Sunday, February 9, 2014

Whirlwind of a Weekend

It was pretty much go go go non-stop all weekend. But not in a bad way.  No, this was definitely good good good.  Well most of it anyway.

Sat morning, BEC came out with 2 of her horses and once we got them settled we headed in to town to go and meet up with CNJ and Nuz at the come I'm the only one with the cool 3 letter acronym?

Anyway, we got there just in time for lunch which was perfect since I was starving (as usual) and we had a great time catching up, laughing our butts off, and checking out all the different rig set ups. There were some real cuties, and then some real gorgeous ones as well.  It was great to finally get to meet Nuz, and I cannot wait to see the pictures that she took.  I really love getting to meet other bloggers.

Then it was time for us to head over to the trailer to get Kat ready.  I asked CNJ just what was required for me to be the Gator.

"Just help me remember that Red goes on the right"

"Oh ok, that should be easy enough"

BEC says, "Hey Cindy, which one is your right?"

Aw Crap!!!

Yes we laughed a long time over that one.   They even offered me a piece of colored string to help me out.

Thanks guys!

Then CNJ says, "Oh and if the wheels come off the ground, throw your weight over there to push em back down"

"Wait...What?  Our wheels will come off the ground? What the heck have I signed up for, Chariot races?"

And off we went to get Kat and the cart ready.

We got back over to the competition area, Nuz was busy taking pictures and BEC was sort of looking around a tad on the frantic side because as we pulled up...

"Number 23 your up in 1 minute!"

All I could think was, "Oh crap I've been on here a total of 30 seconds and it is already time to run?"

I look over at CNJ she is looking cool as a cucumber.   Well okay then, I guess we got this.

And off we went.  We raced around the course, wheels were sliding, there was an minor incident with an ocotillo bush that CNJ calmly navigated through as if it never happened.  I on the other hand totally panicked!   We flew around cacti and greasewood bushes, through sand pits, in and out of and around gates, (which is where I learned to keep all fingers INSIDE the cart) and past all the bright red cones (Yes they stayed on the right).  In a flash it was done and I was so impressed with how well CNJ and that little pony did!

It was a ton of fun and I am so glad that I volunteered for the "job".

Just after the run

Sportin my new hat

FYI, this pony loves his job!

After it was over, BEC and I headed back to my place and saddled up to ride in the arena.

Now this is the part where everyone is going to say, "I told you so"  and it is okay because they did tell me and I shot the idea down.

We tried a running martingale on Trax.  I know I said that I never would, but you know what they say about never....

And you know what, he didn't fall apart!  I actually was really surprised that he didn't.   BEC rode him for a while and I watched carefully.  I did see one time where the look in his eye changed and I was afraid that he was headed to his bad place, but I think he never had a chance to go there.  I watched her ride him and she never kept him "trapped" (for lack of a better term) long enough for him to get caught up in that feeling. In fact she encouraged him to trot out long and low, and it took a while....a long while....but he did.  She worked with him while I rode around on Frosty, trying desperately not to screw up her horse.

I tried really hard to pay special attention to her hands and her body as she used it to move him where she wanted him to go.  It was interesting to hear her assessment on him.  What she told me, and she can probably say it better, is that Trax is so busy trying to protect himself, he sucks down into his short little neck and keeps his shoulders so stiff that he cannot move. He jams up and stops on the front end rather than the hind.  So the goal now is to encourage him to stretch those shoulders out, and lengthen that stride to free those shoulders up.  Once we were able to do that with him, things started to change. Huge changes-no.   Good changes-yes.

I got back on him while she went a switched out her horses.  I rode him and tried to emulate what I saw.  She said to me, "Imagine in your head that he is a long and lean hunter and he is reaching out and doing that long trot, then ask him to do it."

I pictured it in my head and in a very short time he was nailing it.  Once I got him nice and stretched out I asked him to stop and it was better.  She had me do it again only this time before asking for the stop I picked up on him and lifted his shoulders just a tad and then we stopped...Yes! He stopped nicely. It did not jar me in my seat.  I was sooo happy.

Now I have to say that Trax has always had a smooth trot, but when he started stretching out and then staying collected...Oh My God, it was nice!

I remembered at the clinic that Troy had said to BEC that she sits her stops really nicely.  So I really paid attention when she explained to me that my stop cues weren't quite right, and really broke it down in a way I could understand, suddenly I found my self getting stops before I ever even said "whoa".   Sometimes I still mess it up, but I am getting better and I will keep trying until it is second nature to me.

