In The Ring, Show Report, Alabama Obstacle Challenge Series, L&C Horsemanship Ranch, October 2019, Part 2

Overcoming Obstacles in Our Way


Alabama Obstacle Challenge Series [Part 1 In The Pink]

Novice. 0 of 10/11, score of 72.5 out of 100. First time in a ridden obstacle class.

The Prep
As with last time [Pink Is His Color], I waited to see how he/I/we felt before entering. Fortunately, the show had a pen for warm-up and a mounting block in the pen. Walked around the pen a few times. Got on, more easily than last time. Walk was a hair quick but mostly calm. Trot was a little tight, but manageable, especially since the course had a lot of walking and looking.

Let’s do this.

Since we entered late, we had to go first. No problem, they do that same with with jumpers and, I think, hunters. That meant I couldn’t let time and the sun help him unwind. I needed an active warm-up rather than a passive one. As we started our bendy exercises [Lesson Recap], I could feel/see (yes, I was looking at my horse) him putting his game face on. Ground crew reminded me to do the walk exercise-trot-walk exercise maneuver. That works so much better than simply upshifting to trot. I need to remember that.

We moved over to the waiting area. Rodney stood. He quietly and politely asked, ” … um … where’s my village? … I know I have to go in the ring by myself … can I have all of my people with me until then, please? … oh, here he is … that’s good …”

I was so proud of him for walking to the big, over-stuffed arena. Everything after that was gravy.

The Class

1. L back walk in back out

We stopped halfway through the zig, as instructed. Unfortunately, his size-large posterior had not made it completely around the turn. We got dinged for making the turn too short.

2. Step up

Given how well he did the platform at the last show, I had hopes. When he didn’t like the looks of this one, I circled around so that we were headed toward the in-gate. He got a foot up. I made an excited squeaky noise. He got startled and pulled his foot down. We tried again, but I had blown it.

3. Step over log walk around cone walk back over log

Sounded easy enough, particularly since he had been through it twice. I had a more trouble than I expected redirecting the momentum to turn back out. Things look different when one has a saddle on, I guess.

4. Tree barrel noodles

Not gonna happen. He dislikes things hitting his sides [It Touched Me!]. No way was he going between those barrels. If he did, he’d squirt out of them like a watermelon seed. I compromised and told him if he walked between the barrel and the tree, I would count it a victory.

5. Trot/gait a figure 8 around haunted hay maze

Steering around the circles not great. About what we had at the dressage show [Words].

6. Turn on the haunches 180 in the box

I have yet to understand how to fit a circle or half circle of radius = 1 horse length into a 10×12 box. He was okay with it, but did better in warm-up.

7. Haunted car wash walk up halt say trick or treat walk though

Wind was not in our favor this time, blowing the fabric straight at us. Nope. Direction was not specified, so we circled and walked thorough with the ghosts blowing away from us. Clever on my part, I thought.

8. Side pass 4 steps in front of pole

Did great. 4 steps like he was the one counting.

9. Rope gate open only

Even though we did this fine in-hand, I did not expect it to go flawlessly under saddle. He has trouble coming alongside gates [Gotta Go Through It]. Then the animated skull went off. Either it didn’t during the in-hand, or we didn’t notice. Rodney would get close, but not close enough. I finally leaned over farther than I should and flicked the rope off the hook. The task was Open-only, so I could let it drop. Through we went.

10. Pick up net bob for apple replace net

He doesn’t have problems picking things up at home [ibid]. I expected to have no trouble here, Unfortunately the net was lava and he would not get near it. I got the sense that his brain was full. I finally reached out and got two fingers on the pole to pick it up. He started backing away. Dropped the pole and raised my hand. We were done.

On the way out, I asked what he thought of the apples. Still not interested.

Walking away from the arena, he started to get shirty. I looked around. Was he spooking at something? No, he was making a statement, ‘I am not a Saddlebred. I do not get ridden back to the barn/trailer.’ He’s right. House rules say rider dismounts after work. ‘You may get off my ass now.’ Yes, sir.

The Future
I wondered about adding trail classes next year. We’re be at the show already. So I stayed to watch.

First maneuver. Enter round pen with cows. Say what? Push cows ahead of you. That’ll be an entire can of nope.

Second maneuver. Rope fake cow head. Rodney would not go near the cow head in the photo. I cannot imagine him standing still while I roped a sibling. Not enough nope in the world.

Unlisted obstacle. After three obstacles in the arena, horse and rider took a meander up the driveway, across a pasture, and down to the trail obstacle space. Right next to the space lived a mini and a donkey. Rodney spent the entire show obsessed with the minis. I honestly don’t know if he was scared of them or wanted one so that he could hug it and squeeze it and call it George. He thought the donkey was weird. He would have spent the entire trail class staring at the audience.

We’ll stay in the arena for now.

The Scoresheets
Note the 5/5 for horsemanship on the second page. I think the judge liked me talking to Rodney.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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