Monday, October 25, 2010

Decisions and Goals

As most of you may know, I am quite an active cowgirl. Milo and I have enjoyed three years of riding on the Thunderbird Cowgirls Drill Team. While it is a very fun experience to ride in the rodeo every year, attend many community events, and even better, give back to the community through Corey's Day on the Farm and by raising awareness for the Northwest Burn Foundation, this year I am contemplating my continued involvmenet with the group.

Ive mentioned before how distracted and "behind" Milo gets during and after drill practices. We begin practices in February, and run all the way through June until our rodeo the last weekend in June. During this time, my other interests, reining, cows, mounted shooting get put onto the back burner as it gets to be too hectic (and expensive) to try and pursue them all.

I also end up spending nearly the entire summer after the rodeo getting Milo back where he needs to be. During drill, I am one handed because I carry a flag with the other. So that limits the corrections I can make with Milo when he gets hollow, bracing, or overly excited. I work as much as I can between practices to try and get him where he needs to be, but he is so smart he knows when we are practicing (be excited and crazy) and when we are at home (be collected and quiet). Its frustrating to feel like something that brings us a lot of fun hinders our progress in other areas.

We both really love working with cows. And we are both progressing everyday in our reining training. Ive looked at other possible shows in reining and cow work during the summer and would love to attend, but I know that the drill practices will make things difficult. Its hard on Milo (and me) to try and do it all. I feel I either need to be 100% into the drill team, or 100% into our reining cow work. 50/50 doesnt seem to work (not for Milo).

So that leaves the tough decision. Will we continue to ride on the drill team? A large part of me wants to continue to be a part of this great organization. An even larger part tells me that we want to do reining and cows and get a bit more serious in it. So I think my conclusion is to continue with the drill team - on a different horse. One problem, I only have Milo.

I plan to get another horse. But not in the next few months. Looking at maybe two years down the line. Priority first - getting Milo home. I would like to get a reining and cow bred horse to take to higher levels than Milo and I can go. If this becomes the case, than I would continue to use Milo for drill practices, and maybe mounted shooting. But this is still a ways away and doesnt help my scenario now.

I will use Milo at our upcoming try-outs on Oct 31. But after that? I dont think so. As many of my local horse friends and fellow cowgirls know, I have been mulling over this decision for a while. I will bring it up to the girls at the try-outs, and see if anyone has another horse they would be willing to let me use for practices and rodeo. If not, than I may need to step out. While I know that if I use a different horse I will miss using Milo at the rodeo, but for the sake of his training and progress I know that this is the right decision.

On to our goals. Milo is a performance and western pleasure bred horse all the way. So I know that we will never be at a pro level in reining or cow work. But it is something that we enjoy and we want to pursue. And depending on how far Milo comes along, I may or may not consider putting slider plates on his rear. I love keeping him barefoot, but it can hurt him to do hard stops on barefoot hooves.

Events I would like to go to:
  • Complete the Tacoma Unit Winter Buckle Series.
  • The Tacoma Unit also hosts their Horseplay Winter Series, put on by Lope on In. They have a reining class there as well, but it doesnt count towards any high points, but does qualify for APHA points. However, these run the same months as the Buckle Series above. Not sure if I will attend any of these.
  • The Lope on In shows consist of the above mentioned Horseplay series, but also holds the Jerry Prigge Memorial Show. It is a buckle show with buckles awarded to each division. This is held in September. I believe by that point Milo and I would be schooled well enough to give it a go. Besides I have heard it is a ton of fun.
  • Northwest Reining Association (NWRA) Shows. These run from May through September and are locatedin Lynden and Kirkland. I emailed the show steward and she said their club is geared towards beginner and intermediete reiners. Lyden is far for me, but Kirkland may be attainable. Their Kirkland one is in August. I will need to find out more information about if club membership is required, etc.
  • Ive also learned about the Northwest Reined Cowhorse Association (NWRCHA). I would be very interested in these events, as they are cow horse events, not just reining. However I cant seem to find much information about their shows including class lists, locations, or fees. Maybe since they are wrapping up the 2010 series, they will have more information posted after the new year.
Im leaning towards the Tacoma Unit shows most because they are only an hour away, whereas Lyden would be two and a half, and Kirkland about two.

So these are just some things Ive been mulling over for a while. And I feel like I have finally reached my conclusion. Hope things can get figured out, it would be great to continue riding with a great group of cowgirls and giving back to the community, while also pursuing my reining and cow goals.


Mare said...

I think it's great that you know what your goals are and where you want to go with Milo. Sometimes the best decisions are also the hard ones... Hopefully you can continue to enjoy both aspects of riding!

in2paints said...

Perhaps you can skip out next year and see how things go. Maybe you'll miss it and you can plan on going back the following year, or maybe you'll never look back.

It's great that you have Milo's best interests at heart and I know the two of you will have fun no matter what you decide! :)