Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Infamous 66 1/2

Saturday Milo and I attended the fourth show of the Tacoma Unit's Winter Buckle Series. Like the show before, we didnt stay for the sorting and in he future will not either. Milo and I just arent competitive enough to warrant spending the money on it so instead we will try and just school with them here locally.

It was 34 degrees when we left the house this morning, but the roads werent slick. Milo loaded up and we hit the road. Once we go off the main drag in Tacoma however, the roads where frosted over and quite slick. At one point the trailer went off one direction then the truck. That scared me for a moment but we were only about a half mile away from the showgrounds and we made it just fine.  

I had the opportunity to ride in Sarah's Cowhorse Equipment saddle the night before (dont even get me started on that ride: seven riders in the arena, SEVEN! I wasnt getting any work done. Not to mention two new lesson horses arrived and for whatever reason they wanted to ride one of them and bring the other in. Why not wait until either the arena clears out, or just give the horses some time to get used to their new place before getting on? Beats me. So one horse was calling and calling and Milo was so distracted and we were barely able to even trot with so much traffic in the arena. I waited it out and just walked him around and around and worked on lifting and bending. It wasnt too bad anyways because it was giving both he and I a chance to get used to the saddle). Anyways, we had a good work out once the arena was cleared, but Saturday when I sat down in the saddle again, apparently the bars of the saddle just did not line up nicely with my rear and I was sore. I wondered if I could ride effectively for the show, but after only a few minutes my bum seemed to forget about it (but not now as I type this, it is still sore - definitely not a saddle for me to buy thats for sure). 

It looked so pretty on Milo though, and we got to use our new saddle pad! I love these colors on him. 

As I warmed up Milo felt pretty nice, but a bit stiff through the left side of his neck. Not bracing, not really stiff in a sense that you might consider, but just not as loose as he normally is (all the more reason to see Sarah again). He trotted nicely and was working well, and I pushed him into the lope and he loped nicely, we worked on our lead change (changed from a simple change to instead a stop than lope off in new direction. This is allow me to better set him up for the new lead). But I still had about fifteen minutes before they would drag the arena and start practice runs. Drat! I got on and worked too early. This meant I had to keep Milo moving or else he would cool down then want to be done. But also, if I kept working him too hard he would get drained for the actual run and get both pissy and annoyed, and not work well. Shoot. 

I kept him walking, worked on spins, and bending. Finally we were in the hole, and I put him up into a lope. He was a bit sassy at first but finally got over it and worked well. I got to watch one run before me then we were called in. 

Milo calmly walked along the wall, then we stopped in front of the judges, just the same as the patterns before. After acknowledgement, we started our spins to the right. He was crooked for the first turn, but finally started getting a little cadence on the second, but then we were done with that direction. I was pleased with our straight stop though however. As I put him into the left spin, he just wasnt staying straight through his outside shoulder and ended up just walking a circle. I was disappointed because we had been doing so well on our spins at home and even in the warm up. Later as I contemplated this in the truck, I realized its probably because both at home and in warm up, I walked him into the spin, I never start the spin at a stop like in the showpen. This has to be it - he has no forward impulsion to balance him over his rear. Aha, now I know for next time to just walk him up a step or two than begin the spin. 

So I re-situated and got ready for our lope departure. I pushed his shoulder out and his hip in. We picked up the lope from a standstill, but it was joined with a higher head and a less than lifted back. Our circle was feeling a bit off, but then he finally lifted up a bit and our second large circle felt good. Then we had to transition down to a slow lope and he was just not feeling round and balanced again. The circle was quickly up though, and we stopped and got ready for the new lead. His shoulder popped out in the new circle and he wasnt getting off my leg. So the first fast circle was off again, but he finally cadenced better for the second one, then there was the small circle again and the insensitivity to my leg. But we finished the circle and got on the new lead. 

We came down the long side and I tried to prepare myself for the inevitable stop at the end. I was focusing so much on making it past the last cone and trying to get the last stride the largest, I didnt put Milo back into a lifted frame. When I asked for a stop be popped me up out of the saddle and it felt bad. We backed and were done. For good measure I sent him into a trot and a stop, to which he parked his butt. Again with me overanalyzing everything again and forgetting to just ride. 

So I felt we did good, not as well as I know we can do but its expected to not necessarily be your best when at a show. I was quite pleased overall however; our warm up was fantastic and I know we have our spins going much better even though it was not exhibited in the showpen. 

I cooled him out on the ground and the cow truck came in for the cutting and sorting to come. Milo got really excited when he saw the cows and kept trying to walk over to them. Sorry Milo, no cows today. We heard the results and Milo and I took second out of three. I almost thought I would have taken first after watching one run, but was not really that disappointed. 

We were scored a 66 1/2 total score, only 1/2 away from the winning score of 67.(same score as two shows ago when we took first - I just havent gotten better then that score yet! But I will!) with -1 on our first spin, -1 1/2 on the second spin, perfect 0 on our left circle, -1/2 on lead change, perfect 0 on right circle and 0 on lead change, and a -1/2 on stop and back. I was quite surprised that we got 0s on our circles as I thought they were uneven, but we were centered on pattern. Im glad to see we got a 0 on lead change too and thought we did worse of a stop and back then awarded. But Im not complaining!

I put Milo's cooler on and we loaded him up and headed home. Overall, satisfied and eager for the next show in two weeks!  Heres a big THANK YOU to Boyfriend and Sarah. :)

Are we ready to go home now? Cookies for me?


Rising Rainbow said...

Geez, you and Milo were in my neck of the woods. I should check the schedule to see when stuff is going on, I guess. I'd have loved to come watch the young reiners.

I love Milo's new pad. Those are the kind of pads I prefer to use but haven't been able to find any for a while. Did you find it somewhere locally??

It's cool you got video.Your go looked better than you described. While Milo may not have been as together as you know he can, he looked soft. That's pretty cool.

Milo looks quite handsome in his cooler.

paint_horse_milo said...

Thanks for the nice compliments. The Tacoma Unit's website has all of the activities listed on their website.

No, I bought the pad online from a seller on a horse forum I frequent, but I agree, these types are my favorite too. I have a hunter green one thats just solid, but fraying and worn out. PLus I like these colors better on Milo than hunter green.

Thank you, it always feels worse then it looks I guess lol.

Story said...

That saddle is so beautiful...shame it turned out to be uncomfortable. The pretty Circle Y that I had gave me bruises right on my seat bones. It was horrible! I could barely handle riding two days in a row. My current saddle is very plain but oh so comfortable!

That looks like an awesome show, makes me wish I lived around there. Milo is starting to have some really nice can tell he's understanding. I think you're going to start seeing your scores go up. You both look really comfortable and relaxed out there.

Rena said...

I thought you looked AWESOME!!!