Hi everyone! Sorry it's taken me so long to get this last post up! It seems like life has gotten carried away since I got home from the finals. However, I wrote this update a long time ago - just never had a chance to post it. So, here ya go!
Holy cow! Sangria and I scored 8th in the Riding Course earlier in the day, which qualified us for the Top 10 Finals competition that evening in front of 5,000 people! We were most definitely not prepared for this! I didn't have music picked out, I didn't have any idea of what to do once in the arena, other than our required maneuvers. But I had to think of something and quick! The evening show was starting in just a couple hours!
In the end, I decided to play it safe, and I'm glad I did! By the time Sangria and I got in the arena, it was dusk out and the bright arena lights made the arena a forbidding place, not to mention all the people in the stands! I can only imagine what she felt, as I had stage fright myself!
The required maneuvers for this competition freestyle were: walk, trot, canter or lope, lead change, halt, back up and spin in both directions. We were allowed to use props and artistic style but since I hadn't prepared for this, I only had the Cowgirl Spirit team flag and the ball. I also took advantage of the offered cow to use, knowing that it could end in disaster since Sangria had never chased cows before. Maybe that isn't playing it safe! LOL
All in all, we did ok. Our ride could have been cleaner as we were both tired and nervous, but given everything she had been through in the past three days, I thought she was a superstar! We entered the arena at a walk carrying the flag. Halfway down the rail, we attempted to sidepass to the right and the set the flag down. This wasn't particularly pretty or graceful as we were riding one handed, but we got it accomplished. We then went through our required maneuvers. She spooked at our ball that was in the center of the arena, so our 'lead change' was sloppy.
Once we had completed our required maneuvers, we chased the ball around for a minute or two which seemed like a crowd pleaser. Then it was time for our cow! Oh boy! As soon as Sangria saw it, she perked up but hesitated.
As soon as I pushed her towards the cow, it started moving away from us. This is when Sangria transformed! She immediately dove after the cow, ears pinned! I was actually worried she might hurt the cow and had to keep her back a bit! I was having so much fun, I actually forgot about the crowd! I just wanted to chase cows all night! Why hadn't I done that with her before!? :)
All in all, I was thrilled with her performance, even though we didn't get great scores. In the Finals competition, we ended up placing 8th out of the Top 11 (yes, there were 11 in the finals since only a half point separated the 10th and 11th place contestants).
When it came time for the auction, Sangria was one of the highest purchased horses, I think. She went to a lovely family who I am sure loves her as much as I do! Congratulations to Sangria and her new family!
This has been a wonderful experience and I'd love to participate again. I am very pleased with the BLM and the Mustang Heritage Foundation for all that they are doing for the wild mustangs. Special thanks goes to my wonderful boyfriend for his amazing support during this hectic weekend!
Here's a few photos of the final's competition from professional photographer, © Charles E. Brooks/BROOKS/ Photography/2009.
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