Archive for August, 2004
We have a L1 Beginning clinic this weekend and it’s 11 month old Isabel’s turn to start her first step in the journey to saddle horse. Jenny loaded her twice when she was 4 months old and then she came home soaking wet with fear. She did get to ride with Sage, whom she had just met.
So, today my husband and I took Sage, Isabel and Bossy Nova out to the trailer. I fed Sage in the trailer and put another pan for Isabel. It took her about 5 minutes of persuasion and she got in and stayed in to eat her food. Then she unloaded herself, which was another tramatic thing 4 months ago. I let Isabel wander around and eat grass. I took Nova and we went over and looked into the trailer. I encouraged Nova to get in, but she just wasn’t sure.
While Nova and I were playing the trailer game, Isabel reappeared and jumped into the trailer on her own. I think that she missed some morsels of food.
Nova and I continued to play trailer loading until finally Isabell was just in the way. I went in and helped Isabel turn around so she could unload herself again.
Nova and I resumed trailer persuasion and after a while, Isabel loaded herself again. I don’t think I will have to worry about getting Isabel to the clinic.
I finally got Isabel out again and finally Nova went into the trailer for about 1 minute and she jumped out.
I let Sage out of the trailer and counted that a great start for both Isabel and Bossy Nova!
Little Miss Nova is the ruler of all she sees, except her mom. Nova doesn’t try to boss around her mom…but she does everyone else.
Her favorite playmates are the two year old black geldings. She doesn’t much care for 9 month Isabell, because Isabel doesn’t play.
Last night, the two geldings and Nova got out into our back pasture which is being rented by the turf farmer. As the turf guy drove through the gate, he was assured by my husband that the horses were under control…and there went Salty, Kodak and Nova. ..through the gate. Freedom! They were in hog heaven…bluegrass!
I got there soon after this had happened. With a bucket of oats, I took Sage out into the pasture as I was afraid that she might get worried and go through the fence. She didn’t appear to be very upset. Well, the boys came over for some grain and then off they went again. It was terribly fun to cavort in this new grass heaven.
Our boxer dog was in the pasture. Baby Nova decided to chase the dog and away they went. She came back and kicked Salty in the chest. He takes it with the grace of an uncle.
I brought Sage back and handed her to Terry. We kept her in the same pasture where the loose horses were. I tried to catch one of the boys with the grain.
Nova was zipping around chasing the dog again. JR and Isabel decided to scream and run up and down the fence (in the horse pasture).
Guess what, the Turf farmer kept on mowing with his 60 million foot wide mower. His tractor made so much noise that the geldings couldn’t hear the grain rattle. I kept looking at the turf farmer to tell him to STOP THE TRACTOR, but he wouldn’t look at me.
I cursed silently. I could have cursed loudly and no one would have heard me.
Finally I caught one of the blacks. I led that one back to the gate using the fly mast. (Fly masks are very valuable instant halters.) There were 50 eleven million flies along with some horse flies attacking these horses. It was heck to lead a horse while under attack. Ok, We got him through the gate with much effort…without JR and Isabel getting out.
I went back and caught the other one. …with the same effort…to get him through the gate…without JR, Isabel and Kodak getting out.
Now Nova. I did catch her. I did manage to lead her to the gate. I couldn’t get her through the gate. Terry and Sage were trying to block all the horses from escaping through the gate…making Nova just a little uncertain about getting close to Terry.
Finally, we used some of the driving forward techniques that we had practiced. I told Terry to look down…and through the gate she went.
She had a great time. She was drenched with sweat. I was drenched with sweat. I wiped us off with a wet towel and no harm was done.
Nova has her new nickname…not just from this adventure…but her personality has emerged.
Just call her Bossy Nova!
| If you have any desire to win a trail class, always practice the gate before the horse show starts. Yep, that’s one of the answers to life. Everything else about life I learned in Kindergarten.I had qualms about taking JR to his first horse show. I felt like crying. That’s the signal to stop whatever it is that is making me stressed out. I decided not to go. Whew, that felt better.
Jenny asked me if I was going to take Velvet. I said “NO. I know what Velvet can do at a horse show.” “Velvet is so darn pretty,” she said. Jenny told me it was good to take a horse to the horse show and know that they aren’t going to act up. Then Jenny told me that she was going to the horse show all alone and she needed my help. I told her no.
