My Baby Made Me Proud

Drew and Aragorn attended a Working Horse Central clinic today with Tarrin. Clinics are always fun because you learn so much from the other students. I’m now glad Apache couldn’t come, because Drew and I learned so much and he was just amazing.

That’s right, I have a clue. A Drew’s clue.

Everything worked out so well! Aragorn was able to canter and do all the new things he was asked to do, even though he’d thrown his therapeutic shoe. I was very proud of him and Sara.

We lucked out and the weather was cool-ish and cloudy for the first two groups in the clinic. We missed most of the first group due to not wanting to leave that early, but we did get to chat with people we’d met before, plus got to meet interesting new folks.

Drew is watching the dremel tool in action, as Julie worked on Aragorn’s shoe

I really enjoyed the second group, because they were doing things I’d never done before, and I could watch and learn from them. They did backing up zig zags, which I now think I could do, walking over a tire, which some horses did NOT like. Both gave me a good insight into how to gently teach new skills. Every single horse made it over the scary tire! Here are some photos of the cool people and their horses in the second group.

Our group was me, Sara, and the woman with the gray Arabian mare we’d met before. By that time, the sun was out, so I was glad for my fancy sun shirt. I was worried that there wouldn’t be much Drew could do in hand. Was I ever wrong!

First we practiced our dressage stuff, and I learned a better way to back him straight, plus we did our circles great. Ha! He got annoyed at me for keeping him out of my space and tried to nip back. That got shut down. I think our next show will me much better.

Then we did obstacles, most of which we’d never tried. That was so much fun. The zig zag backing up was cool because I was supposed to do it from outside the obstacle. We figured it out!

There was a jump, which I had to do from outside the jump, then at a canter. He did so well. We both were confident. I smiled and smiled. And I got Drew to do a zig zag side pass without using a dressage whip to guide him. He turned on the forehand! He turned the other way. He got applause. It wasn’t great but he DID it.

No photos of all this, so here’s my new bougainvillea.

The best one, though, was the dreaded tractor tire filled with sand, which they had to approach straight and then go through. I was surprised that it was so hard for the horse and rider pairs but learned so much watching them work through it. Patience worked! Even horses who were spooked by it got through.

And here’s a dragonfly I saw while waiting our turn.

As for Drew, I’d already walked him over it twice when we were warming up, so Tarrin said I had to do it on the long rope. To my surprise, he went over it repeatedly at a trot in both directions with me just directing him a bit. Everyone praised my rope handling and how I followed him. Holy cow! I’ve really gotten better with all that practice. I used to be so bad at this! I was so proud of both him and me. We are becoming a real team. Drew really seemed to have fun. What a guy.

After the clinic I got to watch Tarrin make a new hoof treatment device for Aragorn. It is very complicated and involves flames, mixing glue compound, molding, and hotness. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but Aragorn seemed happy. He really liked a cushion thing he was putting his feet on. It looked very comfy.

And I got to hang out in the pool with Lee later!

We were tired people and horses when we got home, but so happy. I had two wonderful horse days in a row. Wooo.

Drew and Sully Do a Show

Today Sara and I took Drew and Sully, the mare she is training while waiting for her to get pregnant, over to Tarrin’s to film the obstacles test for the Q2 Working Horse Central show. We were ready for fun!

In our horse show outfits.

It went pretty well, other than Sara’s first video failing. Luckily Sully did just as well the second time. She’s learned so quickly! And it’s beautiful to watch her trot.

They are friends now that they’ve trailered together. Before, Sully wanted to eat Drew.

Drew did okay. He started out refusing to do the figure 8, which confused me, because he hardly ever refuses to walk with me. Then he got better until he fell down heading into the slalom! I did the right thing by checking on him.

Oops. Dramatic film footage.

It got better after that and he did fine on the other parts. Tarrin said his jump was beautiful. That made up for the other parts.

That’s my boy.

It was a good experience except I got all upset with myself for not leading Drew well enough and that he fell. Normally I’d be fine but you know, it’s been a hard week.

I’m proud of what we can do, since we’re both rank beginners.

Also, since I get overheated so easily, I gave up trying to do a second take. It’s just like an in-person show, you lead the horse that showed up and accept the performance. Tomorrow we do the Functionality test. Maybe this time we will do better on that! If not, we will learn things and know what else to work on.

Here is the raw footage. Six minutes of our lives.

Back at home we are all happy and eating dinner. Life’s good if you are one of our horses!

Dinner time.

Lots got done here, too. Both the Hen House and the Suna Shack got latches to hold the doors open, and lots got done of the living space for Lee’s brother (no photos yet).

Drew Gives a Belated Birthday Gift

Drew is a young horse, so he has his moments. He can be pushy and disinclined to pay attention. And he’s had a couple of challenges with his health and scary trucks. But, this morning he had his turn to give me a birthday present.

Show time!

We went over to Sara’s new dressage arena area again today. The first two times we went to practice at her location were not too great. I did a few things to help out this time.

First, we walked through the pasture rather than over by the cabin. That way, even if a loud truck went right by him it would be further away. I also made sure to warm him up in the round pen with a lot of cantering before we headed over.

He still doesn’t like the tree corridor but did better today. Apache also always disliked that area, even before the trees. I think the electric poles bother them.

After the scary trees came green grass!

It was time to do the second part of our Working Horse Central Spring Virtual Show. It was really windy as usual, but my hat blowing off in our practice pattern didn’t phase him. We did our Functionality test in one try. It had its flaws, but he didn’t run me off the course or refuse to walk like he did last time, and he trotted most of the time he was supposed to trot. He backed up crooked, though. Still, we did it!

Sara and Aragorn did great, too. It sure is nice having her Peavo to video us.

