Friday, December 19, 2014

Wheeeeeeeee!




Let me try this again with photos...





Saturday, December 13, 2014

Obstacles

ADS doesn't so much like calling them Hazards anymore, since Hazards leads you to think it could be Hazardous. It's probably something to do with the insurance... lol

Obstacles were the same for both days too. It was easier since you seemed to get a Do-Over if you had competed the day before. You also may have seen someone else take a different route thru the gates and tried it their way, shaving time off your score. Or you drove it once, figured out a better way and tried it, improving your time in the hazard. It also gave your pony a chance to go thru things without being afraid of decorations in the hazards. All of which worked in our favor and thankfully things went smoother for us the second time around.

Obstacle 1 was barrels decorated like Easter eggs with stuffed bunnies sitting on top of them. Straight in to make a right  by the wall and go thru Athen back across the paddock to make a left and go thru B. You could either slow down and make a U-turn to the right then another U-turn to the left to go thru C, or you could circle around B on the left and line up for C. Saturday we did the U-turns, Sunday we did the circles. Coming out of C you make a U-turn to the right and head thru D that was behind you. Doing this put your horse on the right lead and you could go thru D and veer right to go back thru the Out gate.  Don't forget to thank the volunteers on your way out!

Obstacle 2 was back in the corner and decorated for Halloween. Kat wanted NO part of it. Huge tree trunks with shiny banner letters strung between them. High enough horses could go under them, but still... bird cages with fake rats in them, a scarecrow and several other things I don't remember- it was all enough to keep the little guy on his toes. He reluctantly went into the Hazard. Kat did well enough, but he wasn't to thrilled with the idea of this hazard. Coming OUT of the hazard? He was all for it!

Saturday I had talked to Jim (cones course designer and judge) briefly before going on course for the Hazards. He was talking to Paul Sidwell who had judged Dressage. I had asked him if anyone else had destroyed the course the way we did? Not even close! Well as it happened, Jim and Paul were still talking when Kat and I came GALLOPING out of #1 headed to #2 and were standing by watching as we came FLYING out of #2 headed to #3. Paul asked Jim- "Are those two always like that?" Jim replied- "Only when she's driving!" and they had a good laugh over it.

Obstacle 3 was a little trickier. It was up by the front gate and decorated for Christmas. There were 4x4 wooden posts in the ground, wrapped with sparkly red garland to look like candy canes.  Gates A & B were in these poles and on Saturday as we came thru A and circled around to go thru B, Kat and I had a conflict of interest on where we would go thru the posts. I figured we would go between these two and he decided to go between the posts before it.

Kat came Reeeeeaaaaallllllyyyy close to taking a header on one of the posts. Dang near smacked into it with his forehead!  As it was, he stopped with his head and neck turned to the right and the post between him and the shaft at his left shoulder. We were within inches of taking it down. Typical! Hahaha  We backed up a few steps sorted things out and continued on. Gates C and D were no problem after that. Sunday Kat was more than willing to let me make the call on those poles although for the most part, we had very little to no right turns.  Both days we came galloping out of hazard, full bore.

Obstacle 4 was behind the one barn and decorated for Thanksgiving. There were turkeys all over the huge tree stumps, more glittery letters in hanging banners and Kat had no problem with these. We would come galloping in make our way to the far end and a hard right between two huge stumps going thru them for A. Continuing the turn to go thru B that is behind us, going up past it on the left and making a U-turn to come back thru it and down and around for C which is in front of us but needs to be taken in the direction of coming back towards where we are. Gate D was back up behind B and again, coming thru the same direction we went thru B. It was a sort of ribbon candy effect with all of the back and forth, circling around, but at least coming out of D you were headed right for the out gate and Kat fired hard both times, galloping thru it with no problems.

As usual, walking back to the barn and passing several others who had yet to go, already gone or were between obstacles, everyone was buzzing about how fun it was and "Can we do it again?" Sometimes it just doesn't feel like 4 Hazards are enough. Maybe it's because we aren't the ones pulling the cart or carriage. There are a few of the horses that really enjoy it, Kat obviously being one of them I know when he's feeling good and running full bore, I have to admit, that's an awesome feeling and it's about as close as I'll ever get to being on him for it.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Cones

Kat was ready for this one and so was I. We both look forward to cones as is gives him a chance to just tear around like mad and I can't say I'm opposed to the speed aspect of it either. Now that I know he can run like that, has the speed he's got and I'm comfortable with it... I'm diggin' it!


Jim met us at the gate and informed me he had nobody to reset the balls so I was not allowed to knock any down. I responded with how I thought it was a matter of knocking down as many as possible and we had a good laugh over it. I think he gave me a look of (You'd better not!) for that one, but it was hard to tell between Kat getting revved up and Jim getting back to the truck to time us.  There were a couple of volunteers on course to reset balls, but I let Jim know I would call out which ones came down as we plowed our way thru the course.


NUMBER 6 IS DOWN!!!  THERE GOES NUMBER 8!   TWELVE!  FOURTEEN!  And so on for the duration of the course. We had 6 balls down by the time the dust finally settled. It was a Helluva rush doing the course. Although there were people saying they watched us but couldn't see much because of the vapor trails... we weren't the fastest on course for the day. There were a few others who were not only faster, but had gone double clear as well. Not our best performance, by any means.


What was really fun about it though, was the fact that about half way thru the course I found myself standing up on the outer rails of the cart as I shifted my weight back and forth over the wheels as we turned, trying to keep them both on the ground. Not only was I standing in the cart, but I also found myself leaning way out over the inside wheel as we slid sideways thru the turns as well. I probably ate a fair amount of dirt doing cones. WICKED FUN!


Sunday was an improvement, both on our time and leaving the balls up. We went faster though it didn't feel like it and we only took down 3 balls this time. I said it was an improvement, not that we were perfect... lol  Again I was standing on the rails of the cart, sliding it around the corners, dirt flying, pony galloping and me encouraging him.  He was tired from the day before and although he did break down to a trot a couple of times for a couple of strides, he put his best effort out there and gave it his all.    


Afterwards, Jim made a suggestion to what type of cart I needed for cones. Not so much a cart, but he said I need a Chariot. That way I'm standing in it the whole time anyways. My friend Cheryl has a HyperBike which is similar to a racing sulky. I can only imagine we would be a lot faster with one of those. Apparently they are working on longer shafts and a stitch taller bike, more for the B mini's, but something that would likely fit my pony.  Oooooh banish the thought.... 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dressage scores

Saturdays ATD was judged by British World Champion Driver/Clinician, Paul Sidwell. Our judge for Sunday was Rachael High, who was the same judge for our ADT in Coolidge the end of March.

Our dressage test for both days was Prelim 4

Since thee were two judges and the same test, I will put a P for Paul's scores and R for Rachael's. (My comments in parenthesis)

P- 6. Nice turn down C-LN Little wandering at X (he did)
R- 6 Some fussing in connection

P- 6 Little above bridle at M
R- 6 Slight head wag/counter wag

P- 7 Better paces shown
R- 6.5 straight, round, abrupt turn at F

P- 4 Nice O driven but break of pace before X (he cantered a few strides...)
R- 7 Slight counter bend

P- 7 Little late on the trans at D, good walk shown
R- 6.5 Wants to jigg. Unsteady connection (I don't remember him jigging, but he was pretty pooped)

P- 8 Good length shown (YAY!!!)
R- 7.5 Active walk. Clear stretch shown (I didn't push for his best walk and it didn't feel as good as the previous days walk. Still not a bad score and I'm Not complaining)

P- 7 Nicely driven shapes. Good reg w/trot shown.
R- 7 Right shoulder falling in on 2nd loop

P- 5 Break of pace before X, nice length shown
R- 7 Head wagging slightly but clear lengthening (apparently she either didn't see it or at least mark us down for the last few strides when he cantered)

P- 6 Good turn on C-LN little early on halt
R- 6.5 Slow to settle in halt

P- 7 Rein back nice
R- 6.5 Some stickiness in rein back

P- 7 Nice straight C-LN good halt at G but with a little resistance
R- 6 Head wagging


Collective Scores
Gaits-
P- 7 Nice freedom of movement and active working trot
R- 7

Impulsion-
P- 6 Plenty of Imp shown, sometimes a little too much (Always better than not having enough!)
R- 7

Submission-
P- 5 showing signs of res w/ mouth opening when contact is applied.
R- 6.5 too much head wagging. Needs steadier connection

Driver- P- 7 Nicely driven test
R 7 arrow to comment above >>> too much head wagging. Needs steadier connection


The scores under Paul are awesome to me even though it was a tad higher than the score on Sunday. I was glad to have done so well after both of us having so much time off and especially after having bombed out at the last ADT in Prescott. Although the score of a 4 for our circle and the comment about it being so good didn't make sense to me. Gary explained to me later that normally breaking gait like that might have gotten a score of a 3 or even a 2. Paul was being generous in giving us a 4 for it, or the circles were that good that they made up for the break in gait. So it could have been worse...

The lower scores per movement on Sunday under Rachael are nothing to sneeze at either. His dropping his shoulder in the serpentine, the head wagging and loss of connection were all signs of a tired pony as described by my friend who has been giving me pointers. She was mighty damn impressed with the scores for our lengthened walk as she has always stressed this one to me and thankfully we finally caught on! Comparing our score on Sunday to those under the same judge back in March, much Improvement was made! We went from a 58.25 to a 48.97 which is a drop of 9.28 points. Now remember, in driving you are looking for the lowest scores. So to make an improvement like that? Wahoo!!!!

