Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Trials on the Trails!

Woo hoo...that was one long and hot day of Trail Trials last wkend!
I know My mare hates to ride alone in the trailer and weaves fiercely- as we travel...I can feel the truck being rocked to and fro, when she does it. So I enlisted the help of "Daily Calm" it is a Springtime Inc. Natural Product- to help soothe nerves and make transitions easier for the horse to handle...
basically= A horsey downer!

I dosed her up the night before and some the morning of...and man! She was very smooth and calm handling and riding in the trailer..on the freeway for an hour and 1/2~ I do think it caused some memory loss though..she seemed a bit out of order...she normally pees upon my arrival...seemingly to ready herself for a ride!
She did fact, she did not urinate the entire time- all day...which made the ride home like a child in the car that really had-to-go! Yea, the ride home was her pushing the truck most of the way..I felt badly to  for her.. knowing she would not go in the trailer...she never has. And you should have seen the river that came out of her when we did get home to the bedded bliss of her stall!!! No splashing.

Okay, here is the disappointment for me and you both...I felt it was unfair to take photo's knowing there were 10 folks participating in the T.T. behind me. I did have the camera with me on the saddle...and MAN-Ooulala! Theses lands were so pretty..and the farm equipment and the outbuildings and such...I have never seen the like. NEXT year....I am going to be dead I may take some photo's!

So, there were 4 rows of trailers...some spots were vacated and then refilled by the time I was ready to ride... hence, the 10 riders behind me! I bet they had over 100 riders altogether that day! Someone said they hold this event there every year. I imagine it was a joint offering of lands of 4-5 had creeks and bridges and such cool outbuildings..some looked to be little rental cottages and some of the barns were fabulous.

I will list all the Obstacles...and how we did under. I wanted the "Schooling Ride" but they told me that it was not offered...maybe because of the volume of riders...they got finished after  5 pm as it was.
1) Steep downhill
I am sure we got a 0 (no points against us) on this one. The mare felt slighted somewhat...that she had to go downhill...but she did it!

2)Mudd Bog
 This one was a glorified muddy tractor rut...and it would have been fine...but it was next to a New Zealand Wire Fence...and you can hear those..I am sure my mare felt it too! There was NO-WAY she was getting closer to it and going through the mudd!
It made me upset that  I asked something unfair of her.

3) Creek
I could tell she was on sensory override...she actually balked at this creek...and it was shallow and no rocks. We could see the horse ahead...way above us, on the hill, and she kept looking up to them.
I seriously think, if I had the time to allow her to look around, and go around the chosen obstacle a bit...instead of heading right for the obstacle...the times would have been very different.
She did comply, eventually so. I decided to apply for the " one step at a time " routine..asking her to halt after each step, then praising her accordingly so..and it became redundant for her and  finally, she walked right in as we neared the creekbed.

4) Steep uphill climb
No problem, she and I used our butt muscles, me standing up and forward, she powering up the hill!

5) Gate 
NOW THIS WAS THE ONE...obstacle, I thought we'd fail on...she hates to slow down the do minute movements, while I am leaning....well>> it was an excellent gate.
TALL and with a rope to simply lift over the post. It also was level. She complied with my sidestep right...2 step forward, turn on the forehand, 2 step forward again, and sidestep right again, to loop the rope back over the post!
 Wa rock!

6)Railroad tie sidepass

To me, this was another unfair obstacle.
It was a 4 foot piece of railroad  rails...metal rails and all...set into the ground and the ground fell away on the right side...we were to sidepass the entire length...well, she gave it a go...but kept slipping off behind and I finally said.."I am done asking her for this one". The judge said everyone had a problem with it".

7)Windmill + hoolahoop

This was a working windmill! Gorgeous thing of beauty!
Wa mare did not notice the mills hovering/rotating above her at all...making the creaking noises they make as the wind turns them this way and that.
She was en-rapt with the "flag banners" flapping in the same the base!!!
We were to go to the base and pick up the Hoola Hoop and then walk it over to an item to place it over...
This was timed...and we timed out...right before I could get to the Hoola Hoop!
Oh well!
I must add here....the obstacles were really nicely spread apart...I rode quietly through trails and wooded areas,  some huge fields too, following flag markers like the ones I place for myself to get home when I go out. It was truly scenic and lovely to ride these folks farmlands in WOODLAND WASHINGTON.
8) Breadbasket + stair stepping

We rocked with this one!
Grab a basket from a post top...ride with one hand up a set of 5 stairs set in the you go, drop bread crumbs/from basket in your other hand, on the steps... continue up to a cottage and go around it, then come back down the steps and replace the basket to the post top.

