Our first ever competitive trail ride went pretty good. We didn't place anywhere near the top, but we weren't at the bottom either. I had been holding off posting the report because I was hoping that the ride photographer would have some photos posted for the days riding, but so far the only photos I have are ones sent to me by Lisa from Laughing Orca Ranch. These were taken just as we were loading up and getting ready to leave on Sunday.
Ladybug was pretty nervous on the first day of riding and the wind didn't help much. The slicker obstacle was probably not the best choice for the day because many people had to ride up to a slicker that was blowing almost straight out to the side like a flag. Ladybug calmly walked straight up to the slicker and put her nose on it, but she decided that it wasn't safe enough for me to pick up. So we missed a few obstacles and have some things to work on for next time. She was totally PERFECT at the noise control obstacle. That funny little bicycle bell just doesn't rile her up after having had a .45 caliber pistol shot from her back. Our second day of riding was much better. The wind calmed down and we had a better set of obstacles. We managed to completed 5 of the 6 obstacles.
We had one obstacle that she's normally really good at (the trot a line and stop straight) but this time she spooked and was looking at something in the grass. Later in the ride I found out that a Rattlesnake had been found in the area near that obstacle. She had a nearly perfect score in the box turn and a really good score in the cross the tarp. I guess feeding your horses on the tarps at home in the pasture is a really good training technique.
I did find that I'm not as prepared as I could be to be really competitive, but we had tons of fun, met new people, and really enjoyed the weekend.
I've hired a local guy to help me learn more about training my horses for specific tasks and he will come by once a week now to watch me ride the girls and give me pointers. I've also signed up for a day long clinic with another well known local trainer for additional learning. I hope by the next ride, we will see an improvement in the scores.
Ladybug was the only registered Appaloosa/Colorado Ranger horse at the competition. On Saturday there was an unregistered Appaloosa gelding ridden by a teenager who placed third or fourth in the junior division. Ladybug represented the breed in the pleasure division and there were no others in the open division. The junior and her horse didn't come back for Sunday's ride, so that left only The Bug to represent the breed. She did well at showing her skills, temperment and willing attitude even if we didn't complete some obstacles.