Monday, June 15, 2009

Bucks and Gains

Last Sunday was Mercy and my second gaming show. The morning was moving slowly from the start. I got up around 6:30AM and was ready to leave by 7:00, but we didn't even go out to the barn to get Mercy until 7:45. She loaded fairly well and we were on our way. I drove the trailer down the main highway to the saddle club putting on the show. What I didn't realize is that they were doing road work and instead of leaving signs up warning drivers about the 5-6" drops they ground out of the pavement up ahead, we simple fell into them without notice or time to slow down on our way down the road. Thanks pavers, my already not-so-easy-to-keep-happy-while-trailering horse is now even more nervous, thanks....

Anyway, we get to the show and pull in under a giant tree. That would have come in handy if the sun had ever broke, which honestly I am glad it never did. Gaming in extreme heat is not fun or me or my horses. I unload Mercy and tie her up, then head over to the show office to sign up. Once again, the morning is crawling along. The office was running really slow and it took quite a while to get out. By the time I left, the first event was set up and the riders were finishing their warm-ups. I quickly tacked up Mercy and headed over to the now abandoned warm-up arena.

She was ready to go and responsive. I usually trot quite a bit and don't bother loping her. This day she was having a little trouble circling to the right, which is not unusual for her. I continued to circle her until she loosened up a little and became more responsive. Then I turned her to the left and loped her out with ease. Her willingness led me to believe she was ready to join the others.

I rode her over into the arena and found a spot to relax until our turn. Mercy and I are only qualified to ride in the 'D' class, so we had to wait until 'C' was over with for keyhole. When our number was called I pointed her out and asked her to trot a circle. We trotted to the left and then I pointed her straight. She suddenly decided, as we passed through the timers, that it was more fun hanging out with friends than working or running. So, she picked up a lope on the left lead (the one she usually bucks on) and started to buck a little more than she even has with me before! Thank goodness a great 'arena mom' was yelling at me to sit which broke my disbelief that this was happening. I needed to act, not daydream!

Once I had control again, we backed and backed until she relaxed her head and broke at the poll. I wanted to finish the run, but I couldn't remember if I had gone through the timers. Once I got my answer I continued down and back, finishing keyhole. After a run I usually reward my horses by heading back to the trailer for a snack. Nope. Not this time. I took her straight to the warm-up and worked her butt. We did serpentine, transitions, lots of circles to the left, and leg yields. Anything to keep her busy. Once she offered a super smooth 'whoa,' I jumped off and walked her back to the trailer.

Figure 8 was next. I decided not to warm up too much because we were going to trot this run. I also didn't let her just hang out while waiting. I kept her moving around, zigzagging around horses and stopping at random. Our number was called and we headed out. I circled her twice this time and trotted her out. She kept trying to pop up into a lope, but I kept her calm and trotted the course, got off, and returned to the trailer.

From then on, things went much better. Cal stake was quick because it's not only a down and back type event, but I also let Mercy lope. She was finally figuring it out! Flags was next and my grandma had come out with my dad to watch us. Flags is easy when your horse is use to them, but I have not had to experience riding a horse that still needed direct reining while carrying a flag. Mercy did great! I grabbed the first flag with my right hand and bunched the reins in my left hand. She got a little confused when she tried to cross the course, but once she figured out this wasn't Figure 8, we made some good time.

Barrels was going to be our last event for the day. I was getting a little sore and didn't want to wait around at the end of the day to pay up, with everyone else. This event takes a long time because you can only have one person go at a time, instead of running two events at time. We had a long wait before my turn, so I unsaddled Mercy and let her graze under the tree while we all watched the other riders. Some mischievous boys came along at some point and were playing on the tree, throwing stuff and yelling off war chants. Or something...

I got Mercy saddled up and headed out. I wasn't expecting much spectacular, so we quickly warmed up and headed out. When it was our turn, I let her loose. She loped out like pro. I don't know on which lead, but when we got to the first barrel she rounded it on the correct lead. After making it around we headed to the next one. She momentarily got confused and tried to go around the wrong side, but she was easy to correct and we continued on. Over to the third barrel and we were loping home! Loping! Woot!

She did very well and with the help of the arena moms, we got a great time for our first barrel run ever! Here is the break down of our times:

Keyhole- 31.970
Figure 8- 25.069
Cal Stake- 14.559
Flags- 19.328
Barrels- 23.847

To see how we have (or have not, lol!) progressed, look back a few posts to find our previous times. We had a break this weekend and I will be not going this coming weekend, but expect us back out there on the 27th or 28th! Can't wait to do it again! ;)


jrosey said...

Sounds like a fun time! Good riding weather and a (somewhat) cooperative horse! ;) Bet you're already looking forward to next time!

Paint Girl said...

Sounds like an awesome day, besides the bucking and crazy kids! It is a good thing the sun didn't come out, I know how that is, showing in hot sun is not fun!