BEC I know you are reading this and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you taking time out of your own riding to help me with this horse, and with my own riding skills.

Okay so by this time she was on her new guy Little John.  Let me just tell you right now, I am in love with the horse.  In fact, we all are at my house!  He is a pleasure to watch, has such a perfect start on him, and is just a cutie besides.  A cutie that is going to grow up to be a handsome guy.

I did request that she go ahead and write a clause in her will that if, God forbid, anything happen to her, that she leave him to me.  Since she jokingly agreed, I took that as a solid yes, and spent the rest of my time figuring out ways for her to have a tragic accident dreaming of the day that I can buy my own horse like that.  All kidding aside, because I really don't want her horse, and I certainly would not wish any harm on my new friend.  I would however love to have my own horse that didn't have a brick wall to break through.     As it turns out, the ranch he came from is the same ranch where a very good reining friend of mine suggested I start when looking for my next horse.  Small world.

Sunday we rode again, this time in the desert with Simon and Killian.  It was quiet and relaxing, with only a very few very minor mishaps, and Trax only tried to act like a jerk a few times. For some reason he has decided that rules of the arena do not apply on the trail, so we spent a lot of time practicing the stopping back.

Killian, of course, proved once again that he is worth his weight in gold by taking excellent care of my son and putting up with Simon's less than stellar riding abilities. He is such a big lug, but never ceases to amaze me at how good he really is.

We were stalked by a herd of steers while we were out there, apparently they thought we were bringing snacks.

Then it was time for BEC to head home and for me to get some work done around the house.

The one bad thing of the weekend is that Trax is having a little bit of a belly ache.  He and Killian were both a little loose in the butt earlier in the week, but I expected it as we have been slowly switching to new feed.  Killian got better but Trax never really did. Sassy never got loose at all. Then I found a couple of moldy cubes in the last of my hay cubes so I thought that maybe he had accidentally gotten a couple of bad cubes and that was what it was.  I 'm still not sure it wasn't.  But then it also could just be that he is getting a lot more Bermuda than he used to, and less alfalfa.  But while we were taking our break in the shade he refused to graze.  So I knew he was not feeling all that hot.

I have gotten him some probiotics and gave him a little aloe vera (out of a plant not a bottle) to help sooth some of that acid.  I did get him to eat some alfalfa cubes and yes I did make sure that they were all good.  No bad ones. In fact I hand picked each one just to make sure.

I will give him some time to get back up to par before I ride again, I'm hoping he will be better in a few days.

Here are a few pictures:

Proof that we really do ride together.

It is not very often we get pictures of the two of us together. 

Here we have BEC showing that you can never underestimate
value of stylish accessories.
(Frosty says, "Why yes I am very handsome")


  1. Looks like a gloriously fun weekend! Glad things are coming together so nicely. And I hope your boy feels better soon.

  2. what a wonderful weekend! I am soo jealous!

  3. Your paragraph about leaving LJ to you in her will is hilarious. I think I am also going to adopt your phrase "loose in the butt." I do admire you for riding gator. CNJ offered to take me for a spin a few times, but with my motion sickness or equilibrium problem or whatever it is I have, I knew I'd be throwing myself off the side of the carriage.

    1. Well if you do decide to ever ride, just remember the tuck and roll!

      Oh, my use of that phrase is directly related to my inability to spell diarrhea with out spell check.

  4. Update on Trax:
    He is doing better this morning, all his food was gone from last night and there were more normal piles of poop around instead of straight cow-plops. He looks a little happier as well. I'm keeping him on the probiotics for a while.

  5. What fun that must have been! Never heard the term riding gator before. You are sure getting glorious riding weather there, I can see why so many people from Canada head on down there with their horses during the winter months.
    Sounds like Trax is improving every time you ride, perseverance pays off! Glad to hear he's feeling better.

    1. There were actually several people from Canada at the ADT watching. Some drove and some were just getting into it. If you're ever out this way...

  6. I think I should also mention that I am also pretty much head over heels in love with her horse Frosty. What a good boy and dang is he pretty! Personally I think he is the "whole package" and from what she describes him to be like before, she has done a fantastic job with him.

  7. Sounds like you are having so much fun with meeting new friends and riding your horses!!! I'm so happy that you're making progress with Trax. Without knowing him, I'll bet BEC has a pretty good understanding of your boy. He tries so hard for you. Keep up the good work!