Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 2, Ranch Horse show

As I type this I am as sore and tired as I have been in a long time. But I am loving it!  My doctor had told me recently that horse back riding doesn't count as exercise because it is not sustained.  Clearly she has never been to a show.  LOL

So if you missed my previous post, where in we actually placed in 2 classes on our first day, you can click Here to read about that.

Picking up where I left off....
It was such an awesome day and I was almost in tears I was so happy with my boy.  Once I had him put away, I went to the motor home and took off my jeans because my legs had been itching and sore most of the day. What I found was that I had hives from my ankles to my thighs and some of it was dark dark red and burning.  I tried putting some lotion on but that was the wrong thing to do. Burn burn burn!!!   (I have a picture but it is pretty gross so I won't post it.)

When the last class was done, I went to help RC and Sky load up the jumps. They had to drive those back to Casper and then get the trailer load of cows for the next day.  To be honest, I was sore and tired, and volunteered to stay at the motor home with Sky's Golden Retriever, Dozer.  That way they could just get their cows without having to worry about the dog. Not that he isn't a good dog, but he is young and does require some supervision.  So off they went to town and Dozer and I grilled a burger and shared it. I took a nice shower, checked on my horse and went to bed.  They finally made it back about midnight.  I swear those gals really put in some long hours to make this show happen, and don't get near enough credit.

The next morning Dozer wanted out about 5 am, so I got up with him and let the other two sleep.  I grabbed a cup of coffee, and went and got Trax and let him do some grazing.  It was beautiful out, a little chilly but not bad, but quiet and serene.  Trax was more than happy to just hang out with me and graze. Dozer, thought grazing looked  like fun so he joined in.  Once my coffee was gone I tied Trax to a pole surrounded by grass and cleaned his stall and put down fresh bedding, fresh water, and his breakfast.

The day before I had two buckets of water for Trax, a black rubber one with Douglas water, and a galvanized one with water from home. At first it seemed that he only wanted the water from home. But through the course of the weekend I realized that it wasn't the water, but the bucket. He did not care for the rubber bucket.  It was not a new bucket, and he has eaten grain out of it a gazillion times. But he prefer's galvanized.  He sucked those buckets down like crazy.  One thing I love about him. He travels well.

By time I got back the motor home, the other two were up and showered and it was time to get to work.  The nice thing about Ranch Horse Shows is that there is a lot less going on at one time, so I was able to really focus on my horse this day. I lunged him, he seemed pretty calm for the most part, I saddled him up and rode him some and noticed the judge (Same from the day before) watching me.  As I rode past he said, "He looks a lot better today."  I thought, "You have no idea." but said, "Thanks"  That was also right when I found out that we had to have a cowboy hat, or be DQ'd.  I had managed to forget mine at home and ended up having to borrow one, which was way too big, but at least had a strap to hold it on.

Then I realized that the halter class was first and here was my horse all sweaty and still kind of dirty from rolling in the dirt the day before.  I ran him back to the trailer and got him cleaned up as best I could. I did not even have time to brush his main and tail!

The show was divided into 3 divisions. Jr. Horse, Non- pro, and Open.  We were in the Non Pro and there were a total of 6 horses in that division.   Each division has to do Halter, Trail, Ranch Riding (like western pleasure) Reining and then the cow work.  The open class  gets to do extra cow work by circling and roping the cow.

So we head into to the halter class, my horse looking like the poor relation from the south while everyone else was shiny and clean.  The judge looked everyone over, I tried my best to get him to stand square, but it wasn't happening and asking him to only made him fidget more.  So I gave up and just stood there.  He made his choices, they announced 6th place, it wasn't me.


They announced 5th, still in the ring. 4th place, still there. 3rd place still there (are you kidding me?) 2nd place, they called our names! I couldn't believe it! The horse that got first was built like a brick...well you know, so I did not mind losing to him at all. I was truly blown away.

Then it was back to the trailer to saddle back up and get back to warming up.  Poor Trax, couldn't tell if we were coming or going, but he kept his cool during it all.

