Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring Stampede Gymkhana!

I had so much fun! It was such a long and tiring day, but seriously worth it.

We got to the barn early (duh) to load up and get to the park.  We got there, and parked up top where the cow horse events park.  What does this mean? That I had about a 1/4 mile walk to and from the trailer to the gymkhana arena.  Which isn't bad, unless of course you end up making the trek about a million times.

Yes, our feet were killing us by the end of the day.

Why was I not on my horse, you ask?

Since Kadin is older, I prefer to do my run, then walk back to the trailer and tie him up and let him eat and rest.  I unsaddled him for about an hour in the middle of the day to give him a break from the weight of the saddle.

Of course, since we were mostly hanging out with the cow horse events, I couldn't hear who was up for gymkhana, so  I had to walk down there a million times to make sure I wasn't going to miss my runs.

It was SUPPOSED to start at 9, but didn't start until close to 10:30.  Then, there was AN HOUR AND A HALF between each run.  There were 5 events.

Yes, this means that I ended up spending FOREVER there.  Approximately 9 hours, to spend a whole two minutes in the arena.  That math seems a little messed up, huh?

My first run was good, it was Birangle (there are two poles one either side of the arena the short way, so you run down the arena the long way, turn left around one, across the arena the short way, left around the second one, and straight back home) and unfortunately, no one was there to video tape it.  Kadin was awake, and was giving me a great working canter.  He broke down to a trot around the first pole, but headed straight to the second without trying to go home first.

The second run was Big T.  I have a video of this one.  It was a great run, but unfortunately I couldn't get him around the last pole and ended up with an off course.  Oh well.  I had leg on, but he wasn't listening to it, and when he figured it out, it was too late. You will see that he did in fact try to go for it, but since I didn't want him to wreck trying to get over to the other side of the pole, I took leg off and said screw it.  Here's the video for that.

My third run was skills barrels.  Which is honestly the stupidest pattern ever.  I dislike it, but mostly because Kadin is not a sharp turner.  You will see that our circles are all over the place, and also since there are so many turns, they are constantly waiting for a cue to run home.  I was letting him pick the pace for the most part, I can handle his fast no problem, so if he decided to pick up a lope, that was just fine with me. It's so nice to have a sweet older horse that I can trust like that (how many horses can you just let choose their speed? Obviously not all the time, but in this instance, completely) Here's the video for that.

My fourth run was cloverleaf barrels.  We did awesome! Yet again, our circles are large, but thats okay, I don't see any reason to yank his face around a barrel.  His second barrel, he gives me a BEAUTIFUL lead change (I didn't even feel it) but then he forgot how to turn at all! the third barrel was prettier, and he ran home like a champ. Also, I was able to drive him effectively through all of the turns, and he never broke gait, which is great for him. Here's the video for that.

While going into the arena for the fourth event, he stopped and pinned his ears.  With another gentle squeeze, he walked in, but that was him telling me that he was done.  So, we had a great run on barrels, and I scratched the last event.  He will stop and pin his ears at you when he's telling you that he is tired or sore or stiff or done.  Since he didn't need much encouragement to continue, and he was happy to pick up speed, I let him on barrels, but I figured there was no reason to make him do the last one.  If it wasn't already such a long day, I would have hung around and let him walk the last event, but at that point it was already 4:30, and it would be an hour and a half before that last run.  That's just far too long to wait!

Plus, what is unfortunate about this gymkhana, was the fact that it is sorted by age groups, and not skill groups.  So rather than competing with people running similar times as me, I am competing with girls that have some SERIOUSLY expensive barrel horses, that were running 17 second runs.  Obviously, me and Kadin are out of our league.  But, it was just for fun, and I had fun!

Kadin did great, and looking back at the videos, we don't look like we're going very fast.  However, Kadin is such a fluid mover, he was holding a very nice working canter throughout the runs, and a pretty nice gallop coming home.  He felt pretty maxed out on the runs home.  He isn't a fast horse, and has never been asked to or taught to extend his gait, which is why he doesn't LOOK like he is going very fast.  For him though, it was great.  He did an excellent job, and I was so happy with him.  I was happy with how much better I look from last year as well!

Also, one thing that I have noticed while watching the videos is the position this saddle puts me in.  It makes my top half come a little forward (also, with Kadin, you really have to be a little foward to be in tune with his motion, its a weird gait to ride) and makes my stirrups look short.  It's one of those annoying saddles that has massive gaps between the stirrup options, so its either semi short or way too long.  Obviously, I choose semi short.

For some reference, here is my video of last years same run on Kadin.  It felt a MILLION times better this year than last, I've really settled into all of the gaits and gotten my seat (even though it doesn't look amazing on Kadin, since I was so tipped forward in that saddle) and also, my communication.  I am no longer thrown off by him suddenly changing direction or shifting weight or anything.  Here's the link to that video.

So, we came home ribbonless, but hot and tired and sunburnt and happy (I never sleep as well as I do the night after a show!) We ran a 24 on Birangle (we ran a 27 last year, but last time it was mostly him, this time it was mostly me!) and 30's on both barrels and skills barrels.  Had I been competing with people in my skill level, I would have had some clean high placing runs, but regardless, oh well! I have more pictures, but this post is already long enough, so I will leave you with this one :)

I've never met a horse with so much expression before!

1 comment:

  1. Nothing better than going home sunburnt and happy! I couldn't watch the videos right now, but will when I get home.

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