Monday, June 1, 2009

LIberty wins Indian Territory


Liberty took his first blue ribbon in novice heavyweight horse at the NATRC Indian Territory ride Memorial Day weekend in OK. I was shocked, amazed and terribly pleased. There were 10 novice heavyweight horses to start and while I knew we hadn't had any huge mistakes, I didn't realize we were really doing that well. He had great P&R's, even after the really hard trot up a rocky hill and he is getting more patient at obstacle work. It made me realize that we are making training progress and that the 2nd placings at Pole Canyon wasn't necessarily a fluke. I just swelled with pride at my little horse.

The ride was amazing. Indian Territory has always been one of my favorite places to ride. I already blogged about Saturday and have just been so busy I haven't gotten around to blogging about Sunday.

The obstacles Sunday started with a trot by and we were required to trot on the gravel. My horse is barefoot and this is a rocky ride, but he came through with no problems. I had started to boot him on Saturday, but since I have never really ridden him in boots and didn't know if they would stay on, I didn't want to risk losing a brand new pair of boots or making his feet sore from a rubbing heal strap. The first obstacle was the horsemanship judge hiding on the power line. The second obstacle was a transition, which he did fine, but I failed miserably by being off balance. It was great though b/c I knew exactly how I'd done it wrong and the cards just confirmed it. It's great to finally be finding some self awareness. We had to sidepass in hand, which he did really well considering I had never practiced it without a stick and he had a sidepass in the saddle which was more of a backwards, forward, wiggly movement than a true sidepass. But, my silver lining is that he stood still for me to pin a ribbon on a tree and he moved into an object in a sort of sideways motion...something he has previously not been willing to do.

Some of the ironies I found to be that when we lost points for backing, it wasn't b/c he backed too quickly (like we lost points at pole canyong) it was for not being quite straight. Our vet judge does her back judging differently than most of the vets and that was troublesome to me. As an aside, we need vet judges very badly, so I will learn her system and play her game just like we figure out everyone else's systems, but I confess to not liking it much. She judges the backs by 1, 2, 3, etc. He was a 1 at check in and a 2 at checkout the first day. She said that he not sore, but his back was tight, and we lost a point. I confess to being bothered that I lost a point for being stiff, but not sore. We were climbing hills. Heck, I was stiff too. The second day he went back down to a one...but of course, you don't get the point you lost back. The flip side is that if she judges everyone consistently, it shouldn't be a big deal. It's just different.

Liberty is really settling into being a mature horse. He's showing a willingness to listen and I think he's beginning to enjoy our partnership. This summer, my new challenge will be city riding. That should make riding real trails a piece of cake.
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