Monday, October 18, 2010

"Novice" ???

Well, we did go over to the Extreme Cowboy competition on Friday evening to see the novice rider class.  But it turned out that none of the novices were aging riders like ourselves.  Ha!  Now THERE'S an understatement!  The truth is, they were all under the age of 10! . . . a couple were only 3 or 4 years old!!  Talk about feeling absolutely ancient!  It really was fun to watch those little kids ride that obstacle course, though.  But I have to say, some of those horses sure were patient.  When a couple of those kids wanted their horses to back up or make a sharp turn, they would yank on those poor horses' mouths to a point that would have had my horses rearing up and throwing themselves over backward.  Felt really sorry for the poor things.  But most of those kids were pretty amazing riders.  And apparently these families are all horse people to the point that the parents don't see the need to make the kids wear helmets, either.  Note that NONE of them did! 

In the picture above he's about to back his horse around those cones.

And above is another kid backing around those cones (he's looking down and back and turning the horse clockwise).

The action in the picture above isn't a sliding stop like a reiner, but it was darned close!  That kid RACED into those cones and stopped exactly in the center.
Here two of the judges are following this boy from the cones over to the bridge.  (They stay close not just to judge, but to be sure a horse doesn't decide to flip out at some of those obstacles.)   But most of the kids didn't need their supervision.
Those kids actually kind of reminded me of a little girl I used to watch a couple years ago when I took a few lessons over at BREC.  I got there early a couple times and the class before mine was a jumping class.  Most of the students were teenagers, but one little girl couldn't have been more than 5 -- probably less -- (so young that the instructor had to point in the direction he wanted her to turn because she wasn't positive which was "left" and which was "right" !)  She was jumping a horse that had to be at least 17 hands tall over a jump that was more than 3 feet high with what looked to me to be absolutely perfect form.  It must have looked been pretty good to everyone else, too, because lots of the instructors would come over and watch her t0o.   It was amazing.

But at any rate, what we have decided to do (since there don't seem to be any other "grown-ups" who are beginners) is just set up a number of those obstacles at our own place.  We already have that shallow pond that we put in to collect water during "monsoon season."  That will make a fine "hill" for them to practice on.  We might even build in some of those steps made of railroad ties that they used in the competition on one side of the pond.   That 2-foot tree lying on the ground and the spaced out railroad ties would be even easier obstacles to install.  And heaven knows we will have LOTS of gates we can use to practice side-passing.  And Lori tells us that anyone can go out there and practice at those grounds, too, since most of the obstacles there are permanent.  (It used to be a motocross course until the present owner bought it and turned it into a place to ride horses.) 

Anyway, we went back on Saturday to see the "real" competition but didn't get there until about three riders from the end.  It was fun, though.  Then we went to lunch at Mike Anderson's.  All in all, a nice day.  Good thing, too, because I woke up Sunday coming down with a cold.  Shouldn't be surprised.  Jeanne (one of my bosses) was sick on Friday, as well as one of my friends, so I guess it's just going around at the moment.  Glad Mark is home so I didn't have to get out of bed on Sunday.  And I didn't either.  I think it was about 3 in the afternoon before I got up!  But I thought I better do what I could to get over it since I'm out of vacation time.  (Couple of earlier flu spells and a couple trips to Ohio when Dad was sick last winter ate it all up.)

Joyce was scheduled to come clean today, but the house is such a disaster that she wouldn't even have been able to find the floors, so I cancelled and asked her to come in two weeks.  Hopefully, I will have managed to shovel the place out by then.


[Where, where, where did Wendy get her penchant for pristine housekeeping??  It certainly wasn't from me!]

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