Dear reader: Is this totally unlike the person you have come to know in these stories? You betcha. I have decided that I’m really comfortable with Velvet. I’m old and don’t like change. I wasn’t worried about JR acting up at the show, I was just stressed about what kind of gaits he would do in the arena. We might look really pitiful. I hate pitiful.
On the way home, I decided heed what Jenny had said. I got my trailer and tossed Velvet into it. She was all trimmed up from her Parelli demonstration. We set out for the horse show.
On the way to the horse show, I decided to stop and get JR. He was in a stall at Pine Dell. I would just tie him up; ride him around some after he relaxed; and get him used to the horse show.
Well, the trail class(es) started at 4:00. I got there at 3:30. I begged a wonderful person to enter JR and Velvet in the fox trot and open trail classes. I tacked up JR and away we went to the arena. JR was very nervous. My wonderful person found me and pinned my number to my vest. The trail class route and expectations were explained and we were the 2nd horse in the arena.
JR’s first horse show: He entered all alone in an arena, whinnying for any of his friends to rescue him from all the predators watching him. We came to the gate. We got into position to open it and he backed far away from the gate. Of course, I had touched the gate.
The big No No in the gate world is that you can’t let go once you touch it. Oh dear. We kept a smile on my face and managed to get through the gate. However, before I could get it shut, he backed away again and I lost contact. We returned and managed to shut the gate. Five points were subtracted right there. We did all the other obstacles fine, except we probably didn’t fox trot through the poles. He was a little bit scared of the mailbox. We didn’t impress the judge with our handling of the mailbox. But, I’m certain that she thought we were looked very good!
JR placed 2nd in the Fox Trotter Trail Class. I won’t make any comments about the number of horses in the class… that would lower JR’s dignity!
I had a friend tack up Velvet and we participated in the next class, the open trail class. You would think a horse of Velvet’s experience would not be nervous about the gate. Nope…Velvet blew the gate too!
JR was a most insecure horse throughout the evening. He whinnied throughout the trail class. (We whinnied every 5-10 minutes from 3:30 until about 10:00pm.) However, at no time did I feel like he was going to explode or leap around. He was a perfectly behaved insecure horse.
I took him into two other classes where we demonstrated every gait that a fox trotter could perform to an appreciative audience. My philosophy for JR and I was to look sexy while in the show ring. Looking sexy is very important. Looking sexy really means to look really good even though you are making a mistake or doing something incorrectly. (In fact, looking sexy for horse people is “showing a flair” while something terrible is going wrong.
Occasionally, we would round the corner and slide into a fox trot. JR headed down the straight-away…on the judge’s side, fox trotting his heart out until he got even with the judge. I bet she was staring at us, thinking how cool we were. Then JR would get anxious and slide into the running walk. Near the end of the far corner, we were reduced to a few pacing steps. He recovered and went into a hard trot. Yep, the audience could have learned a lot about fox trotter gaits by watching JR that night. He did do a fantastic job with the flat foot walk. If there was a class that just called for a flat foot walk, we would have been a contender!
Velvet did great in her first performance class. She won third in Western Pleasure. My Pine Dell friends came over after the class and just fell over themselves to tell Velvet how amazing she was. I was all smiles when riding Velvet.
In the next class, Velvet told me that it was past her bedtime and she didn’t want to hit the track hard. I think that I was in a class that had two world grand champions and numerous other horses who placed in the top 5 in classes at past Celebrations. Kansas City has a fine share of super top-notch horses. It’s a pleasure to be in the arena with them.
Velvet and I were in several more classes and we looked great! Looking Great is very important, almost as important as winning.
For some reason, I thought it would be neat to show in class 31, which was Open- Will Canter. That was about 11:00pm. I must have been pretty sleepy. I woke up during the class in the arena and discovered that I was telling Velvet to canter sideways into the center of the arena. We were heading directly to the wonderful judge. What was I doing? We managed to recover and head down the rail.
Velvet broke her canter several times. She picked up the wrong lead, so I had to stop and get her back into the correct lead. I believe that we did this so quickly, that we still looked very cool. It was a pleasure when that class was over. I should have paid attention when Velvet told me she was tired, scratched class 31 and went home.. Oh wait, I couldn’t have gone home until about 11:30 anyway as I was trapped in the parking lot.
To sum it up, I have managed to get JR to a horse show and ride him. JR got somewhat used to being at a horse show. Maybe I won’t cry the next time I think about taking him to a show! Velvet was beautiful and great. It was fun to ride her. The entire day was fun!
The Fox Trotter Horse Show Staring Velvet and JR!