Sunday, September 30, 2007

Since I have little of interest going on here today, let me tell you more about the clinic. It was okay. Really, it was fun, but it was more of a group trail ride with some obstacles than a clinic. I guess I wasn't on the ball enough, but the clinician always seemed to be somewhere else. I got a distinct feeling that she either didn't like me or didn't like my horse, but maybe I'm being too sensitive.

The weather was HORRIBLE. Very cold, raining, and windy. It wasn't too bad at first but by the time we got up to where we were supposed to work on obstacles, I was shivering, my hands were stiff, I was getting grumpy, and I wanted to be done.

Oh, but lets start at the beginning. We stood around for a while, then rode off to practice water crossing. There were many types of spots available to try out. Wide shallow water across the road, narrow shallow & boggy on the edges, narrow and deep, or just plain scary. We crossed the water over the road several times, and then tried some of the narrow crossings with the boggy edges. He didn't like to step in the mooshy stuf that his hoof sunk into. He did eventually cross there twice. I think our delay there was caused by ME, because all those riders chaotically crossing this way and that, with horses jumping out, scared me. I didn't want to get run over. The noise of all the splashing and unpredictability of movement were stressing me out. One horse went through the deep boggy part and I didn't see what happened but he came out with his head covered in mud, trying to get it out of his ears and nostrils. Poor horse. Luckily he and his rider are a phenomenal team and I don't think he held it against her.

Onward up and out of the canyon we went, supposedly for about 3 miles or so, but it didn't seem that long. When we got to the top one rider went up a wooden ramp set into the hillside, which was obviously there as an obstacle, but was really wet and slick, and her mount scrambled and fell.

I got off for a little walking break, had a granola bar, (which Tonka didn't want a bite of, he must not like chocolate), and then walked him over the bridge and some other stuff. Then got on and rode over the poles, pivoted in the box, crossed the bridge and this other thing that was like a bridge, side-passed over some other poles, checked out the "cowboy curtain" (shredded tarp) which was blowing very actively. He wasn't too worried, but was skeptical. A really nice lady helped us with it, rubbing his face with the ribbons and holding it so that there was a gap we could squeeze through. He was a good boy! (Terrified of any old tires we happened to pass though.)

We stood and watched people doing the muddy water in the tarp obstacle. Then we went up and crossed the dirt over the tarp, but I didn't ask him to step into the water, and when we were ready to try that the line had gotten long and people were just kind of going over and over again, pell-mell, which is fine, they really needed to work on it, and I was happy with our progress.

I took him into the barn where all the horses could be tied in a row in front of the manger, and tied him up and went in for lunch. I was a little worried about leaving him there, but he settled right in and started chowing down. Lunch was very good, and it was WARM. Took me quite a while to get warmed up, and then I got sleepy.

I think I was the first person down to the barn after lunch. One horse had broken its tie but that end of the barn was enclosed so he couldn't go anywhere. As I got around to where Tonka was, I found two horses standing outside tied to a heavy beam. Looked just like what I'd tied Tonka to, but it was on the ground, outside. I thought "That's a weird way to tie a horse..." Then realized they'd pulled it loose and run out of the barn with it. Past Tonka and at least 3 other horses. (My power went out, THANK YOU to Blogger for its auto-save function. I thought I lost all the previous, but it was still here.) The horses were fine, except for some scrapes on one. I stood with them until their owners came, and they were very sweet. The horses, not the owners. Not that they weren't nice too.

We headed back down the trail. Tonka and Cowboy, my brother-in-law's horse, were being TERRIBLE. In a huge hurry, not listening, and for a second I thought Tonka might drop off the hillside. I got him in check, but he hurried down the hill, needing a lot of nagging to keep him slowed down, and was like riding a jackhammer. My nether regions were not happy. By the time we got halfway to the bottom they were themselves again. I have to wonder if the alfalfa they got for lunch made them act like kids with too much candy. Or maybe the chaos in the barn had them all riled up. Could be they were just happy it'd stopped raining.

At the bottom we found a waterhole and Tonka and Levi were happy to have a nice long drink. When we got back to the trailer we practiced water crossing a bit more and then loaded up and headed home. It was a good day, and I was really proud of my horse.

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