Another thing worthy of mentioning is that way back at the beginning while at our first CDE, it was mentioned to me by a few different people that someone else had told them, they had trained my pony. Um, yeah. When confronted about this, their response was, "That's bullshit. Total bullshit." I agree. It is bullshit! I haven't worked with a trainer with Kat, other than getting a few pointers here and there from Gary, via photos and half assed descriptions in emails of what I thought I needed to work on. If it were true that someone else had done the work and trained my pony for me, why then are we still holding our own in dressage at the ADT's? Taking into account that we've also moved up a level and don't have a lot of time to put into training, (mostly our work consists of a LOT of long trotting on the trails for conditioning purposes) sure we are still getting our asses kicked by a couple other people, but our dressage scores aren't usually far off from theirs, so I have no complaints.

I'm still excited to see how far Kat and I take it. Shoot we've already gone from being total newbies in the sport and not having a clue starting out, to having done 2 CDE's placing 4th and then 3rd respectively and gotten Res. CH in the ADT series our first year out in the *Green Driver* class. Then we skipped pretty much everything last year, came back moving up to prelim and done well enough so far. We need to work on some things and I will be posting more about that later, but things can only get better from here. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ADT #6 & ADT #7

I haven't said much about getting Kat going, but for a change we got to compete over the weekend. It was fun to be able to get out there and give it a go again and since the ADT's were back to back it kept costs minimal. We were and still are in 3rd place in the year end standings, this just helped make it stick. We placed 4th both days, thru some error or another, but for the most part we had fun. Our scores under both judges were respectable and probably the best we have gotten so far. All things considered, how can I not be thrilled about that?

Over the weekend I had one of those A-HA! moments with my pony. You know when the light comes on and you finally 'get it' in relation to something that you're doing or not doing. That's when you know what changes need to be made and from here on out, it is going to make a HUGE difference in how things are going.

I was also complimented and congratulated on gelding him. And let me tell you... he was so much BETTER to deal with the whole time. There was not one mark on our dressage scores about him 'calling' and I think all totaled, he whinnied maybe 3 times over the two days. Big change there, BIG CHANGE!

As for the Katman, he's going strong. We have a play date to take a friend of mine out for a drive next weekend and then the following weekend is the Darby and Christmas party in Coolidge. We've also been invited to go caroling with a group from the driving club, but I'm not sure if we will be able to make it but it sounds like fun...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My pony Rocks!!!

But you all know that. Right??? lol

Something happened a while back that I have forgotten to mention. My pony has such a good mind about him and handles so much with no problem, but this just clearly shows it. If you've been following the posts on my blogs for any amount of time and seen how far we've come, you might have an idea of what he's like to deal with. Those who have met him in person, can attest to his willing and honest personality. This was one of those moments however, that leaves you just shaking your head and smiling, proud of your equine partner in so many ways.

Since moving the horses, Kat has had a sort of makeshift shade on his stall. It consists of some poles, clips and tarps as long as they last. Now we have all seen the different trainers and clinicians working with horses to overcome their fear of tarps, getting the horse to step on them, then walk over them, allow the tarp to be draped on them and for the horse to accept the tarp calmly without fuss. My little Katman could make them all look like fools.

Kat has always had an easygoing nature about him. He takes things in stride and doesn't often get spooked by things. Certainly not to the point of bolting and taking off or anything. Sure he will stop and look at things he's not too sure about, but he doesn't let it freak him out to the point of going crazy over stuff.

The tarp I had over Aruba's pen was moved to be used as a shade over Kat's pen after I moved panels around, reconfigured things and changed it all up to where the mares shared a shade. It was a lot of work, but well worth it. The tarp was getting to be in sorry shape from the sun beating down on it and the wind blowing it around. It needed to be replaced so I started to take it down. Kat was still in the stall and as the tarp came down, it covered him completely. He was standing up against the rail and the tarp was draped over him and it both.

He never moved. Instead he just stood there, calm and still as could be, unfazed in the least. I went around to the back of the stall on the outside and started to pull the tarp out and off of my pony. Still he stood there without moving. No excitement, no wild eyed looks, just sighed at me as if to say- whatever...

I did pull him out of the stall while I put a new tarp up. He was tied to the rail along the front so he could munch on the grass under his little tree. The whole time I was moving the tarp, unfolding it, spreading it out, tying it up and doing things a good number of horses may be bothered by, Kat just munched on the grass and looked up at me standing on the rails without so much as a care. Any wonder why I have never been disappointed with him?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sweet!!!

I pulled Kat out over the weekend and took him for a spin around the block. We logged about a mile and a half, mostly at a brisk trot and he did AWESOME! We walked out and down to the end of the street before we hit go, when Kat trotted on as smooth as can be. He was a little slow on the way out, but kept a steady pace for the most part and it was absolutely wonderful. Ponyman never fails to disappoint in this category. He has gotten to the point where I can just pull him out, harness him up and GO! We also found some residual puddles and blasted thru them too. He's getting to be a point and shoot pony and I'm loving him for it, all that much more.

I brought out the good harness since the other one got wet and molded in the box from the last rain. I am in the process of cleaning it up and oiling the hell out of it, because it is still a decent harness, it just got soaking wet. Apparently the lid of the container leaked and it was in standing water for a couple of days before I found it. Time for a new container, but otherwise no major loss. This is why my good harness stays home in the house unless for use.

With the new marathon shafts I did have to move the tugs up a few holes on the harness, but otherwise everything was all set and we're good to go. It will be interesting to see if Kat can maneuver better in the cones now because of the changes. The shafts now sit back more by the harness saddle, rather than coming all the way up by his shoulder and everything so far is working in his favor.

One thing I did notice on our drive was a LOT more clinking and jingling. It seems that with the new shafts, the cart is Finally BALANCED like it should have been all along. The shafts now float in the tugs instead of resting in them. This is a big deal and a huge difference for the horse. With the shafts resting IN the tugs, there is weight on the harness saddle and essentially on his back. With the cart balanced and the shafts floating in the tugs- the weight is all on the axle and the cart where it belongs. No weight on their back for horse to carry means they have an easier time of pulling the cart as all of their energy goes only towards that.

I didn't get any pic's, because I didn't have any pockets to keep my phone in. Instead it was stuffed in the boot of my passenger. Katman was a rockin' it in his usual way and seemed happy to be out and about. I let him walk a little ways and then asked him to pick up the trot on the way home. He was trucking along in his easy going working trot and before long we were back at the house. Little guy worked up a sweat and needed a rinse and as an appreciation for his effort he got turned out. Of course he rolled! He was also covered head to tail in dirt. As long as he's a happy pony, it doesn't bother me. GRINS

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Long overdue















I think I finally figured out a way to post pictures to the blog again. Granted these aren't the best, but they are up. Here's something some of you may not have seen and something many of us haven't seen in a while...

This was the crappy leather harness I started Kat in with my nylon purple ground lines. He broke the lines that go with this harness long before we started driving. I keep this one out with the horses as I usually use it for long line work with him and I wouldn't be so upset if it a) goes missing or b) get ruined by the weather.  At least not nearly as upset as I would be if it were my good harness which is kept inside.

You may also be able to see something else that has been changed in these photos. Something I have been waiting waaaay too long and waaaay too patiently to have. I will try to get better photos of this later but I FINALLY got my marathon shafts!!!! I still have to make one more small alteration to it, but for the most part, the cart is exactly the way I want it now. Yay!!! 

I'm not sure what happened or why the pic's all ended up along the side. I have tried a few things to fix it and no go. We either get the pic's along the side like that or none at all. I figured everyone likes to see pic's so here they are.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Where to start?

How do I get into driving or give it a try?  Several people have mentioned in the comments here and on other blogs about wanting to try diving. To that I boldly say GO FOR IT! If you've ever seen it and wanted to know more- the internet makes it easy to find s.o.m.e.o.n.e. out there who does it and would gladly help you give it a shot. I know our driving club is always looking for new members to keep things going and input on how to get more of us out there and involved.


Now I know not everyone is cut out for competition. Not everyone who rides or owns horses, competes. While there are many different events to compete in on horseback, driving is a little more limited, but not by any huge margin and drivers are not to be outdone when it comes to having FUN.


One place to start is the American Driving Society or ADS website. If you scroll over the words, it is a 'clicky link' to their page with the different Regions listed.  Find your state and click on your Region. It will produce a page with the Regional Director contact info, below that is a calendar of everything going on for the month in your Region. Below that is a list of all of the driving clubs in that region listed alphabetically by state. Each club lists their primary contact person, phone numbers, emails and of course their websites.


Nevada was the only state I seen that didn't have any information listed at this time. Utah and a couple other states only listed a name and phone number, but I'm sure the person listed or anyone at the ADS would be willing to pass along someone's information on who to contact to get involved. The Midwestern and Northwestern Regions also included Canadian driving clubs for our northern neighbors who enjoy driving too.


If you don't find anything nearby or close enough, you might also try looking on the website of the Carriage Association of America. Again this is another 'clicky link' taking you to their page listing all of their Chapters. While their websites and emails aren't set up as direct links, if you can copy and paste, you can get thru to them and find them online.


Both the ADS & CAA have a calendar of scheduled events. When and where of what's happening in the driving world. The CAA list isn't quite as extensive as the ADS list, the ADS also has an omnibus page listing all of their CDE's or Combined Driving Events, which are similar to 3 day eventing for those new to all of the driving talk.


My advice on this? Find a club, find an event and GO! Even if you just go to watch- GO! You can admire the horses from afar or go up and talk to people. The owners, drivers, trainers, event organizers, etc. that I have met, have been a friendly group so far, but you will find yourself immersed in it and there is soooo much to take in.


