Archive for September, 2015
Missouri Fox Trotter World Celebration 2015
This is Cisco’s third ever horse show and it’s the big one. We were planning on showing at the Spring Show in June, but he developed a coughing allergy at that show. My diagnosis after some experimentation is allergic to moldy sawdust. Sadly, the coughing continued from June till August. No riding. No ground work. Just cough medicine and cough supplements. Finally, he was cured enough to ride. Cured enough in August, about thirty days before the World Celebration. I rode him and noticed immediately that we had lost our communication for things like canter and consistent flat foot walk and fox trot. I was in big trouble. I immediately decided that he needed training with Jennifer Vaught.
Cisco is somewhat out of shape, signals have to be re-established plus he has to recognize my signals as opposed to the perfectly balanced, soft hands, super knowledge, super experience etc of his trainer compared to me (just put a “not” in front of all those good words in this sentence plus me not riding much at all since June.
Now, let’s add in torrential rain and water puddles everywhere in the arena when the Ranch Horse Versatility class started. This was the third day of showing. Amazingly, we were not disqualified and occasionally did not come in last in all our classes. But last was to arrive now!
Jump. In this class, you have to jump over a pole about twelve inches off the ground. We did practice this morning. Our first jump was about three feet above the pole at a trot. I persevered and soon we were cantering and jumping about thirteen inches off the ground to clear the pole. We practiced dragging a tire in the warm up arena and after a little nervousness, Cisco was able drag that tire faster than a walk. I tried to open the gate into the arena standing next to the gate with my left arm ready. Cisco wasn’t having it. Cisco is a right arm gate opening horse. Left hand gate opening makes him nervous. Of course it had never occurred to me earlier in the year to practise opening a gate with my left arm. It’s just not done in the trail class world. Sadly, this was the Ranch Horse Versatility world and the gate into the arena was a left hand gate. The words “Prior and Proper Preparation” had not been accomplished.
It’s our turn. I tried standing next to the gate with my left hand ready to open and Cisco objected. OK. We turned so my right hand could open the gate. The bolt was out preventing the gate from opening. I had to lean way down, lift the gate slightly up and wiggle the bolt back into its hole. I did not curse out loud. There was a noise, but it wasn’t a curse. The announcer felt sorry for me and asked if we had a gate attendant, but was told this was part of the pattern. I held the gate, Cisco and I backed through the opening, turned and side passed to shut the gate. Dang gate wouldn’t stay shut without the bolt. I was mad at the gate by that time and just threw it shut hoping the gate attendant would catch it before it killed someone.
Now the task was to canter. I asked Cisco to canter with a left lead. He got the left lead and we were cantering for about two steps when he saw the river of water. Someone had dug a little ditch in the sandy arena to let the water drain out. Cisco said to me, “SCREAM”! There’s a deep river that will kill us as he screeched to a halt. I answered Cisco with a human SCREAM. Yep, I screamed out loud right where all the spectators and riders were standing and watching. The scream was loud enough to be heard in the entire versatility arena. Cisco stepped over the river and we started cantering again. I think we even had the correct lead.
Now we are going around the corner and headed to the jump. But the jump pole is supported by these white boxy looking things. These are clearly dangerous and Cisco decided to detour far enough from the jump that the white boxy things wouldn’t eat him…at the canter. Maybe we did break into a trot for a few strides…perhaps.
The rest was great. We made it alive to the tire. I got the rope and dallied around the saddle horn and away we went and managed to fox trot. We returned to the fence where throwing the rope over the fence was a problem Cisco and were standing between the tire and the fence. I didn’t have long enough rope to throw it over the fence. I had to tug the mud filled heavy wretched tire manually close enough to Cisco that I had enough rope to throw over the fence. It wasn’t pretty, but we accomplished the task!
The rest of the pattern were canter circles with two rollbacks. We looked darn good doing that. We cantered and did slide stop rollbacks through big standing water puddles. We came down to the ending slidestop and backed. We then had to go to the judge. I made a funny sigh of relief that I was alive while the judge was looking at Cisco’s bridle. He commented, “You lived through it”.
Boy Howdy! And that’s how I unofficially won Cowgirl of the Day and we did snag a last place ribbon. It was a ribbon! We didn’t get disqualified. Life is good when you are Cowgirl of the Day