The trail pattern was relatively easy and I was confident that we would do well. What I didn't count on was my inability to pick up the rope for the log pull with the correct hand (I'm so bad with left and right) which meant in order for me to dally on the proper side I had to pass the rope under his neck. Then (the judge told me later) I did not dally correctly, so that hurt us too. (I also learned that almost no one dallied right) Trax did great though.  The only place he failed me was when I needed to ground tie him.  He wouldn't stay still. I ended up having to throw in my  little trick of picking up each foot to get him to stand still. We were allowed to do extra stuff to show off our horse so I did what I could to make him look better.  The judge said we could have done better on our rope gate, because when we are backing into place to close it, Trax tends to swing wide and I always have to push his hip back in. No biggie though, I can work on that.  He did commend me on our trailer loading. The task was to load your horse in the stock trailer, shut the gate then go back in and get back him out.  Trax was the only horse who did not have to be led into the trailer. I opened the gate, told him to load up and he went in and to the front of the trailer.  Then he backed out like a dream. Every other horse struggled with backing out.  Still it was a scoring run and I think we ended up in 5th place. The log pull killed us.

Next was Ranch Riding which is a rail class. When ever we were asked to lope, Trax thought we were in a race. There was one time when we were told to trot and he took off at a lope  extended lope   dead run.  I turned him in a circle to slow him down.  At the end of the class the judge told each one of us how we did. He told me that if I had just checked him down instead of circling him, we would have been 3rd, instead we were 5th.  I'll take it.

Then came the reining.  The pattern was a working cow horse pattern. 3 circles to the right, each one slightly smaller and slower, lead change, 3 circles to the left, go down around the end of the arena, come up the middle and do a sliding stop at the opposite end, 2.5 spins to the right, run to opposite end another sliding stop, 2.5 spins to the left, run to the center of the arena, another sliding stop and then back up.  Then you ask for your cow. For the cow work, you pen your cow at the end of the arena pushing to both ends, then pen him down one side of the arena staying within the markers, and push him back. You are timed, and only have 4 minutes.

Trax struggles with patterns like this, too much running sends him to a different place, you know...the marathon runner place, so I was really a little concerned about how well he would handle it.  But we practiced and did lots of downward transitions, and re directions to get him in the right frame of mind.

We were the first horse in our class to go. I wanted to get it over with. I had been practicing the pattern for an hour so I knew it was as good as it was going to get for us, the longer we stood around the worse it would be.  I rode out and the Judge waved to me. I thought that meant go, but really it meant wait.  So they called me back. I went back to the starting point and waited, at which time Trax decided he needed a pee break anyway.  He always knows when to give some comedic relief!

We were signaled to start and off we went.  He was good, not too chargy, struggled a little with the lead change (again) but got it done and circling to the left really rated me well when it was time too. I had to reach down with both hands and adjust my reins a couple of times, and used 2 hands on the stops, and I figured that doing so had DQ' us.   His stops were not sliding, of course, and as always it takes him a few steps, but he did stop and I did not have to one rein him or really get after him. I gave him his cue and he gave me the best stop he could give me, at this time.  His spins were a little coke bottle-ish but I'm going to take the blame for that. I could have gone a little slower and done better on those.  His back up was a little crooked but relatively smooth and with his head down most of the time.

We asked for our cow, and he locked on to it immediately.  We penned it at the end, we ran it down the side, and turned it around just in time. Then we ran it back up and penned it again. We attempted one more go at it, but didn't quite get what I was hoping for, but we did keep control of our cow the whole time. They called the 1 minute warning and we pushed him down to the gate and called it done.

As soon as we were out the gate I jumped off, loosened the cinch and told him he was done.  He got a hose down, a roll in some dirt and a nice long drink once he had quit breathing so hard.  I was happy with the cow work, not unhappy about the reining work, even though we had dq'd.