Talking to the different competitors and their trainers, you can set up a time to go take a driving lesson and give it a shot. This is kinda like test driving a car, you can try it before you buy it, type of deal. If you aren't confident enough to continue or decide driving is not your 'thing', you can at least say you gave it a try. You aren't 'out' the cost of lessons, training, harness, carriages/carts, gear, etc.


If you do decide to get into driving, you will have made a connection with a trainer who can help you either transition your current horse over to driving or help you find another one who already does. They may also have or know where to find all of the things you will need to get going in this new direction. It can be expensive, but then show me some aspect of anything we do with horses that isn't?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Where I'm at

I have a few posts floating around in the drafts and I had a look at them to see if there was anything ready or even close to ready to be published. One of the posts got me to thinking about how far we've come and where we are or were going with driving, when all of this started a few years ago.


When I started driving Kat, I knew we would be doing things alone for the most part and so his training was tailored for that. He would need to be solid and steady when harnessing up and putting to as well as unhitching from the cart and putting everything away. Kat and I have pretty much flown solo all along.


One thing I had set my sights on was going as far with it as we could. Would I love to be able to drive at the Live Oak in Ocala or Gladstone in New Jersey? Sure! It helps that I have friends who live 5-10 minutes away from both venues and it would be a hell of an awesome blast to see them again.


Am I disappointed if Kat and I never make it? Who wouldn't be? But right now, it's not in the cards for us. simply put, I don't have the time or the money to do either one. Entries and expenses alone would be a killer.


Now I'm not one to throw a big pity party so how about we look at what Kat and I HAVE accomplished so far.


1) He is the second pony/horse I have ever trained to drive. The first one was my daughters pony mare Pi and while it went smoothly enough and was fun in the beginning, it ended horribly with a wreck because of a number of factors. Nobody was decapitated got seriously hurt, but the cart was destroyed and Pi made it very clear she was NOT on interested in pulling one EVER again. My best friend also vowed that day she would never ride in a cart with me again. Ever. Although we occasionally joke about it and I make the offer, she won't budge. It's ok. We can still laugh about it all these years later.  


2) We started out at training level and moved up to Prelim. We had 3 very well respected votes to move up when we did. This one still blows me away.  Because of my lack of time, money and knowledge leading up to this, to think that these people had faith in us and seen what we were or are capable of doing? This still blows me away. Because when you look back-


3) I had no trainer. I have made numerous attempts to get together with Gary before different events and try to slip a lesson in and it. just. never. happened. Other than sending him an email with a few pictures and a likely lame ass description of what I was doing (or trying to do) and where we had problems, I never got to really work WITH him or have him give me directions and really nail things down. Had I been able to send the pony to him or anyone else, or really work with a trainer on a consistent basis, who knows where we might have gone or how far we could've taken it.


4) Consistency. We had very little of this as far as putting the proper amount of time into it. There were times when Kat and I would only get to drive once a week and then we hit an event as a pair of weekend warriors. This was sooooooo not fair to him and Damned if he wasn't a trooper thru all of it. Pony man never failed to fire and the last few ADT's he went way beyond what I ever could have expected.


5) Ground driving and long line work was not on my 'to do' list as far as learning things goes. Kat has taught me a LOT when it comes to ground driving and long line work. Thanks to Sherri, a driving club member who told me she often does more work without the cart than she does with it, I knew what we needed to work on.  When I think back to the early days of our ground driving and long line work- it was boring, mundane, tedious and I doubt it was anything fancy to look at. We both got thru it. We learned. I learned. I learned a lot and I soaked it all in. I still have an image in my mind of Kat rocked back and moving like a freight train, bold, powerful and BIG, working in the front pasture flooded with irrigation water.  He was a sight to behold. I now know how to get that movement from other horses and how great it looks when they do it.


6) Confidence. Kat has become a pretty level headed point and shoot horse. With the exception of the last ADT and his two hair brained incidents (one in the cones and one in hazard 3), he has become pretty confident and goes where I aim him. Water has been a big issue all along, but with the second water hazard at the ADT in Sonoita and the water hazard at the ADT in Prescott, he went in with little whipping, swearing, threats coaxing and encouragement.  He figured out the water hazard in Paulden after several attempts in the beginning and he handled the huge runoff puddles near the house rather well the last time we went thru them too. 


We may never make it to Gladstone or Ocala, but with all things considered? We have already come a long way and accomplished a lot, with what little we had to work with. I'm proud of my pony and I'm looking forward to what is next to come. He's still in shape, looking damned good from the pictures I've gotten and shared via email (Blogger won't let me upload them for some reason) and the last time I had him in the lines- He. Nailed. It.  I need to see what's on the calendar for the fall and bring him back to work in harness.


The Katman cometh...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Passing time

I have got to get Kat back to work, but since I am not planning on hitting any real events for the rest of the year, it seems kind of pointless to push him for much. Right now it is just hotter than hell. Add in a bit of humidity from the clouds that keep appearing and threatening to drench things and it is almost miserable.

I have been working him though so he is still in shape. I turn each horse out and clean their stall, then work them a bit before bringing them back in and switching horses. The order is always changed up and I can leave one out overnight so that's helping. Whenever the hormones finally clear his system and Kat no longer thinks he is the man about town, I can maybe rearrange things and make a bigger turnout/work arena for them all.

I did get in touch with a local girl though thru a sad chain of events that led us to meet. She lost her horse and it was one of the foals from my WB mare, before I got her. I offered to let her come meet my mare and see her and as horse people do, we got to talking about almost everything under the sun. Well it turns out that her family has mini's and all of the gear to drive them, but no idea where to start.

OF COURSE I offered to take her for a drive with Kat! I also offered to help her get their minis going in harness too. The thing about driving? It's like any other equine sport. Once you're hooked.... there's no going back.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Good for the goose

I had thought about not putting the last post up, but then I went ahead with it as someone out there may need an idea of how to flush a wound that is up and sort of out of reach. Gravity helps with some things, but flushing a wound is not always one of them.

In good news, Kat is healing up nicely again, the swelling has gone down to minimal, the hematoma under his belly is gone and hopefully before long this will all be a thing of the past. I had thought of buying a regular syringe, but they just didn't seem to be big enough and hold enough solution to do what I wanted to do and get it where it needed to go.

As Fern Valley said, she has an old Ivomec gun from the cattle that she uses. I used to have a few of the old paste wormer syringes for similar things. You can dissolve pills in them and squirt the goo back to the far reaches of the horses mouth. Let's face it, when the horses are healthy, we don't think about it. When things fall apart, we usually find ourselves wishing we had stuff on hand to do the job.

How many times have we gone to the horses' first aid box for band aids for our selves? Smeared on a little furazone, Cut Heal or triple wound care, wrapped it up with a gauze strip and some vet-wrap and went back to doing what needed to be done... How many of us know where everything is for treating the horses, but damned if we can find the Neosporin and ace bandages for ourselves? Ever add Vetrolin to the bathtub? I've known people who rubbed themselves down with Absorbine Jr. liniment or Bigeloil. In a pinch you look around for something that works. It might not be the original 'intended use' but when push comes to shove...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Get creative...

***This post may not be for the faint of heart, those with weak stomachs or low gag reflexes.*** Don't say I didn't warn you...

Kat seems to have some swelling in his sheath area and his scrotum. The other night it was so swollen the skin was rather tight on it and he has started to develop a small lump of fluid under his belly. He is walking funny and that's putting it mildly, but he's getting turned out at night when time allows and worked, but the other night he was three legged lame. He did not want to use his right hind leg at all. He shuffled and hopped at the trot and there was no cantering at all. I was also worried that he is unable to pee. He kept stretching out like he has to go, but that was it.

So yesterday found me at the dollar store looking for something to flush the incision with to help ensure there is no infection going on in there. He's on antibiotics, but still you never know. I needed something to flush it with, but more importantly, I needed a way to get it up inside there. For less than $3 I bought a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, a package of straws- the flexible bendy kind and a package of those red and yellow bottles for ketchup and mustard for picnics. I grabbed a bucket of water and my stash of wash rags and got to work.

I rinsed and gently scrubbed the incision area, not wanting to hurt him. Instead little man was quite happy to have me scrubbing away the scabs and stood there still as could be with his nose in the air making faces that were clearly saying "Damn that feels good". The little perv! I gently scrubbed the scabs away and got my bottle of peroxide out.

It was either diluted peroxide or saline solution (salt water) to flush it out so I went with the peroxide. I figured if there is any infection going on in there, the peroxide would help take care of it. While the ketchup/mustard bottles have the small tip for squirting the rinse up in there, there's only so much that will go UP and OUT of the bottle. This is where the straws come in handy. The tip of the bottle fits in the straw. The part where the straw bends, allows the tip of the bottle to be aimed down, while the short part of the straw can be inserted up into the incision and allows things to be flushed out.

Kat stood like a champ as I squirted a little bit of the solution thru the straw to help ease the end of it up inside him. I was able to get it up in there, flushing out both sides and boy was he was a happy camper! The swelling has already diminished some, but I will be flushing it out some more to make sure it's all cleaned out and able to heal as it should. This is all followed up with a slather of nitrofurazone or fura-zone and some fly spray. Of course it's also back to work or him too. He has to keep moving to keep the swelling down, keep things opened up and draining. Poor kid. I feel bad for him, but we'll get thru this, like everything else. He's such a little trooper.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Maintenance

I haven't honestly done anything with Kat in regards to work, since the last ADT the beginning of May. No driving, no long line work, pretty much nothing. I have just been turning him out and free lunging him to keep him in shape.

The other night I put him in the lines with the older than dirt harness we started out with and the snaffle bit. He was amazing. Light, forward, slam on the brakes stops like before- He was just plain awesome. I will be taking him out for a drive in the neighborhood soon and will obviously report back on that when it happens but for now? I love my pony. :-) That's all!



