Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Brushy Creek CTR 2010

September 17-19, 2010

We had a fantastic time at the Brushy Creek CTR. I rode with Diane, and her KY Mountain Horse and Savannah, my TWH, were well matched. Even though it rained Saturday, and was cool and drizzly on Sunday, both horses did well.

We were sweating Friday when we pulled in at 1pm, unloaded, and checked in. I had met Diane at a gas station about ½ hour from Brushy Creek. After checking in the horses, we had to get a weight card. We tacked up our horses, headed back up to check in, and we had to be weighed while holding our saddle, bridle, breast collar, saddle bags, and helmet. We rode late Friday afternoon for about an hour. The horses could stretch their legs, relax, and see some of the terrain.

The ride management fixed all of our meals, and they were delicious! It was great to get done with the ride, and be able to sit down to a hot meal and coffee, already cooked for us. Thank you, Iowa Trail Riders!
We were freezing by Saturday morning! It started thundering before 4 am and poured until just before 6. I got up in the dark and fed the horse, and then management said to come to a meeting at 7, since we couldn't ride where we were going to. Luckily, they have great all-terrain trails here. The rain had stopped, but there was the wind and dampness to endure.

We only rode 15 miles Saturday. We were on the horses for about ½ hour before we clocked out. The ride only took 4 hours with gaited horses! lol, and we had to make them walk slow the last 2 miles. We only had drizzles during the ride, BUT, after eating lunch, when it was time to bring the horses to the vet judge, it poured on us! I was so glad to get back inside the trailer by 3 pm and change into dry clothes. Savannah did great today, as well as Diane's Jordan. The 2 horses were well matched and got along. Diane and I sat inside my trailer after the vet check, warmed up, and had a great visit. I was planning on reading my Centered Riding 2 book, but only got a couple of pages read.

I had to call the farrier who was on call for the CTR. Savannah pulled a shoe in the only wet spot we had - a water crossing, where she sunk into a little mud! Arghhh - the shoes were only on a new reset for 5 days. The farrier came a little after 6 and replaced the shoe. Too many fine stones here to go barefoot.

Savannah did awesome at the obstacles on Saturday. She stood well for a judged mount, using the terrain to help you mount, we had to open and go through a gate, and were judged on a steep decline. Savannah does not trot with me "in hand" - something I should have taught her by now, and I have to work on that. And the other trot in hand that everyone had to do was to trot a figure 8 with your horse, but stay to the inside. That means, circle left, when you are normally to the inside of your circle, then stop your horse after completing the first circle, go to the off side of your horse, and trot your horse on a circle to the right, so that you stay to the inside of the circle. A lot of horses have trouble with that. I lead my horses from the off side, but I don't trot them from that side - I only trot the lesson horses from that side when I am in a hurry to get them to the barn and I have one on each side of me.

It started thundering before 8 Saturday night, and then it POURED all evening. I went to bed Saturday night listening to the thunder. Please pray it stops. I don't like riding in the downpour. I was sure hoping that it would stop before morning! I don't think it even got to 50 today. How can we sweat one day, freeze the next day, be wet, and then the forecast is for 70-80's next week? I hope we are not all sick. My jeans, through "waterproof" pants, were wet today!

We need to remember - this is suppose to be fun! and it is, when the focus is not on winning, but trying to do your best with your horse. I am happy with what Savannah can do well already, as a 4 years old, she crosses bridges over wide creeks with running water and fishing boats, doesn't bat an eye at garbage cans, signs, tents, etc, crosses water. Now, if she would just get used to the unseen monsters behind her....

It poured through the night Saturday night but stopped by Sunday morning. The horses were tied at hitching rails. They were set on a little bit higher ground, with the ground sloping away. That meant that even though the ground was dry, the horses were not standing in water. We got tacked up, and had a trot by the vet judge, who was checking for lameness, at 7:30. Weather was better, and we had a little bit warmer day. We did get drizzled on once, and the water crossing was deeper, but the day was just damp.

We rode over 15 miles on Sunday, and about 4 ½ hours. Savannah did awesome on all the obstacles on Sunday, except side passing a 6' log! We made it a few steps, then she wanted to step forward over the log or back up. We made it to the end, but it wasn’t pretty. She doesn't trot "in hand", but I was lucky, and that wasn't judged. The other obstacles on Sunday were taking a bag off a limb and handing it to the judge, walking over a small water hole and backing through it, going up a steep incline, 360 turn on the forehand. We had to stand both days for the judge checks and at the P&R's.

Savannah's goosiness was almost gone by Sunday. She did not like horses passing her fast, from either direction. I turned and faced the riders coming up behind her. And when riders had to pass us from the front, I asked them to walk slowly by.

We had a deep water crossing on Sunday, swollen from the rains the night before. It was a lot deeper than on Saturday. She went into the water crossing too fast, and lunged into the swollen water, splashing water up my legs and into my 1 boot. I felt water to my toes!

After the ride, management thought that it could be 3 hours before open division was in from the ride and before awards could be ready. With a 3 hour ride ahead of me, I decided to leave for home. Diane stayed and picked up the awards and certificates.

I ended up with 2nd Place in both Horse and Horsemanship Novice Lightweight Division! I was astonished. I knew I had a good ride with Savannah, but I knew that there were a few things that we had to improve in. I couldn’t have been more pleased with her demeanor the whole ride. Most of the time, she didn’t show her goosiness. With 2 days of riders behind her, she got used to them. I need to take the time to allow her to walk out, rather than slow gait. We will need to work on that long stretching walk.

Savannah did so much better than I expected. and she tied well at the hitching post for the 2 nights and 3 days! I think I came back with a slight head cold. By the time I got home after the 4 hour drive, I was really stuffy and had a sinus headache. I took some meds as soon as I got inside, and before bed. I did wake up clear headed, but I can tell that I'm getting stuffy. I did sleep from 10 pm to 8 am! I never sleep that long, even though I do need to sleep 8 hour nights!

It just goes to show that when you go into a ride with the "I just want to have the best ride that I can on my horse" attitude, and pressure is off on "winning", you ride more relaxed and have more fun.

And by today, I was stuffy! Maybe I just have some allergies I never knew I had. I’m so glad I’m not sick after the wet pants, wet neckline to my shirt, wet gloves, wet shoes and wet feet, and wet, damp weather!

Remember, this is fun!  And it is. I can’t wait for the Kanopolis CTR in a couple of weeks. With the way my schedule is, I can only make 2 of the 4 fall CTR’s this year. But that’s ok since Savannah is so young. This is enough for her young legs, and her young mind!


luvriden said...

Had a great time riding with you Brenda! Hope we can do it again :-) Congrats again on Savannah and you doing so well!!

Horses Are Our Lives said...

I did too, Diane! I just wished the sun had been out! Call me when you are going back to Brushy. I can't wait to ride there when it is nice! You did awesome on Jordan, and it was only your 2nd CTR!


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