Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Riding Course Competition

On Saturday morning, all of the EMM trainers participated in the Riding Course portion of the competition. This consisted of leading your horse into the arena, mounting, walking over a bridge, trotting a serpentine, trotting into a box, executing a 360 degree turn in both directions, backing through an "L", then cantering in both directions including a simple lead change. This sounded challenging and I was worried about how we'd do! I was pleased when Sangria performed well to my requests - it actually felt like she was competitive!

After our ride, there was a news crew waiting to interview us as soon as we exited the arena. My boyfriend, JC and I were included in that evening's news report about the Extreme Mustang Makeover. Here's the link to the news video: http://www.kcra.com/news/19750449/detail.html

Here are some pictures from our Riding Course competition. Doesn't Sangria look great? Stay tuned for the conclusion of the competition to see if we made it to the Top 10 Finals! :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sangria's In Hand & Body Conditioning‏ Course

On Friday morning, Sangria and I participated in our In Hand and Body Conditioning event. I was nervous that we might not perform our tasks well, such as backing through an "L", trotting around a serpentine and picking up her feet. Surprisingly, Sangria did very well. I believe she did step out of the "L", and she broke to a walk when we were supposed to trot the entire path. But she was perfect at trailer loading (and unloading), picking up an object and carrying it a short distance and standing quietly as I picked up all four feet.

I was also nervous about how she would score in the Body Conditioning event. I've had other people familiar with how they score tell me that Sangria was too round. Yikes!

However, when the scoresheets came out later that day, I saw that Sangria and I had placed 8th in the In Hand course and 2nd in the Body Conditioning event!! I was so proud of her and also very surprised as the competition was pretty steep against the other horses. These scores put us in 6th place overall! I quickly realized that if we had a decent ride in the Riding Course the next morning, then there was a chance we might make the Top 10 Finals! Uh oh! I definitley wasn't prepared for that situation!

I went out and rode Sangria that evening - she was really great, though I had a pretty bad headache so I didn't push her very hard. I figured there wasn't any last minute schooling that I could do to make her any better. In fact, I figured riding her hard would only fry her and make her less willing to do well the next morning. So, our ride was short and sweet before putting her away for the night. Here's a few pics from Friday morning's In Hand & Body Conditioning event.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Extreme Mustang Makeover has started!

We are finally here and settled in! It was a long drive, and poor Jenny had to drive it all on her own. I was feeling particularly ill and kept falling asleep as soon as we started driving. Sorry Jenny! We got to the expo fairgrounds yesterday afternoon and unloaded horses, tack and feed. Then we bathed and clipped the horses. After that, we had an opportunity to play in the In-Hand course arena with some of the obstacles. Sangria was great, and after going over the bridge multiple times, I went ahead and saddled her up. She was just as great under saddle as she was on the ground. There is a ton of commotion going on at the fairgrounds; other horses, people setting up booths, etc. It's going to be a long weekend!

This morning is the first competition - the 'In-Hand' and 'Conditioning' courses. After the trainer meeting last night, I am hopeful that my 'fat' mare won't score too badly in the conditioning course! :) I have been surprised at some of the horses' conditions. It seems like there are alot of them that have ribs showing and their topline showing. It will be interesting to see how these horses place. I know mine is definitely pudgy, but I'd rather she look like that than skinny!

Here are a few pictures from yesterday - will try to post again tonight or tomorrow with updated results :) Thanks for all of the support everyone!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Almost time!

Wow, has it really been more than two weeks since my last post? I'm sorry for the lack of updates! I'm still working with Sangria daily (if possible). I am feeling really good with where she is at in her training - she's not as far along as I had hoped she would be for the competition, but with the obstacles we've faced, she's farther along than I expected the both of us to be. To be honest, our biggest block has been my fear of her since our accident. Every single time I step into the saddle, I am hit with a pretty major anxiety attack - what if she bucks, rears, bolts or worse? She hasn't acted the way she did back in April since that fateful day, but the images sure float through my mind when I get on. I wonder if that will ever go away? Luckily, it doesn't happen when I ride other horses! :)

Over the past two weeks, I've worked on continuing to build her solid foundation. We walk, trot and canter with ease now. I've been riding her with Cowgirl Spirit Rescue Drill Team a couple times a week. We've been to a competition where we faced a very dark arena, loud music and lots of people. We've been on lots of trail rides, been swimming in the river and have even gone back to the scene of the crime - the beach. I was able to walk, trot and canter along the waves. That was a huge milestone for us!

I've also had three other people ride Sangria, after a BLM inspector (who came out to verify Sangria was being properly cared for) asked if I felt Sangria was safe for other people to ride. I quickly realized that I needed to have others ride her. If anything, Sangria does better with a rider who doesn't have the baggage I have with her. While Sangria is solid and safe, she's also very dull and unresponsive. I don't know if this is just who she is (dead sided, not soft in the bit, etc), or if it's a result of my timidness with her, or a combination of both. Either way, I have started to ride her with more energy - demanding responsiveness right away.

Things that I am going to work on in the next week before we leave for Sacramento: quicker response times, correct leads and picking up a canter from a halt. We are able to side pass, haunch turn and fore turn, though they are slow and sluggish. She has an amazing stop on her, but I think that's primarily because she loves to stop working! LOL

Either way, I am proud of Sangria's and my progress. I don't think we will be competitive in Sacramento, but I have done my best with the situation we were dealt and couldn't be happier. She is going to make someone a very, very fine horse! Here are a few pictures over the last couple weeks!