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Done and gone

The vet was out on Saturday and gelded Kat. The job was done and his nuts are gone, along with a few of those dreams I had of competing and promoting him, breeding ponies for the girls... yeah, ummmm. So long to that. Thanks dear

But along with his nuts, here are the other things that are gone or on their way out the door too. His posturing, the calling to the mares, the creeping is diminishing, him challenging me on the lead rope, blasting thru the gate to the round pen. Simply put, the bullshit behavior that has started and continued to escalate recently for whatever reasons... He is quickly becoming the quiet horse he used to be before. I don't have to get after him much for anything and although it can/will take up to 6 weeks for the testosterone levels to recede, he is becoming more and more subdued by the day.

While it sucks that I will never get to see the promise of a foal from him and my mare, now the girls will be able to ride, drive and show HIM if they choose to. Of course riding him means I will need to acquire the tack and he will need to have some wet saddle blanket therapy. The girls will need boots and proper helmets for starters and when they progress far enough along, I will call in a trainer to help them proceed. Teaching friends, family and S/O's to ride is always a challenge and often doesn't end well.

He's healing nicely and is getting turned out overnight. So far it's going well for both of us.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Pro's and Con's

Well the votes are in and the decision has been made. The vet is coming out this weekend and Kat is going to be gelded. This has been on my mind a lot since back in April when we went to Sonoita for the ADT. It was revisited again in Prescott last month at the last ADT and has been mulled over, discussed, thought about, discussed some more and kicked around long enough.

The pro's of keeping him intact- well he's pretty, well built, has a great mind, was easy to train and his two fillies out in the world both were well put together, have good minds,have great coloring and if his genes are to be passed on, it's their job now. Their owners can make that call. I could breed some nice Welsh/TB crosses with my mare, that the girls could ride and show as hunter ponies or drive as singles or a pair.

The con's- finding stabling for a stallion is a challenge. Not many boarding facilities will take a stallion at all and those that do, may charge more, limit your options and can rightfully kick you out at any time. Many of the schooling shows and also the driving events, state liability reasons for not allowing anyone under the age of 18 to handle or exhibit stallions. Stabling arrangements for him at the driving events gives the organizers a challenge... The screaming, the posturing and the issue of him always being on edge, looking for and at the other horses. He was next to a gelding in the stall in Prescott, yet he couldn't enjoy the outside run on it because he kept challenging the gelding next to him. It wasn't the other pony's fault so Kat was shut in the stall. He isn't currently and hasn't bred anything lately. There's nothing on the horizon of that happening... so why not?

And we all know- good stallions often make GREAT geldings.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Uphill battle

Although there were a lot of things going on, things that were supposed to happen and didn't and things that did that weren't supposed to.... Such is life. It happens.

This was clearly one of those weekends, one of those events, where you are just there to fill the card. You just suck it up and take your licks. You do it because you love it, you're learning and we all make mistakes. I chalked it up as a 'schooling experience' and left it at that. I don't regret that we went, I'm not disappointed at how we did overall, I'm not upset that we E'ed out- that was all my doing- and I'm not bummed about the costs involved. It was one of those things where you look at everything and think- If I'm going to keep doing this, what are the changes that need to be made? How can everything about this be improved?

There is a lot more I could go into here, but for the moment I'm not going to bore everyone with the details. There are some things that will be changing and Kat will again be getting a break, since there is nothing on the radar that we will be hitting until at least August. That would be the Darby in Paulden, which was our first event and always a ton of fun, but right now even that is iffy, whether not we make it. Kat would be allowed to run if I enter him at expert level, but with him ducking out on me in cones and the hazard in Prescott, I'm not sure what that was all about, what needs to happen to fix it or if and when it will happen again. Some days your the birds, some days you're the statue.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hazards

After lunch it was time for the hazards. I had no major expectations going in, we had already E'ed out in cones, so our times wouldn't count for anything, just that we showed up and went thru them. If we screwed up any more- it's not like we could get any more Eliminated... lol

Down in the holding area, we warmed up in the dressage arena. A few of us were in there using the space to school our horses. Kat was again amped and acting like a twit, but the screaming was minimal because he had gotten in trouble enough already that I think it sank into his pea brain, I wasn't putting up with it anymore. He trucked around the dressage arena like a champ, still a bit fast, but not pulling or fighting me the whole time either.

Finally we were up and ready to go. The horse ahead of us was a lovely, older Norwegian Fjord mare. She was cute, it was their first time doing an ADT and the driver and I exchanged admiration of each other's horses. We finally got the go ahead and headed up the hill to hazard #1.

The first hazard was a box for the most part. In one corner, straight out the other side, around and in the third corner, make a right half way thru and out thru D in the middle of the top of the box. The dirt was loose and sliding conditions were excellent! Kat was on the run and there was so much dust in the air, I almost couldn't see anything in front of us. Thankfully I had worn my bandana over my face to keep the sun off and the dirt out. It was a simple hazard and a lot of fun.

Down the hill and around the back to hazard #2. The Fjord mare was coming out of the hazard as we were approaching it, so I slowed Kat down to give them time to finish up and clear out. I waited a little bit too, to give the volunteers scoring a chance to finish up their notes and get ready for us.

We headed in, I called out our number and level as we approached and went thru the "In" gate. Kat picked up a canter and we went thru A, made a U turn to get thru B, stayed in the hazard to loop around thru C and I was watching the tracks on the ground as we followed them out, before I realized- we still needed to go thru D. I stopped Kat, backed him up, moved him over and we went thru D and out. That was almost another big mistake and again, all on me.

As we headed down the hill again to venture off and find #3, the Fjord mare ahead of us was walking. It was a good time to make Kat do the same and he almost seemed to welcome the break. He walked on behind the mare and kept a steady pace, distanced behind them. They were still in the hazard by the time we made it, so I parked him a little ways back and watched them complete it as we waited. Again I gave them time and room to clear out, the volunteers time to finish up and get ready for us and Kat patiently waited.

When the volunteers were ready, I urged Kat on and let him run. Called out our info on the approach and got ready to go thru the gates as I had planned when I walked it. We went in thru A, wove thru the bushes thru B, around the tree and headed off to gate C in the part of the hazard across the field. We were blasting along, all lined up for it and as we approached, Kat ducked out on me to the left at the last minute. I hauled him in so hard and so tight, he was literally bouncing up and down, trying to stop the cart and I had pulled myself up off the seat, standing in the cart as I verbally laid into him asking where in the Hell this Bullshit was coming from? He finally stopped, I backed him up and got him moved over so we could go thru C, loop around for D and thru the Out gate.

I made him walk to the next hazard and literally had no idea what to expect of him once we got there. He had reared in the holding area before dressage, ducked out right on me in cones and now had ducked out left on me in a hazard. Sonoita he had refused to go into the water until it was clear to him that I wasn't giving up or letting up on him until he did, so this water hazard was one of those- anything could happen here, kind of deals.

We picked up a canter on our approach, ran thru the In gate, thru A and headed down to the water. Kat slowed to a stop at the edge of the water. I heard Sheri's husband Dave yell from behind me- Give him Hell Linda! I clucked to Kat and encouraged him on into the water. He must've known he would be in for it in a big way if he didn't go in, so he oh. so. s.l.o.w.l.y., gently., on his tippy toes... waded into the water. He walked across it, but he had gone in, so I praised him and told him what a good boy he was. From the bank behind us, I could hear Dave and the others cheering for us thru the water. That was cool!

Now we had to do it again, twice, going into the water in different places. We went thru B and again, he slowed it down before going into the water, but with very little hesitation. We were soon out on the other bank, went thru C, looped around to come back into the water to get thru D. This time the water was deeper and so was the mud underneath it, but Kat went in with only a slight hesitation and actually started to pick up a trot as we cleared D and the water became more shallow. Once out of the water, Kat again picked up a canter.

The dirt and mud, sticking to the cart, started to fly off as we sped up to leave the Out gate. I let him canter on a ways after we left the hazard. He deserved some sort of reward for his effort, even if he had been a twit in one of the other hazards. He seemed proud of himself too, for getting a bit bolder about going where I pointed him even if there was water involved. He had done well enough and although we got eliminated in cones, we had fun.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cones

I had walked the course the day before. I had the pattern down in my mind. Or so I thought. It looked easy enough, the cones were wide enough and never gave us a problem. The footing was less than ideal, but we would manage. If we had to slow down between 12 & 13 for the hairpin turn, so be it. We made our way over to the field. Kat walked sedately the entire way. He knew what was coming...

We saluted the judge and listened as he told us the start /finish were the same direction. The wind had been knocking balls down all morning. If the balls were down before we got to it, just go thru it anyways and keep going. Unless the wind blew down the number, then they would reset things, but otherwise just do your course. When we were ready, I asked Kat to move out and pick up the canter. I wasn't going to push him, I wasn't in the mood for excessive speed and the footing was iffy so however fast (or slow) he wanted to go, that was fine with me.

We set out thru #1, #2 and #3 which were a relatively straight-ish line. Wove our way thru #4 the multiple. On thru #5 and ran to the other end of the field for #6 & #7, looped around and lined up for #8 & #9... coming up on #9, we were lined up, dead on for the middle of the cones and it happened. Out of nowhere, Kat ditched out on me to the right. In one stride he jumped sideways and was about to mow down the cone, the ball, the number and anything else in the way. There was no correcting it before it happened, but I tried anyways as I swore at him under my breath asking "What the Hell was THAT all about?"