Again, the mare and me rocked on this one!

9) Metal Grate step

this little metal grate was only 2 feet my mares eye..something to simply step over, and move along little doggie!
I got her to touch it once with a front hoof...but they wanted 2 hooves to touch it.
Another-oh well-

10) Tetter Totter ramp

This ramp was a bit narrow for the mare...she did get on it with the fronts moved and she stepped off..I tried several times before, I could tell she was getting fried with it all!

11) Water trot + embankment drop
Having to quit some previous obstacles...I feared something was occurring now in the mare's mind-
We took the cup of water...trotted slowly so towards and embankment...we were to either trot over it and or walk on down over it, hand the water to the judge.
She got to it..and truly...her brain was so fried..she litterally turn her little head and placed her nose on my if asking to be released form some terrible trouble. I asked once more and she tossed her head up ...THAT she has NEVER done before.
The sympathetic gal and I said..not worth it...she was over stimulated to follow through !

12) Beheading the poles with a bat

Wa mare simply and easily allowed me to pole bend through the 5- 7 foot poles and hit the rubber human heads off each, as we passed...then we placed the rubberized bat in a sleeve on a tree= we completed the task and left smiling!

13) 3 sided enclosure with ribbon and bucket drop

Now this looked so ominous to me...the mare shocked and surprised me with her willingness to seemingly...walk into something that was clearly...a hole and dead end!
WOW...she balked slightly...then I did the "ONE STEP AT A TIME " routine again...she walked straight into the 10X10 3 sided enclosure...stopped, sidestepped to the left. I plucked a ribbon from a fake princesses head. We backed  straight out- and I plunked the ribbon into a bucket.
YEA! We did it!  
The judge commended us for "our steady persistence" till we completed the task. Me cooing -with a step forward and growling -for one back!

14)Downed tree stumps and ravine
Again..this very deep woods shady obstacle..made my mare nervous...she totally refused to go through the Stumps to a rather hole drop off looking ravine.
We were to go into the ravine/turn left/ back up the entire length of the ravine lined with 2 downed LARGE tree trunks/ about 20 feet. And there was a jog at the end of 4 feet left then right..all at back up.
But then...the judge said, you may step over the large tree trunk and comply that way...Okay!!!
We did it..she was excellent backing the entire thing and never stepped out!

15)Bridge crossing
This was more a human bridge...and she new was narrow and the rails were as tall as she was...boards gave way and bent as we stepped on...she refused!
I was allowed to dismount and cross...tarring 10 seconds -counted out loud- in the middle.
I got her to come across...but when i looked back to tell her to stop...she was COMING FAST!
I abandoned standing in front of her and got across myself, as she whooshed over it too!

16) Dark barn corner with Geese and goats
It was HOT outside..and all these obstacles had taken us about 2 hours...yea, hard to tell reading about it= that the land we covered was pretty vast!

She was a pretty fried little Thoroughbred!!!! I heard about 5 judges on the radio saying..."there is a BIG BAY Horse coming your way!" TO THE NEXT JUDGE. Ha ha!
She is really not big...but big presence!
The barn with white geese ,a flapping their  wings...was a bit overwhelming for Washashe the third -straight legged-snort..I yelled up to the judges..."for safety sake..the mare and I are forgoing this one!"
The mare and her official number-retired- and she enjoyed some fresh hay, in her safe stall!

Now..I have some complaining  to do...but, will end the post now...and fill you in later..

All in all, I am so proud of the mare...but next time...No TRIALS FOR US..unless we may train during it!


  1. Wow! What an adventure! Kate did a trail "challenge" last summer near the Tri-Cities (eastern WA) but I don't think there were any obstacles QUITE so weird as beheading poles! (Tho they did have one of those pool-noodle "car washes"--not very natural to me!)
    It sounds like you got a little discouraged. I'm proud of you and WA for making the effort. You can't possibly practice ALL of the strange obstacles folks might come up with. It's more about setting a good foundation of physical skills and cues, and TRUST between you and your horse--to at least "give it a go" (as we say in kindergarten). And that's what you did. And you were able to explore the whole idea and what you still might want to work on.
    Good for you both for "giving it a go!"

  2. So many challenges...and you and she were smart enough to know which to take on and which to accidents...just wins all round...great job...

  3. Wow, I'm really impressed. I'm a little nervous about Scout movng cows for the first time this weekend. And you're out taking heads off and all kinds of strangeness!
    You rock!

  4. Wow, you two are truly an amazing team. There's no way that my hothead and I could have done half of those obstacles. Very inspiring, thanks!

  5. OH EM GEE

    Sissy;s brain would be FRIED for sure!

    She would have popped a cork!

