Well this past weekend was our last ACTHA ride of 2010. Keith since he finally got his own saddle that fits him also decided to come along. We took Ladybug for Keith to ride and I took Baby Girl on her first ever competition. Ladybug now has quite a bit of experience with camping over night, being tied to the horse trailer over night and riding out with a lot of different other horses. Keith also got in a few firsts since this was his first competition and his first time out to any of the events.
Baby Girl however got all her major firsts all in one shot this past weekend. This was her first time to ever be tied to the horse trailer over night. We put her on the side closest to the dressing room door just in case something happened and we needed to get out to her fast. Well she stood perfectly all night long and she's now banned from being on that side. Her present to us for taking her along was to nicely deposit all her manure right in front of the dressing room door. She is now banned from being on that side of the trailer. Ladybug is nicer about depositing presents away from the door.
This was also her first ever experience being blanketed. It got quite cold overnight in the mid 20's and even with all the hay we fed she would have been cold standing tied to the trailer. The only time the blanket bothered her was the first time she had to lift her tail to relieve herself.
Another first was that she had never been out on a trail ride with more than two other horses. She was not used to having horses behind her and horses in front of her. We spent the first couple of miles checking backwards and forwards. Once she got used to horses coming up behind her and passing her she was fine with everything.
Her final first was that this is her first competition of any kind. I believe she did extremely well for a young green horse and all those first experiences to deal with.
The obstacles went like this.
1. Canter a large circle. I didn't make Baby girl do this one as she was still really nervous and as a young horse, we haven't really worked on cantering yet. I've only been working her training mainly in a walk and trot so we trotted the big circle. Keith and Ladybug also trotted I think mainly because Keith hasn't had much time to get used to riding Ladybug and just didn't feel ready to canter.
2. Jump a small log. For the pleasure division we had the option of trotting or cantering to the jump and then jumping. Baby Girl trotted up to the log, but got distracted by the judges. Once I got her attention focused, we ended up stepping over the log. She didn't jump and we also haven't practiced that one. Ladybug followed and she also kept looking at the judges before she stepped over the log. Most of the other horses in our group ended up going around the logs completely instead of going over them.
3. The Gate. This was a big metal gate with a heavy chain that made lots of noise. Baby girl didn't mind the noise as much as Ladybug. Both the girls got through the gate, but Ladybug acted up more than Baby Girl. I think Ladybug was flexing some muscle to see how Keith would react. He did good and made her work like she should.
4. The Log drag. Since we had been practicing this one both Ladybug and Baby Girl did really well on this one. There was no fussing at all. I hope we each get scored really well on this one.
5. Garland on the Christmas tree. This obstacle was quite a challenge for many horses. We were supposed to ride up to a person holding a coiled strand of garland, pick up the Garland and ride over to a small tree and string the garland around the tree. Baby Girl did fairly well. She did get a bit goofy at the tree because she wanted to rub on something so she walked right into the tree. After she was done her rubbing we finished decorating the tree. She wasn't spooked by the garland though and that's a really good thing. Keith did well with Ladybug also except for one thing, she slowed down and got behind the garland and spooked a bit. Keith had to drop the garland and come back around and pick it up and continue.
6. Side pass to Santa. We were to step across a log and side pass over to the Santa (real human) standing on top of a water tank. Baby girl did well but bumped a log. We are still working on her side pass so my cues were pretty obvious, but she did it and did it calmly. Ladybug is not good at sidepassing in the first place and Keith doesn't really know how to do the cues to try and make her either. But she wasn't scared of the Santa and walked right up to him for the candy cane.
So that was the last ride of the year. Both Keith and I need to work on things but we had fun, and did well for all those first time experiences. Poor ole Beastie (the ugly blue truck) is really in trouble though. We had some major difficulty just getting up the 9 mile hill into Albuquerque. I don't think Beastie will make it much longer unless we prolong his life with a replacement engine and transmission. It's either that or buy a complete replacement truck which is currently out of the budget range. We will have to see what happens for the rest of the winter and decide soon what we want to do. If we want to keep competing, we will need to do something.