Honestly the rest of the course was a blur. I know we lined up for #10, #11, #12, dropped down to a trot to make #13, went thru the multiple of #14 and thru the finish line. Because of his stunt, I didn't let Kat have his little 'victory lap' to slow down. We hadn't been going very fast anyways, he didn't need it and quickly brought it down to a halt as it was. Jim was off the tailgate to meet me and he asked if I knew what we had done?
"Besides wiping out #9???"
"Yeah."
I looked at him and blinked. I had no idea.
"Did you forget to go thru a cone?"
I stared at the course. My mind was totally blank.


Apparently we lined up for 14 on the wrong side, going thru it the wrong direction. As we came out of the last part of it, we were on the wrong side and not lined up for #15 at. all. and we completely skipped it.


"I've been sick all week, can I blame it on that?"
"Sure"
"We E'ed out, didn't we?"
"Yep"
"Damn!"
"Yep"

We had done the course, with all of our errors included in 2:15 or something. We weren't the fastest of the day, that was one of the gals with a mini that did it in 1:54 and was double clear. It didn't bother me though, because I wasn't out to be the fastest this time around. I just hoped to stay on the cart, keep both wheels on the ground and get thru it.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dressage

While the comments on many of my previous tests all reflected me loosening my death grip on the reins, I felt the need to consistently hang onto Kat for dear life. I thought I had to, to keep him in the ring and keep things sort of under control. My plan for this one was to let him go. See what he did when I let him have his head. Stop fighting him, stop pulling on him, just let him have his head and do his thing.

Another thing I changed at this ADT was that I decided to do what I can about the constant screaming and calling. I was going to try to put an end to it. Every time Kat started to make noise- he got in trouble for it. Maybe if it hurt, maybe if it stung, maybe if it was as unpleasant for him as it is for everyone else around him... Maybe he would shut the hell up! He did quiet down considerably and knew he better watch it when I was within range. It was considerably less screaming than in the past, but it still happened some.

One thing that came to mind as we were whipping thru our test- This is probably the fastest a dressage test has EVER been done! Our comments are likely to read "rushed", "rushing", "too quick" and who knows what else...?

Kat was on a mission. He was amped up and I just wasn't in the mood to be pulling on him, fighting with him or dealing with it. We trotted in, he halted, I saluted and we were off to the races. He did behave pretty well considering, but everything was just plain FAST. We had no working trot to speak of and when it came to the lengthened trot- I just let him go and kept telling him to "Just keep it at a trot. No cantering allowed here." Our lengthened walk, I thought he would break into a trot at any moment, but he didn't.

When we halted before the judge, he fidgeted and wiggled, squirming all over the place. At one point he backed up on his own. I went with it. After we saluted the judge asked me in an incredulous manner with disbelief- "Was That your back?" I uttered "No" and she said- "Do that over". We did, I took control of my pony and he did a nice rein back this time. It didn't help our score of a 3 for the movement any, but it left the idea in Kat's mind that he was not in charge.

Later when I talked to the judge, who is a club member and friend of mine, we joked about having fast times in Dressage as well as cones and hazards. She said half halts would have helped and I asked if a few "Whoa Dammit's!" would have as well. "SURE! Anything at that point... He was booking it thru that test." Another friend that helps with the scoring was laughing along and said "Dressage test in 30 seconds or less. WIN!" If only it worked that way... *sigh* Our score was a 68 something. The other entry in our division scored a 61 something, so we weren't too far off the mark.

Monday, May 12, 2014

ADT #4

The 4th ADT of the series was Saturday up in Prescott at the Flying B Ranch. I had been sick as a dog all week, looked like death warmed over and felt like hell on so many levels. After several bottles of Powerade for electrolites, a couple bottles of coke to settle my stomach and keep things down, eating ibuprofens like m&m's for the fever, hot showers, sleeping under blankets and sweating it out... I felt good enough to drive up there and make a go of it. I still sound like crap, still coughing up a bunch of junk, but I'm on the mend. A few people I know, were shaking their heads and wondering WTH? when they asked if I was still going and the answer was a resounding YES!

I had gotten a late start due to a morning appointment, but since I had taken Friday off, there was no major time constraints for leaving and getting up there. The drive up was uneventful, we arrived about 5pm and I had plenty of time to find the stall, get Kat settled in, unhooked the trailer, unload the cart and our gear and go walk the courses.

Dressage- I barely got to take a good look at the test on Tuesday. Lucky for me it was one we did before. Not much I needed to refresh in my mind and walking it, it all sank in so I was good to go. Cones had two multiples, 4 & 14 and like many of the courses we've done so far, it just flowed. There was only one hairpin turn between 12 & 13 that there was just no way to take it in a straight, fast line. So it goes. Hazards- while I was confused as to the in between the hazards, that wasn't so much the issue later on. Again they just seemed to have a nice 'flow' about them. Getting from one gate to the next seemed easy to do.  The only one I really questioned was the water hazard #4. There were 3 times to be in the water. Getting from gate A to gate B, getting from B to C and then of course D was IN the water. I wasn't sure how Kat would handle the approach, if he was going to balk and refuse to go in like he did in Sonoita, or what was going to happen. I guess we would find out when the time came. No sense in worrying about it until then.

Although the hotel was a ways down the road, away from where the ADT was to be held, I am so glad I got a room! Having a hot meal, a shower and a bed, versus the alternatives? No comparison. Then when I found out the wind blew like hell again, all night long.... I'm just glad I didn't have to suffer thru it. It blew like that in Sonoita last month and while I don't mind a strong breeze, gusty wind that never lets up is a different story. Add in the powdery dirt and it doesn't make things any more fun, let alone bearable.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mothers Day!

To all of the moms, grandma's, aunts and honorarys. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Walk on

After posting a comment on another blog a little while back, I got to thinking about it and realized how hypocritical I had been in asking that question? How often do you go out for a trail ride and just walk the whole time? When was the last time I had done that with Kat? I couldn't even begin to tell you, because yeah- it has been that long. I think the last time I took him anywhere or did anything with him where walking the whole time was the only thing on the agenda... was back when he had had his epic meltdown at the horse park.

The following day when I hitched him, we did nothing but walk for a few reasons. 1) I wanted him hitched ASAP so he did not get it in his head that this was the way to get out of having to work. 2) We did nothing but walk so it was all low key, no pressure and both of us could get our confidence back. 3) We did not go to the horse show (which I had originally planned to do) because we just didn't need a crowd, other horses or any more distractions to stir things up, set him off or be in the line of fire if he blew up again.

Weekend before last, I hitched Kat and we went for a walk. He was a bit wound and ready for action, I'm sure he thought we would be trucking along on the side of the road, working on his stamina and endurance levels... and he didn't quite understand that all we were going to do that day was walk. He didn't want to. He was ready to GO! I had to check him back a few times and remind him to just walk. Then he started getting a bit mad about it.  I stopped him, backed him up and then let him walk forward. If he started jigging again, stop, back up and back off the bit. We went a little different route out thru the neighborhood and there were 'new' horses to see and show off for, hoping to impress them. Yeah, not so much.

More jigging, more stopping and backing and then walking forward. If he kept it at a walk, he could keep moving, but if it went beyond that, he was stopped and reminded to back off. We finally turned to come up a different road leading back to the house.  We've gone this way before and there is a horse in a roundpen, right up by the road. I think it is a mare, but I'm not sure. Kat didn't care. He was either going to impress her or intimidate him, but either way he was acting like a total jerk. So we did some circles to the left. Tight circles to the left. When we straightened out, if he didn't give me an ear- we did some circles to the right. Again I would let him straighten out and see where he went with it. More circles? Suit yourself then...

It took a while to get past that horse because Kat was not behaving like he knows how to do, but once we did, he settled right down and walked on just as nice as you please. Grumble* snarl* grumble* grumble* snarl*  But what did I expect of him, really? He creeps when I'm harnessing him up and putting him to the cart and a lot of times I am pressed for time, so when the last buckle is done, the excess thru the keeper, I hop on the cart and we GO! Work involves trotting and even some cantering because we need to work on both extensions and collections of the trot besides our working trot, so there it is. There's the cause of the problem.

Before going to Sonoita I had already made plans to start walking Kat in the cones between competitions. We needed to go back and do a lot of walking. I also want to move them in as narrow as I can so that there is little to no room for error. That way, when we get to the events and the cones are set a little wider- it's a piece of cake.  He might be a little wild and might have some serious speed, but he needs to learn how to control when and where he uses it, saving it for when it's needed. Besides, the walk portion in dressage- it's worth double points. If you can nail a good walk portion in your test, the rest comes a little easier. Besides, don't you learn to walk before you can run?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Onward!

Sunday morning and Kat was ready for action. He knew what was up when I harnessed him up, putting him to the cart without lunging him first. I could tell he wouldn't need it and he would likely need to save his energy for the course. It was a bit long and there was rolling hills in between the hazards. Yay we would be getting some hill work in! lol

We headed over to the warm up/holding area and checked in. I was to go after the last of the training level horses that followed the minis and they would actually be putting in a little longer break between us, so that we wouldn't be right on the tail of the horse before us. That was what happened in Coolidge, and although it gave Kat some short breaks of resting between hazards, I would rather keep an even pace throughout. As it was- there would be plenty of time and space between us and no hopes of me running up on the heels of the horse before us.

Kat was amped and when we got over to the warm up area, he knew what was up. I trotted him around a little and after a lap or two he settled down to a comfortable walk. There was another entry, two girls on a cart with a cute red pony and as they circled around us, I could hear the one girl (gator) on the phone telling someone about Kat. "He is the cutest pony ev-ar and his color is a.m.a.z.i.n.g..." Turns out, they are a new competitor and a youth driver. Yay, new people in the sport!

