After a rare weekend at home, where I did absolutely no work in the office all weekend (didn’t even check email—okay, I only checked it once), I am happy to be back at work on a Monday morning. It’s not that I love the office, but it is good to get caught up and maybe even find time to move ahead a little. After being in the barn and arenas all weekend, being in the office in shorts and sandals doesn’t seem so bad.
We are working fast and furious on my 09 schedule, especially for clinics and expos. Still looking for clinic host sites for 09 in MA and CA—two key regions for me. We are already booking clinics for 09 in MO, WI, VA, OH, CO and HI. We hope to have my 09 clinic schedule finalized by the end of August, so stay tuned!
Saturday Rich and I went down to watch the local pre-fair horse show, which happens here in our small town once a year, the weekend before the county fair. It’s a mixed bag of tricks in the arena, with a huge variety of breeds, disciplines and ability. Most of the horses were pulled out of the pasture to get here but there were a few that had seen the inside of a show ring before. Definitely an interesting job for the judge—she got to see everything from runaway cow ponies to Percheron-Paints to Halflingers and minis—all in one class!
Our local “show committee”—consisting of a small but dedicated group of friends who pull the local show together, plead with the fair board to waive the facility rental fees, plan and recruit for the show, take entries, announce, work the arenas, pick up trash and everything else it takes to put on a small show. They spend hours in devious creation mode trying to plot the most imaginative trail course they can—people from all over came to wait in line to ride the course full of obstacles, flowers, alligators and snakes, popguns and more. All of this hard work is for the simple love of horses and horse showing, and the satisfaction derived from getting local horse owners to challenge themselves and expand their horizons. Spearheaded by our vet and our farrier’s wife, the day was fun, entertaining and a wonderful time for horse lovers and neighbors to visit, laugh and cheer each other on.
Rich and I hauled a few of our horses down (it’s only a five minute drive) to watch the show and do a little schooling after the show. With Diggs and Dually, we waited patiently for the end of the trail class so we could sneak our horses in for practice, just for fun. Rich was very happy with Digg’s total lack of interest in most obstacles—although he was confused by the rope gate—he’ll open just about any ranch gate you can imagine, but the rope hanging from the flower laden jump standards just didn’t look like any gate he ever had to ride through, so he had no clue what to do. Dually walked like a champ through the whole course—not a care in the world—he has bigger and better things to worry about than a few silly gee-gaws. It was a fun, fun day for everyone—winners as well as the “also-rans”-- thanks to a few over-worked and under-appreciated horse lovers and community volunteers.
After we played on the trail course, we went and schooled in the big arena, where the reined cowhorse show would take place the next morning. Dually worked okay but our goal in this schooling show would be to try and get a handle on his emotionality in the show ring. In versatility, when you ride the reining pattern, it is right before cow work—which really charges him up—so he gets very hot in the reining, especially since the cows are right on the other side of the fence and he knows they are coming. Once we get down to the cow work, he’s all business, but reining is one of his strengths, so he should be getting plus points there too. The last three times I’ve shown him, Dually’s gotten quite hot in the reining—it’s sort of like riding a runaway freight train. The only way to fix it is to do some “schooling” (correction) in the show ring—sacrificing the class-- that’s what schooling shows are for.
Dually stayed pretty mellow in the show arena Saturday night after the show— and no cows in sight. But it was good to get him used to the footing (horrible for slide stops) and I was able to school him a little on his other bad habit—gate gravity. He does not like performing in an arena by himself (which almost all cowhorse and versatility requires). He much prefers standing around with all the other horses on the outside of the arena—who wouldn’t! Sometimes he’ll cop an attitude. So I’ve been creating schooling opportunities by waiting in the arena until all the other horses have left—boy does that piss him off! But we work through it and as soon as he is working focused and relaxed, I let him leave and join the other horses. It really helped in this instance and paid off at the show the next day.
Sunday was the reined cow horse show and we took three horses: Dually and I rode in three classes, Diana and Tequlo in two and Diana and Renegade, a reining/ranch horse I have for sale, went in two classes. Check back tomorrow for the sequel to see how we did. Right now, I have to get back to work!
Enjoy the ride!