When we got done and I was getting out of my fancy boots, Sara tried an experiment of ponying Drew behind Aragorn. It went pretty well! Once I clicked to tell Drew to move, he followed. They even went through some obstacles.

The idea is that Sara could ride over here and then I could ride Apache and she could pony Drew so we could all three practice. I think we would need a hitching post or something for the inactive horse, but it could work

I did a video!

She is going to do stuff with Sully, the beautiful mare she’s borrowing to have her colt. So that would be another horse friend to hang out with.

Now I plan to rest a bit and have a belated birthday meal this evening with my patient husband. A fine weekend!

Can Horses Give Birthday Presents?

Horses don’t know about calendars or birthdays, though I guess they are aware of seasons. But I’m going to choose to believe they can give gifts! So, thanks to Apache, my American horse, for the gift today!

Seconds earlier, he was trying to taste the flag. Guess that doesn’t spook him!

My birthday gift to myself this year was a Working Horse Central clinic, which happened to be at Tarrin the trainer’s place, quite familiar to my guys. I decided to take Apache, to see how much he’s improved. By the way, a clinic is like a group lesson, where you get to see how others are doing. You can learn so much.

Apache paid careful attention.

We went with Sara and Aragorn, which made the day that much more fun, and Trixie also added to the birthday friend fun with her very lively little stallion, Archie.

The sun shining on my friends!

The clinic was fantastic. We learned a lot from the advanced people, who included a young girl who’s also a trick rider. It was fun seeing how the cantering crowd had stuff to learn, just like us.

Practice with the dreaded pole.

Our group had a very young woman, too. I was so impressed with how much she wanted to learn, even when her horse gave her trouble. She just got on another horse and kept trying.

I missed the dang birds.

She was a great role model for not giving up. My favorite thing that happened with her was that I heard a familiar noise in the sky. It was the Sandhill cranes migrating. I told her to look up. It was such a tender moment to introduce a child to this Texas wonder. She was enthralled. For many reasons, she won’t forget today!

I won’t forget this hay.

Well, you don’t need the details, but I was so happy with how well Apache and I did with all these new things! We learned to try trotting. We will score better. And I learned he backs up well.

Having a great birthday.

We learned so much from everyone else, and from what we tried and realized we could do. There was a lot of trotting. It went well and I got better and better, but I sure hurt now.

I was really tired, too. So much trotting.

I’d forgotten how well Apache does in clinics. He is like a learning sponge. And he was so patient waiting for his turn. He was calm and didn’t do one squirrelly thing. Nothing the other horses did phased him, even when a horse rolled onto its rider. I was so proud. What a great birthday gift.

Patiently waiting. All these guys were so good.

I can’t believe we did so well at things we’d never tried before. This sure makes up for Drew just not wanting to do anything yesterday. If he messes up tomorrow, so what? We will just keep learning. That’s the fun part.

Yee haw! It looks like I’m pulling on him, because I’m trying to get him to look at Sara.

I hope that Drew learns to enjoy clinics and shows like Apache does. In any case, my horse gave me a good birthday. No need to worry about people, parties, or presents. Perfect.

I’m an Equestrian?

Yesterday was a big day for me and Drew. We have been in our first horse show and survived. I guess it was our first half horse show, since we still have another event to do, but this one was challenging to say the least. I had a lot of support from Sara and Tarrin in my endeavor, but hey, Drew and I did it! We even looked pretty good for a stooped old woman and a young gelding.

Competing hard! All images are from the video taken on Sara’s camera, because who had time to take pictures while everything was going on?

It was a most excellent day, I must say, for both me and Sara, and there was just one little glitch on her cool camera that can follow a horse around, which impressed the heck out of me!

Yes, it is true. I ran the whole thing. Whoever said horse stuff wasn’t exercise was being silly.

Sara did two events, Trail and Agility (Agility is Trail only fast). I did Trail. Since I was doing “in hand” my Trail wasn’t as hard as hers was. Tarrin ran around and set up the course for each of us and tried to keep things from falling down, especially the object we were supposed to knock off a pole and the “slicker,” which is a jacket you have to put on and take off without spooking your horse.

We were all impressed with both horses. Aragorn was a real trooper, because he had to do one thing twice. But, what a guy! He was especially pretty on his double slalom, in my opinion. I think Sara was pleased overall.

That is a happy face!

I went through my course once, just to be sure I knew where to enter and exit, then we did it for real. I was so happy with how Drew did! He only had trouble with the side pass maneuver, and even then he got it on the second try. I was thrilled at how well he did going over the brush. It probably helped that he was familiar with the hill. He bumped into me a couple of times, and slowed from the trot once or twice, but all in all, he did super for his first time.

I’ve got this brush thing down!

And I did super for my first time (according to my audience). That was a lot of jogging. I looked rather overly serious, and my posture sucked. But, it’s something to work on! I look forward to the judging results to see what areas we have for improvement. That’s the best thing about Working Horse Central shows: they are educational and focus on ways the human and horse can improve their performance based on soundness and kindness. If you are looking to become a better partner to your horse and develop skills you will use every day, check them out!

This is so cute. He “rang the bell” himself, then backed out fine. Apache is over there supervising.

Now I have a baseline to improve on, and I know all the things I do with Drew this year from the ground will make starting out in the saddle with shows a lot easier. Yay for us all. Sara and I still have to do our Functionality tests, which we will do once Tarrin takes down the obstacles and restores the dressage arena area. I think we should do well on that one if I remember the order of the steps. I may have Sara call them, or not. It’s not too hard. Here are a few more pictures of our progress.

Anyone who really cares can watch this YouTube video. Thanks to Sara for filming.

I am very proud of this little boy, his trainer, and even me.
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