Soon it would be our turn to go. Kat didn't want to stand and wait so we continued to circle around at a walk. I had bend to the left again today so that was good and I was happy with it. We got the signal to start once the horse ahead of us reached hazard #2. Kat was ready and we headed out down to Hazard #1.

We went in and circled around thru A, out of the gate and around to B, thru C and on to D, Kat breaking down to a trot here and there thru the sharper turns. Once we were thru D it was a straighter shot out of the hazard and around to the out gate. Once out, Kat wanted to keep running, but that isn't necessary so we settled on a pretty fast trot and got to Hazard #2 without issue. Hazard #2 has water and for Prelim, Gate D was IN the water. I had an idea of how to get Kat into the water pretty quick and easy, but we all know things don't go according to plan all of the time.

We headed into the hazard and zipped thru A, B and C with no problems. There was a way to go into the water straight ahead thru a narrow opening and I was going to try it. I would let Kat skim along the edge of the water to the left, and then pull him around to the right and pretty much throw him off balance and into the water. Didn't happen. He went all Tinkerbell on me, didn't want to get his feet wet and wasn't going thru the opening at all, let alone along the edge of the water. No way, no how! Okay fine then- Plan B...

I turned him off to the left and went out where we would have a nice big wide open area to work in. I aimed him straight at the water, we got to the edge, he planted his feet and was not going to budge. Well he did eventually budge but then it was exit stage right! "Not a chance buster!" I hauled him in with the left rein and pulled him back around to face the water. Then he decided to try bolting to the left. "I don't think so!" Hauled him around right to face the water again. I cracked him one on the butt with the whip and told him to "Walk on".

Kat- "No freakin way! That's W.A.T.E.R. and I'm NOT going in it!"
Me- Squinting at him in a threatening way, "You wanna BET?"

A few more tries and I turned to the timer and said- "This might take a while." A few more tries, keeping Kat lined up facing the water, a crack on the butt here and there, coaxing, pushing, encouraging and then all of a sudden it's like a light went on. He dropped his head, snorted at the water and cautiously stepped towards it. A few more ever so cautious steps and he was IN the water. I reached forward and patted his butt where I had previously spanked it and praised him so much. We may have walked thru the water, thru gate D, but we weren't going to be eliminated. He may have wussed out on me, but at least he went in the water. WIN!

Our time in Hazard 2? Worst for the day! Everyone else was under 100 seconds, as in times of 70-90 seconds or so. One entry had a time of 130 seconds or so.... Ours? 222.?? ROFL! Once out of the water, he picked up a trot and I was happy to let him roll with it. We headed off to Hazard #3 and I wasn't pushing him for any more. He did trot a lot in #3, but picked up the canter on the way out.

By the time we got to Hazard #4, my plans had changed. So what if he was trotting or running thru them, as long as he was going forward and we were not only under control, but he was trusting me and not fighting it. We zipped along thru gates A, B and C, looped back around to go thru B to get to D and Kat did fight it a little on the turn. We dang near smacked into a pole in the hazard. A quick "Whoa", he stopped dead, backed up a couple steps, moved over to the right and we took off again, thru D and out...

Hazard #5 wasn't too far away and as we approached it, All of my plans for speed went right out the window. If all we did was trot thru it- fine by me and I could care less. There were a lot of logs set up in triangles in this one, a lot of semi-sharp edges out there and I planned to just take it easy. Kat seemed to be wearing down a bit and I didn't want to overdo it. We trotted the whole way thru the hazard and out the gate. No crazy speed there.

Kat was happy to just jog on the way to Hazard #6. He wasn't sure what was next and wasn't sure even what was going on. We did pass one of the training horses coming up out of H#6 and they had gone in and thru the water. The driver was beaming with pride in her horse. She's not sure if she was going to keep up with competing, but if they didn't they would be going out on a high note. We approached the gate and Kat was on alert. He could see the water and knew we would be running, but he wasn't sure about what was about to happen. Gate A you entered the water and Gate B was IN the water. He balked, hesitated and then walked on in. We did manage to pick up a trot as we rounded the corner for B and headed out of the water. Once on dry ground again, he picked up a canter as we came around to C, going back into the water to go thru D. Again at the waters edge, he hesitated and eased his way in to pick up a trot heading thru D and out of the water again.

As we cantered up the hill and thru the 'Out' gate, I leaned forward again to pat his butt. Once we were up the hill, he eased down to a trot and eventually a walk. We were able to see his girlfriend Diva going thru H#5 as we headed back to the barn. I let him walk, we watched them as they wove their way thru the turns and on to the next one. We were content to be plodding along at a relaxed pace. Kat had done a lot and I was happy with his efforts. We were done and there was no need to hurry back other than to unhitch, give him a drink and let him unwind while I packed things up. It had been fun, at least the wind had slowed down to a nice breeze and life was good. Best part about it? He had gone into the water twice and we didn't E out.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hazards

After untacking Kat and putting him in his stall to relax, I headed back to the truck to make some calls, sit down and unwind a little. More like un-wind, as in to get out of the wind for a while. Although it was still pretty early in the day, I could tell I was already getting sunburned on the lower part of my face. I had worn and brought long sleeved shirts to protect my arms and the gloves cover my hands so everything was pretty much shaded.

Although it wasn't just the sun, I think the wind was doing it's fair share of damage too. One of my friends asked me about this- Isn't it hot wearing long sleeves in the sun like that? Actually no, it's not. The fabric keeps the direct sun off of you and when you do sweat- the fabric absorbs it, making an evaporative cooler effect and it's actually much cooler. Since they live where it is more humid on average, this wouldn't have the same effect there.

Off to find the hazards... I had thought about bringing my bicycle for this part and I am honestly glad I didn't. A lot of people have scooters, quads, gators and an assortment of motorized options to get them from point A to point B and back again. I have my truck and it does the job. Had I brought the bike, I would have gotten a workout worthy of rivaling any torture I put myself thru at the gym. Hahaha

Starting the hazards was to be up where the warmup for dressage was and from there you went down off the hill, slightly to the right and hazard 1 was right there. It was a maze of adobe brick walls, with essentially planter boxes in various areas, set up in a square and each with a notch in it for a place to set the gates for jumping it as a cross country course. I looked at it, scoped out our course, walked it a few times and stood back as I watched others walk it. Some of them were in the upper levels and had a different idea of how to get thru there. Parts of their course made sense to me and others didn't. They had horses, I have a small pony and can get away with more, like sharper turns, cutting thru here when they have to go thru there...

I drove over and parked between hazards #2 & #3. Hazard #2 was in the shade and had a water aspect for gate D. Since tomorrow would be Kat's first time on this course and this was a new water hazard, I looked at two different options at getting into the water to get thru gate D. Getting eliminated for not going thru D was just not going to be an option. I walked this hazard a few times, a few ways, stood back and looked at it, plotting, planning and walked it again.... Drew my way thru the it in the air with my finger and decided I was satisfied with that. Off to walk thru #3, the showjumping hazard. The fences are too high for actual jumps, but everything is bright and colorful as if there were horses to be popping over them.

Again I walked it, looked at it, watched others go thru it, modified my course, walked it again, drew my way thru in the air and walked it again before I was confident that 'This' is how we're going thru here. Then it was across the yard, over the hill and around the log jump to get to #4. I have no idea what this one was called. It was a bunch of log power poles in the ground with heavy boards attached and places to go in, out and thru it as if it were a maze. Another round of Look at it, study it, walk it 3-4 times, draw my way thru it, walk it again, change something, walk it so many more times and move on.

Hazard #5 had a lot of pointy corners with things set up in triangles and plenty of options for impaling your horse or yourself on something. Just kidding! (Maybe?) It was mostly round on the outside and had triangles on the inside. Another round of walking, drawing, studying, changing, walking, thinking, walking, walking, walking... and finally on to #6 the other water hazard.

There wasn't so much walking involved in this one since I didn't have my muck boots or waders, let alone sandals or shorts... This one was optional for all training level horses. They could try it, a lot of them did and I think they all managed to go thru it which is awesome. One of the club members that wasn't competing due to injuries was armed with his camera, loaded for bear and set up in the bed of the truck to get (Hopefully!) some awesome shots of everyone getting their feet wet. Discs with all of your pictures from the event, all three portions, are available thru them for $20 with all of the proceeds being donated back to the club. How cool is that???

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cones

I know everyone is waiting to hear what happened and how this went.... I was probably just as eager to see how it was going to play out, how Kat was going to handle it and if we would be clear, fast and where we would be when the dust settled. Dave, the husband of one of the other competitors told me while walking the course, that it might be tough to see us whip thru the course because of the vapor trails behind us. He had watched us in Coolidge and agreed we were lightening fast and he heard me trying to slow him down the whole time. He would be photographing the events and promised to take some of us. I haven't seen them yet, but I will share them when I get them.

Looking at the course online and printed out on paper? It was tough to get any real straight shots, get some straight lines and plan anything sensible. Walking the course- it just flowed. It was a very nice course, a great design and well laid out. You could see the next cone from this one and there was plenty of room to clear this one and line it up. The footing was equally as good. There was grass on the field for the most part, but there was also some dirt and in some places it was a little loose on top. It was soft enough to provide cushion yet firm enough to provide grip and traction. Walking it, the course flowed so well and was so easy to navigate I hoped for the best.

Kat felt good after the dressage test and I had a positive feeling about things as well, since we had left bend today, a decent walk, a decent lengthened trot and for the most part- we had that out of the way. We headed over to watch the horse ahead of us finish their course. As I checked in, Kat was excited and attentive yet calm, loose and about as relaxed as he could be. The previous horse finished their course, checked back for their time and before you know it, you're up. The judge blew the whistle, we walked over, halted, saluted the judge and we were ready to go. I kissed to Kat and he literally launched into high gear.

