Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Baby Boomer Dreams - Dandy's Story - Trail at Nationals

Part 1

I don't remember when in the schedule the trail came after the western. I do remember that I did get a couple more days for schooling before my final attempt with my Arabian horse to earn some kind of points in the bonanza class.

My only real concern about trail was the fact that Kelly had put my horse into the curb bit. According to the rules once the horse had shown that way, he was required to continue in the curb. Having a horse in a curb in trail was a big disadvantage over those showing in snaffle bits. Two hands are definitely better than one in this instance.

The area set aside for schooling trail was small and confining. It really wasn't conducive to the type of work I felt I needed with my horse. I was more worried about loosing my steering over some long lope over configuration than the little up close stuff that Dandy so enjoys.

I have to admit that one of the areas that I'm not good at horse shows is making things work so my horses get schooled the way they need. I tend to acquiesce and go with the flow instead of changing things up to accommodate my needs. I can't even tell you how many times that's screwed things up for me over the years.

I am better about it now for trail, getting in there and pulling out poles etc to set up whatever I want to school. But back in those days that just wasn't the case, I just kept on schooling in that little compact area afraid that spreading out would block up passage ways or whatever to be in other's path. I only worked on schooling what I could get accomplished in that space.

It's been along time since all of this happened. I no longer remember the course we had for the Bonanza trail. I do, however, remember thinking as I walked that course how simple the thing was, the one at REgions 5 had seemed more difficult. This kind of course would be a snap for Dandy.

I don't even particularly remember much about the ride except those wide set skinny trees that made up the jog serpentine. Right from the start, I was tickled to see the set on that obstacle. This was the place I could really show off my horse and set him apart from the others.

I knew that most, if not all, of the riders would go at those serpentines wide in big loops. While I could ride my Arabian horse through them tight like I would ski a slalom course on the water. We would go at them straight on and half pass our way through those trees doing it in half the time and much fancier than our competitors.

It would be safer to ride it like the other riders, but I knew that Dandy and I couldn't afford safe. My horse was easily capable of the showier way. If we wanted to make a top ten in Bonanza we had to go for broke.............and that's what we would do, we'd go for the more difficult way and show off my horse's talent.

Only I hadn't counted on interference from the judges seated there in folding chairs not far off from the beginning of that row of trees. Just as my horse rounded out of one obstacle heading to line-up for that serpentine, the third judge rolled his notebook over flipping the pages so they fanned blowing as if in the wind.

This unexpected movement drew both my horse's attention and mine. Dandy's startled reaction was to raise up out of the bridle and balk. He dropped his outside shoulder and moved away from the judge which meant away from the necessary line of travel we needed to negotiate this obstacle.

I squeezed the horse up with my legs which he resisted some before rolling over and moving on. But it was too late... we'd long missed our line-up on the obstacle. I had to struggle to get my horse in position to even accomplish these serpentines at all. Instead of a beautiful flowing serpetine we stumbled through like we had no true direction and little control.

My Arabian horse went on and did the rest of the obstacles like a champ but I knew right there that was it for this competition. It didn't matter how well we did on the other obstacles, we wouldn't be able to overcome this mistake. With over 80 horses in this class there were going to be lots of good go's without errors. We had needed an exceptional ride and that's not what we had.Maybe that confidence on the walk-through is what did me in, I guess I will never know for sure. But things just didn't go as planned......not any of this trip really had.

I may not have reached my goal of winning a top ten on my very first trip to the National Arabian Horse Show but I had managed to get on judges's cards, if only briefly. And I'd managed to catch the attention of the others as well with my home grown, home trained horse.

All in all I guess that wasn't such a bad accomplishment for my first time out. I've met many people over the years who would have been thrilled to have accomplished this much. There would be other years for Dandy and me at US Nationals..........or so I hoped.

To be continued............

After Nationals

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  1. Molly, it sure was. I couldn't help thinking had the horse been in a snaffle things might have gone very differently.

    That decision about the bridle was one I was against but I didn't stand my ground against the trainer thinking that she knew better. I will always regret that I didn't listen to that little voice of mine.

  2. Hi MiKael, I am finally catching up once more. Again can't believe I have got so far behind.

    I hope the gym sessions are going well, I used to do that when I was in South Africa but I am not a morning person so now that it is getting colder I am finding it harder to get up and about early.

    I have finally started trying to keep my blog up again, hope you visit and meet my new baby.

    Always in my thoughts and I watch the weather on your side of the continent every morning when they show us the weather for the whole USA and hope that it is being good to you. We are already getting flurries and falling below freezing.

    ((((((Hugs))))) and I hope we can talk soon, so much to catch up on.