Saturday, August 04, 2007

We had quite a landmark day! It was awesome. I entered Tonka in the trail competition, which was by no means extreme. We had to go for score only, no prize, because they didn't allow in-hand for any horse over 2 years old. Which I think is hooey. We did the in-hand simply because I wasn't sure how he'd handle a lot of the stuff.

Scoring - you start with 10 points for each obstacle and they can either deduct or add to that, so you can score anywhere from 0-20.

Let me give you a blow-by-blow :)

Saddling up

Stand in the "wait box" which is a rectangle of poles - 8 pts.

Gate - 12 points!

Drag Snake/log around 2 trees (corrugated plastic pipe that sounds weird against trees) - 7 points
He didn't care about the pipe, strangely enough, but was worried about the change in terrain after the second tree. It had been wet in the past and was all rough with tire tracks and looked like it might still be wet.

Wait box again - 6 points. Had trouble getting all feet in and keeping them there. I think he actually did better at this one than the first though...

Go by tent - 10 points (he had already gone by a tent when dragging the "log" - not an obstacle, just a camper on the edge of the course.)

Clean a fore and rear hoof - 5 points. He didn't stand still, I had to wait for him to stop swinging his hind end away. And apparently my hoof cleaning "style" is unsafe.

"Low branch" (strips of tarp) - 10. He didn't bat an eyelash!!! I thought he should have gotten extra points.

Turn on forehand around one stump, turn on haunches around another, making a figure 8. We did not do well on this one. He wanted to lick the first stump but turned well, and didn't understand very well at all on the second. We'd probably have done better under saddle where I could use my legs. 5 points. (I think we're backing up to the second stump in the picture)

Wait box - 10 (becoming a pro at this!)

Down hill over logs, back up hill over logs (he did GREAT with this one, I thought he might have a hard time backing up, but he did it well and straight.) 10 points

Dead end. Go to end of trail, put front feet across chalk line, do rollback without falling off the "cliff" (small drop off with railroad ties) 10 points! (no pic of this, and he did so well!)

Bridge - 7 points. He jumped off the side toward the end, so we turned right back around and did it again, much better and with no jumping off :)

Go through pack camp - llama with attitude! 10 points. He was cautiously watching the outhouse, not the llama, strangely enough. Good boy!

What I found offensive were some of the things they docked points for! I'm not sure this applied to in-hand, since it's considered a training exercise, but it did for under saddle. You lost points if you talked to or petted your horse. If you stood wrong or mounted wrong or rested your hands wrong. That's equitation crap, not trail. I guess in future I might want to be more serious with my horse, but for now I'm going to tell him "good boy" every chance I get. He knows what it means, and it makes him feel good. Maybe when we're more seasoned I can be more poised and serious.

This was nothing like the trail challenge Danni and I did in the spring. That one took HOURS, and was very challenging. This one was only about 10 minutes, if that. A bit longer for mounted riders, since they had to negotiate a slide down into a water pit.

We went on our first trail ride too! It was wonderful! Tonka was interested and happy, but very watchful. It was also John's first trail ride on Mack and he had a LOT of fun. So did Mack.

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