    Congrats n getting through it in one piece!

  6. You read your horse so well, what a tremendous accomplishment!

  7. Wow, Kacy that sounds like a tough test to me! But sounds like you and Wa mare did pretty well anyway. I have no idea what Gilly would think of all that, he might do it and then he might not. One can never tell, but first he would have to get in a trailer to go somewhere! LOL

  8. Sounds like a lot of fun! Between you and Lisa over at Laughing Orca I'm really getting inspired to try these rides out.

  9. OH AND...I DID IT ALL BITLESS! Yea Wa mare!!!

  10. Wow Kacy!!! What a great accomplishment even if Wa balked or was unsettled. You still finished the entire thing. Now you know what to train for so that next time she'll be even better.

    And.. Daily Calm it's TERRIFIC!

  11. Gosh - I got a little nervous just reading about these challenges. I felt like Washashe was not only protecting herself but perhaps you! Well, it was an adventure - you were both very brave!

  12. Yeah did it!! So proud of you...

  13. Great first trials ride! I have been wanting to do this, it sounds pretty intense! And holy cow a lot of people! Just goes to say that we need more trials around here!

    Would you do it again?
    OH I will wait for that until I read your complaint! LOL

  14. Oh my goodness! Why 16 obstacles? And everyone had to do them withyin 2 hours? How many miles did you ride, too?

    I'm so grateful that the ACTHA rides aqre never more than 6 obstacles and never more than 10 miles.
    I think the obstacles are very fun to do with a horse, especially if you practice beforehand, because the horse shows such confidence and seems to want to show off what they've been taught.

    But I would never want to do 16 obstacles all during one ride. No wonder poor Wa was fried...and you, too.

    I think I'll be sticking with the ACTHA rides myself. Whew. I think I need to go lie down and have a nap.



  15. Oh! But I forgot to say....You did it! Yay Kacy and Yay Wa!!! I'm proud of you!


  16. Your mare is sooo lucky to have you as her friend. There were a couple of obstacles you wrote about where I thought: WHAT? She did that? So very well done to you both. I'm inspired to do some of these 'games' myself with Naloma. Good to keep her mind excercised too. Think I'll try the gate one first. She likes stepping to the side and back and forth, so we'll probably manage that. That will be about the only thing we'll manage, haha.

  17. this beheading thing is familiar...

    oh yes. in 2005 i entered an SCA horsey event (medieval re-enactment) where i had to wield a sword! good thing it was only a wooden sword for beginners. so here i am in this dress (really!) on my horse and i have to weave thru these poles and cut the head off each pole. they were mannequin heads - they were looking at me!

    first i did it at a walk to see if i could manage to hit them, and then a trot. i remember they were really strict with people that we not hit our horses with the sword cuz it's really easy to whap your horse in the head.

    however, i've since forgotten that technique: )

    good for you and wa that you handled those complicated obstacles so well! i'm impressed!


  18. Kacy! I was on the edge of my chair reading about each obstacle. The poor sweet Wa mare - she is the very best ever!!!! I know you will kiss her up and praise her for being so good. What a crazy event this is. You are so brave and so is your mare.

  19. Forgot to ask how the Easywalker shoes are doing?
    GREAT that you did it bitless!!! Awesome! You and Wa rock!!!! Give that beautiful bay mare a hug for me!!!
    Gilly sends smooches too!

  20. Kac-That sounds like SO much FUN, I wish I could have come with you.
    Jackson surprises me sometimes with the brave things he will do, and sometimes he will be the leader in doing them! Last summer I got him to walk up onto the porch (tiny) of a house with me on his back, and then be the leader going into a giant shadowy deserted barn--that one even had me like wha? But he'll just forge on ahead. Other things like gates (which are never the easy one you described, here in Texas, they are usually rigged with wire, impossible latches, or don't move and have to be drug, something!:) we haven't quite mastered yet. I know it is more me than him, and I haven't worked much on them either. We do have wonderful horses, I am so MAD I wasn't up there to go on that with you, and ESPECIALLY that you weren't able to get pics. Of course, understandable. I'm going to send this post to my friend who is setting up obstacles at a trail event this fall, and is looking for ideas...if she has any questions she may post on here to ask you. Her name is Linda. Sadly, I think I may be in Florida and miss the fun. :( I love trails!!Give Wa a nicker and a carrot from Jacks and I!

  21. WOW-16 obstacles for your ride?! My trail trial included 10 obstacles over 5 miles. It did take us 2 1/2 hours, but I hate to admit that that was mainly because after Daisy took off with me, I insisted on trotting, at most, the rest of the ride...haha. I'm sorry your experience wasn't that great :-/


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