He didn't ever feel like he was running anywhere near as fast as he did in Coolidge and I'm really not sure why. He was running almost the whole time and he was amped for it, but it just didn't feel the same. It wasn't OMG! fast and I wasn't asking myself where all of this power was coming from at all. In fact I was talking to him the whole way and telling him to hit the afterburners, kick it into high gear and move it little man. He moved it all right. We went thru the start/finish line, and I was counting down the cones as we went thru them. We managed to go around 12 to the left this time to get to #3 and as I lined him up I felt the wheels on the cart break loose and slide as I drifted thru the turn. I love that feeling.

As we headed into and thru 8, I made the mistake of overconfidence by telling Kat, "I'm not going to slow you down today...." at which point my brain went blank and I had no clue where #9 was. Crap! We made a circle around to the left so I could find the next cone and where we needed to be, besides line up for it, we came back around and went thru 9, 10, 11, 12 and on.... Several of the turns, Kat was firing hard, the cart was sliding sideways, dirt was flying and I was leaning out over the inside wheel to keep them both on the ground. At one point I was leaning so far forward, I was probably close enough to pat his butt.

We ripped thru the semi serpentine of #14 A, B, C and D. On to 15, 16 and 17 were at the far end, circled back to the left for 18, a left circle back around to 19 that was next to it, continue the left circle back around to line up for 20 and the finish line ahead. Kat was sailing along as we crossed the finish line and started our lap around to slow him down. As we went past Dave I leaned forward, grabbed the rein rail of the cart and made a face, acting as if I was scared. I could hear Dave laughing as he was shooting it with his camera.

As it turned out, we were double clear. I thought we had taken one or two down, but since I've learned to just go thru each one and never look back- sometimes I don't know if there were any we knocked down or not. We had a time of 2:17 and change and the time allowed was 3:21 so we were good on that too. I'm finding we are having No problems anymore, coming in under the time allowed and Kat is rarely breathing hard afterwards and often he's ready to go again. He's really found his niche, now we just have to work on and fix some other things. Doing that may also improve his cones more, but I think the biggest part of that is me finding and remembering where the next cone is before we get thru this one.

When I finally got to see the times for the day, once again we had the fastest time for the day, besides being clean. The next entry was 12 seconds behind us with a 2:29 and one ball down, then 2:35 one ball, 2:36 one ball, and so on. There were at least one ball down for the next 5 or so entries. The next clear round wasnt until a 2:45. Um, yeah. We were smokin' in the cones again. We had the hazards tomorrow and I needed to not only walk them, but go find them. So Kat and I headed back to the barns to unhitch, untack and relax a little.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dressage

I have to start off by saying that the wind blew all day on Saturday and it blew pretty dang hard. It took me a tank and a half of gas to get down there and only half a tank to get back if that tells you anything. One of the other entries said it blew so hard the night before, her trailer rocked all night from it. I don't mind breezes, but I find wind like this is a pain in the butt.

I got Kat out of the trailer and let him settle down. I got him a drink of water, brushed him off, cleaned his feet, put his boots on and was getting him ready to go. Little man was ALL. JACKED. UP! I lunged him for a little while and he didn't seem to be backing down at all. He kept turning one way, ripping around, then turning the other way and ripping around some more. That got old real fast. I had to step it up, get in his face and back him down some. I put the rope over his nose, gave it a tug or two so he knew it was there and sent him off to the end of the line again. This time he had better listen to me. He still went around and around for a little while, but he was much more respectful of me and didn't change directions until I said so. He worked both ways and finally settled down and relaxed. That was more like it. I also kept telling him to save it for the cones.

He was still a bit wound up when I hitched him and driving over to the arena he was trying to jig and jog and just get going. We got over there and I let him work a bit. As we circled left and right, did a few serpentine's a handful of halts and up and down transitions with walking thrown in, he started to slow down and relax. He was still calling a little but nowhere near like he did in AJ, where he screamed constantly. By the time we got over to do our pre-trip inspection, he still wanted to move, but was a lot calmer about it. He was creeping as the TD was looking over our harness to make sure everything was adjusted right, buckled, straps thru their keepers and we were good to go.

Finally it was our turn to go. As we trotted in to X the wind was blowing pretty hard, right in our faces. I knew our halt might be dismal since he may not hear me say whoa. He stopped, but then wiggled and fussed and moved over to the left. I saluted the judge and we trotted into our test. As we trotted our circles I kept reminding myself- Look thru your turns. He seemed to be doing okay. The extended walk went fairly well, or so I thought. The judge did remark that there was some lengthening shown.

We trotted some more, did our serpentine with 3 turns, our extended trot also got us a 'some lengthening shown' remark, and our halt, stand for 3-5 seconds was decent. Then Kat just started to back up on his own so I went with it. Again, I couldn't remember if we were to walk or trot to the judge to halt and salute so I went with the walk this time. He didn't want to halt for the final salute, but stopped squirming around long enough I could manage it and we were done. Whew!

Because of the wind, the judge and the scribe sat in a truck at the end of the arena. This is pretty common at our driving events. There was no horn honking signalling we were off pattern so that was good. I reached forward and patted Kat on the butt as we headed out of the arena. A few times I had to really pull him around to the left to get the correct bend, but he had it and that was good enough to me. We did get nailed for being counterbent on the rail, thru our turns, etc. which is not unusual for us either and I have almost come to expect it sometimes. Now it was on to the cones...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hello Grass Ridge

I know everyone is eagerly awaiting the news of how we did in Sonoita over the weekend. Welllllllll....

Going down there I had a few ideas in place of things we need to work on but I figured they can wait until afterwards. It's not a good idea to be changing things right before a show or the day of. Things may not be going well or certainly not perfect, but change them at home when you have time to work on it or thru it and let the horse adjust to it before going to a show and expecting everything to have not only sunk in but to work.

 After the blowout speeds in the cones in Coolidge, I have decided I need to work on them in two ways. One I need to practice with them set as narrow as I can and I also need to practice with him going slow. As in walking only then some trotting. No getting jacked up and batshit crazy, just relaxed, controlled speed that we can use when necessary and leave it alone when it's not.

Another thing we need to work on is our dressage. We have never been on top or even close in the standings after our dressage tests. This is where it starts and if you can nail down a great score there, then the rest will help you hang onto it. We cannot have a mediocre test and hope to 'fix' it and move up, by smokin' 'em in the cones and the hazards. It just doesn't happen that way, hasn't all along and the future isn't looking too bright for it to change to our advantage any time soon. Hmpf! One of our biggest problems with this, is I can do it well in the lines, but when I get in the cart, it's like I lose my mind and forget everything we've worked on. I accept less and he delivers. Boy does THAT need to change...

When we got down there, it was like the theme for the day was to "Miss all of your turns."  Going down I-83, I missed the turn onto Curly Horse Road to get to the facility. Now it is only slightly before you get into town and there is a small hill in front of it, but it really didn't inhibit my view of the sign as I looked right at it and we sailed right on by......   I turned around and came back, made the turn and when we got to the host facility- wouldn't you know it? I did the same. damn. thing.

I looked right at all of the horse trailers and went past not just the first driveway, but also the barns and second driveway before we finally reached the third one so I could pull in, back the trailer out onto the street and turn around to go back.  Several people said they seen us go by, watched us turn around and were quite impressed with my backing skills. Some days I can put that little trailer anywhere- other days it seems like its a wonder I manage to go forward with it.  *eyeroll*

As per usual, I left Kat in the trailer and went to find the dressage and cones arenas. We had a little time before things were starting and once the first horse goes, you are S.O.L. and can't walk either test or course. I walked my test twice and figured I had it nailed down.  Then I went to walk the cones course. Looking at it on paper- it looked horribly tough and beyond challenging. Walking it in person was completely different. It flowed and had some nice easy turns to it with the exception of one, but even that wasn't all that bad or hard to do. The only person expecting to have any issue with it was Frank with his pair of Percheron crosses and they are gorgeous to watch. I walked it twice and stood back to draw my way through it in the air with my finger. I might have even walked it again, I don't remember, but it was good in my mind. So now it was time to go back and unload Kat so I could check in and get ready for the day.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Circling

With the upcoming ADT being a two day event instead of only one, there is sure to be plenty to post about surrounding it. It is a two day event as it will be the last driving event to be held at Grass Ridge. The CDE in October has been cancelled and this is it. There is a potluck on Saturday night following dressage and cones. Hazards will be run on Sunday and it looks to be a FUN event all around.  There will be 6 hazards instead of the usual 4, two of them being water hazards. #6 has no alternative dry route for training level so they can try it if they'd like to, but won't be marked down if they don't complete it. It's all about FUN remember?

Because of the time and travel involved with the next two upcoming ADT's, I will be posting about ground driving over on my other blog, The Well Groomed Horse. I finally have my dressage test for this one memorized (in one day, as of Monday) and have been studying the cones and hazards. One of my good friends looked at the cones course and said- "Holy Crap! How are you supposed to remember all of that?" That's just one part of it.

Moving up has proven mentally challenging since the test at each one changes. We also picked up one more gate in the hazards, have to go thru the water and we are not only timed in the hazards, but it also counts. Am I glad we moved up? Definitely! If I want to be competitive, tougher competition makes me work harder for it. For as little time as I have to put into my pony- I think he's done pretty dang well. Especially since we have been going it alone for the most part, with no real outside help. Will I have the same fire breathing dragon in the cones again? Who knows. Will he be the same in the hazards after getting the afternoon off? Anything can happen. As long as he's under control- I'm just going to let him RUN!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

ADT#2 Obstacles

The last part of the ADT's is obstacles or hazards. They really don't like calling them hazards anymore because hazards sounds hazardous and I'm sure the insurance companies have themselves a heyday over these things. Either way, four hazards to navigate is just never enough. Everyone crosses the finish line and is disappointed that its over and they are done for the day. Unless of course your horse/pony gets out there and goes a bit stupid on you. If you're fighting them the whole way, you might be glad there's only 4 hazards to get thru and you pray you survive.

