Warning: gloating, self-promoting and bragging may follow and for that I'm truly sorry, but I'm pretty darn proud of myself! I got my back bone back a heck of a lot quicker this time then I have before. I totally Cowgirled Up today!
Ok, so after all of that I probably don't have to actually point it out, but I accomplished my goal of not hitting the dirt today. Wohoo! Go me!
I was still pretty darn sore this morning when I woke up, but quite a bit better then Friday (aka: the day after I learned that I don't bounce). I couldn't lift a stapler with my right arm at work on Friday because I was so sore but I was feeling much better today and even managed to tack my horse up all by myself! Wohoo! Go me! (2)
We got to the arena with plenty of time to get warmed up and hang out before we went in, which was the idea.
We some how managed to get totally front row parking. Wohoo! Go us! (2-1/2)
While we were getting tacked up one of the cows somehow managed to sneak out of the cutting pen, make it thru a half arena full of "cowhorses", squeeze thru the bungeed shut gate and get out into the parking lot. It always cracks me up when cows get out and it's such a huge deal to get them rounded up when we are all there to, ya know, work cows. We blocked it from heading in the direction of the street and it ran off down the lane of turnout paddocks. Eventually someone got it rounded up and back to the holding pens. Our girls were watching the whole thing intently, eyes bugged, nostrils flared so I had to grab my camera. Plus I love any excuse to take a picture of my horse's ass and post it. Doesn't she have a great ass?!?
Anyways, where was I...oh yes...we got tacked up and the half of the indoor arena allotted to warming up seemed a little crowded so we opted to hit the outdoor one for a bit. While I was long trotting a lap to make sure she wasn't going to find anything that would give her an excuse to take off bucking, I was putting a little contact on the reins and thinking something didn't feel right. I looked down at her head and saw that I had apparently lost the chicago screw holding the headstall to my bit. Yikes! I totally had a panic moment of the "oh my god, it's an omen. I shouldn't be riding today. It's a bad sign. I should just stick her back in the trailer, wish the boyfriend luck and call it a day!" Then I laughed at myself, hopped off, unclipped my rein, put it around Midori's neck, walked back to the trailer and found myself another chicago screw. I always keep extras in the trailer cuz you just never know when you will loose one. So, wohoo! Go me! (3-1/2) For not giving in to the panic and just getting back on!
Midori was still a little jumpy and snorty getting warmed up, but nothing uncontrollable. I was having fun on her and while I still had the little nagging voice in the back of my head saying, she could buck! I knew she wouldn't and I trusted her. I do love my horse and I trust her to take care of me. I just have to think ahead and be sure to do what I need to do to keep us in good situations.
Eventually the rain caught up to us, Sugar left us and Midori was starting to get antsy to see her friend. I got a couple good laps out of her, made sure she knew who was in control and that she didn't need her girlfriend by her side in order to survive and then we headed to the indoor arena where it was a little drier. We loped for a good long time in there too and then went over to the rail to watch some of the action.
My practice run was just before my class and I was first in the draw for both. I hate going first! While I was sitting there watching the crazy cows running every where, plowing horses over, scrambling to the wall and getting away from the horse over and over again, I started going to bad places in my head. I started picturing me getting cows like that and Midori freaking out and dumping me. The panic started rising and I was getting nervous. I felt my whole back tense up and my breathing turn a bit quivery. My hands weren't so steady on the reins so I crossed my arms and buried them. I closed my eyes and just sat there, taking deep breaths and trying to be calm for my horse. She knows when I'm nervous.
I decided we needed to ride some more. That seemed to be the only thing that kept my mind out of bad places. There were so many people riding around in the small space that I had to keep my mind in the game otherwise we'd have a wreck on our hands. So we walked some and loped some and I just concentrated on my breathing and not running into anyone. It helped. It cleared my head and made me realize that today Midori was totally solid so I had nothing to worry about. And that was that. My demons were beat. That was the last of my panic for the day. Wohoo! Go me! (4-1/2)
Finally, we are on the last couple riders in the class before my practice run. I loped around a little bit and then I was up. I picked one of the more vocal and helpful herd holders to help me and explained to him that it was my first time coming out of the herd and I just wanted to basically practice going into and coming out of the herd, not so much working. I just wanted to calmly and quietly walk thru the cows. He understood and helped me get the rest of my crew (4 riders out there with you, two herd holders and two turnback riders) and we were off! The herd of cows that I had were pretty jumpy and scattered before I even got into them. I made a couple deep cuts, picked a cow, cut it out, split it off and then turned around to go make another cut. I had 3 minutes to practice and a couple times I brought a cow out that just begged to be worked. So I did! I did get a runner, but it never even crossed my mind to be scared. We were solid. Midori did awesome and though I probably looked like a total newbie out there just screwing around, I wasn't doing that practice run for the working practice. I wanted the time in the herd, to be one with the cows. lol So the practice run was a total success and I walked out grinning ear to ear and hugging Midori's neck. Wohoo! Go me! (5-1/2)
Then it was time for my class. I wasn't worried about it at all. I had just come out of the herd for the first time and I survived! One little cow wasn't anything to worry about! And they weren't! The first cow I got was slow. The turn back riders had to move in a bit to keep her moving, but we got some really nice work with her! I called time with a minute left and they got me another cow. This one came into the arena with tail and head high. Hmmm....My time started again before I had a second to think about the implications. This one was a runner. But we worked it. And we worked it pretty darn well if I do say so myself. Even a couple times when he challenged our space and tried to chargy by on the wall Midori held her ground and we were all over that cow like white on rice! Wohoo! Go me! (6-1/2)
I did get a couple nice reminders of my fall while working that cow though. I have a really nice bruise on the inside of my thigh from (I believe) hitting the horn on my way off. Well, we had a couple hard stops while working that second cow and I slid into the pommel of the saddle. It hurt. A lot. But that didn't stop me! Wohoo! Go me! (7-1/2)
Finally the buzzer sounded, signalling the end of my run. Once again, I walked out of the pen grinning ear to ear. It was great! We scored a 72! Wohoo! Go me! (8-1/2)
I ended up getting second in the class, which also came with a nice little jackpot. Wohoo! Go me! (9-1/2) I don't remember exactly how many people were in the class but I'm pretty sure it was some where in the neighborhood of 6-8.
So it was a great day. Not only did I not hit the dirt, but I had a great practice run and won 2nd place in my class! I'd call that a success!
The boyfriend did pretty well in his classes also. Sugar had only been ridden once since before his surgery and was more then a little high spirited. Luckily she's "well behaved" when she's a spaz so not so much bucking or rearing, just whinnying, squirming, dancing, prancing, wiggle-worming, energizer bunny type stuff. She was still going strong when we walked out of the arena after probably 3-4 hours of loping. I'm totally not kidding. She's the freakin' energizer bunny, just keeps going and going and going and going.
I grabbed my camera after my run and took pictures of the boyfriend's runs and tons of random pictures. 99.9% of them didn't turn out well enough to make it here, but below are some of the ones I liked.
Midori watching the action.
The boyfriend warming up for his first class. That was the calmest Sug looked the whole entire day and I'm sure they only time she walked on a loose rein. I'm glad I caught it on "film" for posterity.
Peekabo! I see you!
After their second class. Don't they look happy? They had a pretty good run!
My pretty pony at the end of the day.
Mom, seriously! Enough with the camera! Will you put the thing down and come get this saddle off me already?!