Tired and dirty after a long hard weekend. 
Once TC had left with the motor home and I was pretty much ready to roll, I went back to the announcers booth and got to see my scores for the day. As it turns out we did not DQ the reining, we just had the lowest score. I spoke with the Judge about our cow work, and he said that although it was nothing fancy it was perfectly acceptable, and we did a great job of reading the cow, backing off when we needed and get around him to turn him around when we needed. He said that all in all we did a decent job considering the skill level of both me and my horse.  He said that although there is lots of room for improvement, especially in the reining, he thinks that given Trax's drive and energy, he (we) will eventually do very well, if we keep at it.

I thanked him so much, and loaded my horse to head home before I started bawling like a baby.  It was my last WY show, and I was sad to see it end. (I did cry for a while when I was driving) I felt bad later though, because I should have stayed and helped RC and Sky load up the last of the stuff. I don't think anyone stayed to help, and that sucks.  I did send her a text and apologized but the words really seemed empty to me. Too little, too late.

So when I totaled it up, we were in a total of 8 classes and only disqualified in 1. For day 2 our total score put us in last place, but we still scored.  As far as I am concerned, that is flipping amazing!  I am really going to miss this little club and the friends I made here, but I know there is a lot of horsey stuff going on in AZ, and so at the same time I am looking forward to that as well.  

One more thing I want to say on this already too long post, is that when we were warming up on day 2, I noticed that if I rode with 2 hands I was able to get him to really drop his head at all 3 gaits. I mean nice and soft and really pretty.  This is a new thing for him, to be that soft so I can see where the work I did with Mark has really paid off. He is still not one of those horses that drops his head the second you pick up on the reins, but it seems as though he is headed in that direction.

So for now we are done until we get moved, then I am looking forward to being able to ride early mornings in our new arena in San Tan.  I am considering the idea of sending Trax to Mark for a bit before we move to see if he can work on his stopping for  me...depending on how much it would cost and if he would have time to put more than 1 or 2 rides on him.  For now I will just be happy with how far we have come, and look forward to where we are going in the future.

I will post my video's once I have them uploaded to you tube, first I have to find my camera cord!


  1. Congrats! That's a lot to be proud of :)

  2. Yay You! Not only did you survive the show, it sounds like you kicked some butt as well. Congratulations!

  3. Congratulations! Way to go! Good boy, Trax.
    Your doctor is one of those the-horse-does-all-the-work folks. Sigh.

    1. yeah, its funny how many people think that!

  4. Congratulations, all that hard work is really paying off now. Well done!

  5. Congrats! and no wonder you are tired!!! Thank you BTW for the thoughtful compliment on my post about Casey. I do try very hard to be a responsible breeder and conscientious. Nice to have my hard work noticed

    1. Thank you, and you are welcome as well.

  6. Wow, just reading about your weekend is exhausting! I'd need several days to recover from something like that.

    Sounds like you both did awesome! So much to show for all your hard work! And I really like that the judges give you feedback so you know what to do differently next time.

    1. Yes, I liked that part too. Its good to hear about the things we can't see our selves.

  7. Frick ya! Sounds like you guys did absolutely awesome!! & you walked away with some real concrete things to work on and some nice compliments too! Sounds like the perfect end to a couple long days too me!

    1. It really was, and I was so tired by time it was over, I came home and took a nap. Then I woke up starving so we went to eat and I was still so tired I almost left my bank card on the table...argh!

      But yup it was about as perfect as I could have imagine.

  8. if i would have known you were there, i would have driven the three hours on gravel to help you out - seriously.

    Congrats on a job well done, placings and all! I love your attitude, because shows dont exist to prove yourself, shows exist to IMPROVE yourself ;)

  9. Way to go!!! Sitting here with a big smile on my face :) Sounds like you had an exhausting/exhilarating time of it, and you both did great. Solid progress over your last outing, and your boy is getting the hang of things. (Next time, wear a pedometer and take your stats in to your doc - bet he has no idea how much walking surviving a horse show involves, lol!)