After the insane speed Kat had in cones, when I walked the hazards... I made sure to leave plenty of room for him to run. Wider turns, straighter shots at the gates- it all meant that if we hit warp speed again, I could let him go with it. And after looking at our scores in each one, comparing them to the rest, well we, wait. Scratch that. I may need to rethink that plan.

Kat was again amped up for the hazards, but he didn't get up to the speed he dished out in the cones. One thing he did want to do was to run from one hazard to the next. Time in between doesn't count, at least not in the ADT's. In the CDE your time on the whole course counts as well as your time in each hazard. This makes it tricky. You want to rip thru the hazards with quick times, but relax and just cruise casually along between them so you don't get time penalties for going too fast.

The challenge to the hazards is that there are just the gates, the proper direction you go thru each one and not much else. I can look at the map and have one idea of how to do it. Several other people may see the exact same route thru it all. Someone else sees it and thinks of another way to do it. Who's idea is better? Well, the fastest one is, but you often don't get to watch anyone really go thru their test, so you stick with your plan and hope it works. You're too busy tacking up, putting to and warming up to be watching anyone go thru them. Even when you're done, you are unhitching and taking care of the horse(s), to see anyone else go and can only ask how it went. Bummer!

Best laid plans and all of that? Yeah, that can and sometimes does go right out the window in the moment of competition. My daughter Robin was my 'gator and she was riding with another entry so I hung out with Kat in the shade, waiting for them to complete their course. They were in training level and only allowed to trot, but also their times in the hazards don't count either. When they got back, she hopped off their cart and into ours and we were on our way. We were behind Ron and his pair of minis and a couple of times we were waiting for them to come out of a hazard so we could go in. It gave Kat a short breather and a chance to relax and get ready.

We went into and thru each hazard saying the letters of the gates as I guided Kat thru each one. As we blasted thru hazard 2 and came out the finish line, the timer and scribe said, "Nicely done" as I thanked them while we sped off to the other hazards. Going thru #2, I did feel the wheels on the cart break loose so we slid sideways thru the dirt. I love feeling it do that. My friend Sheri with her pony Treasure, got her cart up on one wheel going thru there. Her hubby/photographer got it on film and the crazy thing about that pic- they were both leaning into the turn and over the wheel on the ground. How they didn't flip it? Yeah, they were lucky.

We were doing well up until the last hazard. I had walked it with Sharan and gone thru what route I was going to take a few times before I realized by watching her, that I was going thru C the wrong way. Red on the Right! I had to change my plan a little, I walked it correctly a few more times. I stood on the edge and traced my way thru it with my finger in the air. I repeated it a few times, drawing the correct path for that hazard in the air... And when we got into #4, damned if I didn't head right into C the. wrong. flippin. way! As Kat went into it, I looked up at the red C on our left and a few things happened at that split second. Robin said "Uh, Mom?" I had just realized what was going on and said "Whoa" and Kat shut down instantly. Thankfully he stops like he does! I backed him up a few steps, turned him to the left just enough to clear the pole and sent him forward. We went around the pole and thru C the right way, circled around and came back thru D and out the finish line. After stopping the watch and noting the time, as I thanked the volunteers, they told me- "Nice save. You had about 1 foot to go and you would have E'ed out." Whew... That was close.

For having such a fast time in cones, our times in the hazards were comparably s.l.o.w. We were either in the middle or towards the end on every single one. I'm going to have to rethink this one a little... Obviously there is room for improvement there. One of my good friends told me to view the hazards as cones, just without the balls to knock down. This works in a way, since the space allowed in the hazards is not according to the width of the wheels on the cart, but a set width. Because there are no balls to fall down, you can get a little more loose as to how you approach and go thru the gates. We can take them at more of an angle than the larger ponies and horses because of the overall length of the turnout, from the tip of Kat's nose to the back if the cart.

I have also been asked if we win anything for our effort for the day. Nope. There are no ribbons, no prizes and our single scores for this ADT, don't really compare to the single scores from any of the other ADT's for this year or last year. We do get points for each placing that count towards the year end awards. The y/e prizes are usually pretty awesome, so yeah, its definitely worth the effort if you're a points chaser. The length of the cones course changes at each event with the change of the course. They are rarely the same one, but if you are consistently on the top of the board for fast speeds, you're doing something right. Of course fast and clear rounds (no balls down) are what you are shooting for because if you're fast but have multiple balls down, the penalties, 3 points per ball, are going to dramatically offset your speed. What good is fast if you're out of control?

Dressage isn't about speed anyways and if your horse isn't moving correctly to begin with, they aren't submissive or responsive to you as the driver and you aren't in control as their leader, as a competitor you both are more prone to accidents and injuries in the other two parts of the event. It all lends itself to the other parts of the competition. Even the CDE's aren't about the money. You get a beautiful ribbon for your efforts, the scores you bust your butt for and the knowledge of how well you think you did, what you need to work on and of what you learned out there being a competitor. As Hardy Zantke asked me at the end of section E on the marathon at our first CDE- "Did you have fun out there, that nothing anyone ever says can take away from you?" You just can't put a price on that!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

ADT #2 Wow

When we reached the arena for cones, there were a few people lined up around the edge of the grass to watch. There was a few couples who hadn't seen any such type of competitions and boy were they in for a treat. Jim had laid out another challenging course, that apparently tripped a couple of us up on cone 3.

My friend Sharan had completed her course and unhitched her mare so she was standing by to watch and cheer us on. My daughter Robin was my 'gator and she went to stand with Sharan since gators are only required in the obstacles. The pony before us was finishing up and when it was our turn, I trotted Kat into the arena on the grass and could tell he was ready to GO! We trotted towards the start/finish line, halted and saluted the judge and were ready to go. I kissed to Kat and encouraged him on and off we went.

Thru the start/finish and headed to #1 a multiple in a line the width of the arena. This was a breeze since you weave thru it like running poles in a gymkhanna. Kat had picked up a canter and since the cones are set wide enough for horses with their carts, we whipped thru them with ease. Cone #2 was dead ahead and as I kissed to Kat to keep him cantering along, it was like all of a sudden he hit another gear that I. didn't. even. know. he. had! What a Rush! He took off like a SHOT! The only thing I could think of was HO-LY HELL!

Kat was still under control but we were hauling ass, balls to the wall and running like hell. It's like my pony's tail and feet were on fire. We shot thru 2 so fast that I lost track of 3 and went the wrong way around 12 to get to it. We weren't lined up like we should've been and took 3 down but there was no time for looking back or worrying about it. We lined up for 4, when I realized I was sitting on the right headed into a left turn. I had to slide over on the seat to make sure our left wheel was going to stay on the ground as we went thru it.

It was a mad dash on to 5, 6 and so on. Kat was running and we were Smokin Hot as we went thru 7 and 8 at the far end and looped our way around. It was about then that I told him, "I know you wanted to run, but DAMN!!!" BLASTING thru 9, 10 and 11 I still had a slight hold of him and wasn't really encouraging him and said "You can slow down some." Yeah, slowing down was NOT on his agenda for cones. Banish the thought!

We rocketed thru the the course at crazy speed. I know I kept telling Kat easy, easy, easy, and was trying to slow him down, but still allowing him to run. I never once asked for anything more from him, instead I was hoping for a little less! I have never felt him run like that before and had no idea he could even go that fast. After we crossed the finish line I let him keep going and circled him around to make an extra lap of the arena. He did ease up and started to slow down and I even considered letting him make another lap to help him regain his mind, but he came back to me and eased into a trot as nice as could be.

Jim had stepped down off the bed of his truck and was waiting for us. He knows I always come back to hear my time and assess the damages (penalties for balls down) so he was ready with what I wanted to hear. He had this strange grin on his face as we stopped so I could shake his hand as I always do and thank him for another awesome course. I knew we had wiped out #3 in a big way and that turned out to be the only one. Jim was grinning when he said, "You guys did it in under 2 minutes." I asked what the time allowed was. "3 minutes." Our time was 1:59.62 seconds. That made me think again HOLY CRAP!

There have been times we were dang close to going over and getting time faults, so to be that far under? WOW! For all of his speed and whipping around on the course, Kat wasn't even breathing hard at all. In fact he was ready to go again and didn't want to stand still. He may have been able to do it, but I wasn't about to ask him for it. I was still just amazed at his speed and how easy he was to handle thru everything. I'm not sure if anyone got any pictures and if they did, I wanna see them! I'm not sure if the people watching were ready for that, but they sure got to see some action! Lol

Later when I checked the board, we had the fastest time in the cones for the day. The next closest was one of the mini's with a time of 2:03.2 seconds. We were the only entry to do it under 2 minutes. Had I not missed #3 and lined up for it the right way and just let him run, not asking him to slow down at all, I have no idea how fast we could've done it or what our time would've been. I'm not even sure I want to find out.

I know that as we move up, the cones will be narrower and time will still be a factor. As long as he's under control and responding, I can get him lined up and aimed at the cones like he should be- asking for or adding more speed will never be a problem. He sure proved that! I'm still reeling a bit from his performance, even now almost a week later. I have been asked if there is pony racing, if we are entered in the upcoming Kentucky Derby and a host of other similar questions because of his speed on Saturday in the cones. He's definitely a little adrenaline junky and from now on I may have to channel my inner Formula 1 driver for the cones courses. Sheesh!