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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


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Short Go!

I was in the office helping with envelopes while our Chair person, Ash, and another director, Jewls, were getting the short go figured out. Short go was based on the average of your two running times so things got moved around a little bit but not too much. We were taking back 15 in each D, Ash was reading out the names and Jewls was writing them out.  When Ash got to the 13th spot in 3D she giggled and said "Wow, I can't believe this person made it" in a joking voice.  Jewls and I looked at each other and said "Who?" at the same time.  With a sly grin she looked at me and said "You're back on Lefta!"
Shocked to say the least, I asked if she was sure, and yes it was correct.  The 14th spot was read out and then she burst out laughing when she got to the 15th and final spot... I had made it back on Frosty as well! :o
I'll admit my first reaction was "Oh crap!"  Between not having a lot of time to get both horses ready and the fact that he had been humpy earlier I wasn't too sure what to think.  I quickly texted Janelle and she called right away for a pep talk.  She said he had felt great when she worked on him and she was confident he would run and be fine.  One of the other board members hadn't made it back and I really like how she handles a horse so I asked if she'd warm up one of mine and she said yes.  Lefta was first up so CB warmed up Frosty for me. 
Lefta ran clean and pretty, but not fast.  The poor girl was t.i.r.e.d. 4 runs in two days were enough!
I cooled her out and put her up in her stall then went to the warm up ring.  CB smiled and said "He's really nice!  Like, I want him nice".  I told her she'd have to get in line behind MJ's daughter who is in loooove with him lol
As soon as I swung on I felt better, he just felt good.  We walked and loped a few circles to confirm it and he finally felt RIGHT for the first time all week.
We went to the arena to wait for our turn... then we were going in for our run!  I was a bit hesitant to push him to first, so I let him cruise in (oh what a mistake that would end up being!)  He turned nice but hadn't gotten much speed going in and was a bit wide (my fault).  Second was good, pics below:

*Photo credit for these two pics to Humphrey Tam of Wildting Photography*
 

He rocked third and I rode and kicked all the way home* I could hear some cheering from my friends and new we had had a good run :D
*not stopping riding/kicking before the timer has been a mental issue I've been working on.  Riding harder has been something I've worked on this year too, with support/verbal butt kicking from my friends*
I'll admit, I was almost in tears once I had him stopped in the holding pen.  He had felt so good, it was a really nice run and it just felt so damn good to have him feeling right again, I was a bit emotional.  One of my friends ran over and was super excited, congratulating me on my run and then said something that blew me away... She was pretty sure I was sitting in the top couple spots in 3D!  I knew it was a good run but I didn't think it was that good... not for the team that had barely made it back to the short go! :o   Now there was nothing to do but wait.
Once it was all said and done, yes Lefta finished pretty much at the bottom (if not THE bottom) and Frosty, well my golden boy finished 2nd in the 3D.  We missed the buckle by 0.026!!  Not giving him that push to first, and not keeping it a bit tighter cost us the buckle!
Instead he got a swanky BOT sheet with SBRA 25th Anniversary embroidered on it.  Not mad at all, love those BOT sheets!
All in all I am pretty pleased, making the short go was on my goals list this year.  I've never made a short go and I got back with both horses and finished in the prizes with one.  :D  I'm really looking forward to next year... already planning a goal list and game plan!

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?