (not much traffic at that hour on a Sunday morning) and we had plenty of time to get the girls settled in before the course walk.  There was a very nice warm-up area, with a good variety of obstacles, including...a teeter-totter bridge! something neither Mouse or Kate had done before (Kate had the chance a couple of years ago, but wanted nothing to do with it at the time).  There was a teeter-totter on the course map, so we did some groundwork on the warm-up challenges, and after a hesitant first try, Kate survived the trip across the teeter-totter.  When I came back saddled, she tippy-toed across the first time, then figured she had it conquered and never hesitated after that.

Mouse is just coming 4, so Barb took her in the "Junior Ranch Horse" (basically novice, limited to 3-4 year-olds) class, on the easier "cowpoke" course.  Kate being older and more experienced, was entered in "Ranch Mare" and "Old-Timers" (50 and older rider).
The only thing I didn't like about this facility was that the layout in the narrow strip of land between the creek and their pastures prevented us from watching or taking photographs of each other (or the other riders' runs, for that matter)--They sent riders out from the warm-up/staging area, a half-dozen or so at a time, when it was their turn to compete.  There wasn't enough time between our classes for either of us to leave our horse at the trailer and go out on foot.  So we splurged for a CD of pictures taken by the husband of one of the "cowgirls," and he didn't get very many.
Barb and Mouse coming out of the first obstacle, a trench  with a muddy bottom.  (Kate managed to skirt around the mud both times!)
Mouse stepping up on the 3 foot round stump to start up the hill.
This was Mouse's first time at any sort of event, and she handled all the other horses and hubbub really well.
Coming back down the hill.  (Kate and I had to do a figure eight, going back up and over the hill from a second direction.)
Kate has become a pro at logs and rocks and such.
She did, however, earn a refusal at this obstacle on the second run, when she stopped dead in her tracks, to look over her shoulder at the cows in the pasture behind us!

Since I don't have much in the way of accompanying pictures, rather than give you a blow-by-blow, here is a table of Kate's scores, with my comments on each obstacle.
All in all, it was a very good day--good fun, good company, and a good performance from my very good trail horse!