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Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

Ride with your heart and soul ~ your horse can feel it


Friday, October 7, 2016

SBRA District Finals - Day 2

I arrived at the barns on day two and both horses seemed happy and comfortable, which was nice to see because it was Lefta's first time being stalled over night.  I was up on Lefta first so I did chores and a quick walk with the ponies then let them settle for a bit before I started to saddle up.
Lefta mosied over to the trailer when it was time to get ready.  Once she was saddled she knew it was time for business and had her "let's get there now!" walk when we headed to the warm up pen and then to the arena.  It felt like everything was going to be good and I was really looking forward to our run.
We went in with our set of five and our run wasn't good.  We hit first, unusual for us as Lefta rarely knocks.  I bought back, in fact I told the arena director before I'd even stopped Lefta :p 
My rule for myself is that we don't do a buyback unless 1) something goes wrong/we knock a barrel and 2) I honestly think it'll do good to run again (as in we may place) or the horse needs it for training/confidence.
I was heading back to the trailer to untack and beating myself up a bit on my crappy run when a fellow competitor pointed out that my line to first was messed up by another girl in the holding pen and that in the future I should politely ask the other rider(s) to get out of the way when it's my turn.  She also said that if I had had a better run into first that I probably would have been clean.  That made me feel a bit better.
Awhile later it was time to get Frosty ready.  He still felt NQR in the warm up but again nothing drastic and the couple friends I asked said he *looked* fine.
Well, that wasn't quite the case.  He felt a bit better in the holding area and when I came around the gate he was eager to run in... and then on the way to first he felt just a smidge humpy.  Tiny enough that I doubted and second guessed it as we turned first and lined out for second.  And then on the way to third it was there again.  Just the tiniest bit but more definite.  And then again on the way home.  Never a full fledged buck, never even a noticeable hump to anyone watching, but just that feeling like there's a bump under the saddle that could turn into more.  And I have to say, when looking at the photos from that run it was noticeable in the pics (at least to me).
and no those won't be shared :p
I was pretty worried about my poor yellow horse but then something awesome happened.  I picked up Lefta from her stall as I was taking Frosty to get untacked so that I could get her ready for her buyback run and when I got to MJ's trailer Janelle (sponsor/friend) was there to work on MJ's mare!  Janelle was taking the weekend off to visit family but happened to be in the area and came to work on Lux after hearing she was sore and why (MJ's daughter's gelding put her through the panels in a little argument overnight, no major injuries but the mare was sore!)  Anyhoo... Janelle asked how my runs were that day and I let her know I was doing a buyback with Lefta and that Frosty's NQR had progressed to feeling humpy during his run. 
I had Lefta tied to the trailer with Frosty to the right of her.  As I was finishing saddling and beginning to boot her up I noticed Janelle come around to Frosty but didn't really think anything of it until I went to mount up to re-warm up Lefta and take Frosty back to his stall and instead of just petting on him Janelle was working on him!  Janelle said she'd take him back to his stall and for me to just focus on my run.  Dang it almost made me tear up, if I hadn't been getting into "game face mode" it probably would have.
Lefta warmed up decently, I didn't ask too much of her though because she was seemed a bit tired, I just wanted her muscles loosened up and her brain on barrels.  It was her third run in two days, which isn't the norm for us, plus she wasn't in the best of shape (my bad for sure!  but she wasn't too out of shape to enter or I wouldn't have)
I was up at the top of my set after the rake, and I kept the advice from earlier in the day in mind and used it!  There was a woman circling her horse along the back wall/entry to alley and I gave her a heads up a couple times that I was up first after the rake, and she'd just smile and nod and stay in the way.  Finally I said "could you clear that space please, I'm up first".  She gave me a bit of a snitty look but she got out of the way ;)  then the announcer called and I came down the wall into the alleyway, lined up nicely and off to first for a good run. 
Alas it was not meant to be.  For the first time ever (with Lefta) my reins flipped over so that both were on the inside of first.  She had just a tiny bobble and they swung right over.  Finishing first was no problem but now my reins were to the outside for second and third :o 
I'll admit I hesitated a moment, I probably would have just gone on with it and salvaged what I could with a more seasoned horse.  And in the nanosecond it took for that to cross my mind I came back to myself with "well how the heck is she going to learn to deal with it if you don't just go on!" and I kicked into gear and got riding again.  Another confession, I actually laughed out loud on the way to second when I heard MJ yell from the stands "Switch hands!!" and another person yell back "She can't!!"
Then I was at second barrel and it was time to put 'er to the test, would Lefta turn or blow past.  No fear, she turned but it wasn't pretty.  I couldn't get her rated and shaped quite right (duh!) but she is a turny little thing and turn she did.  Then we were hustling off to third and again she turned but again it wasn't pretty. 
On the way home I had another moment of hesitation, would she stop or should I quit pushing her?  Then I thought "well there is a solid wall and a gate, what's the worst that could happen?" so I kicked her on home.  Oh, and she did stop pretty nice.  But my poor tired, confused horse... she didn't clock too well.
So there we go.  Both long goes done and that second day had been pretty craptastic.  Just the short go left later in the day.  I'd be there due to being on the board, but for me and my ponies finals were done.

Or were they?

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