Monday, August 8, 2016

Two More Ranch Shows!

Last Sunday I took Huck to a Ranch Schooling show, and this Saturday was our August club show.

I just love that the Ranch type events are increasing in my area.  I know I've said this before, but I really found a home in the ranch riding world.  No, I'm not really interested in running a cow down a fence, but I love the ground-covering and finessed world of the Ranch Horse.  I love the variety of classes between rail, patterns, trail, and a little cow work, but I don't have to change clothes/tack for each one like I did in the pleasure all-around world.

The schooling show on the 31st was about an hour's drive and at a place we'd never been to before.  The place does a lot of barrel racing events, but are looking at doing more ranch type shows.  It was a nice indoor venue, with a lot more room than I envisioned.  Footing wasn't ideal; really packed down rail along the rail and REALLY deep middle.  BUT one of the things I like about the ranch horse is that they can't be arena babies and only be able to work on smooth, even ground.  They have to have enough self carriage to cover all types of ground.

B and Ledger showed in the Open division, and Huck and I entered the Amateur division in Conformation, Showmanship, Ranch Pleasure (rail), Ranch Riding (pattern), and Horsemanship (pattern).  I think there were around 7 in the halter classes and around 11 in the riding classes.

We both won our Conformation classes!

1st in Conformation
2nd in Showmanship - Huck's first time!
6th in Ranch Pleasure
3rd in Ranch Riding
2nd in Horsemanship

I was very happy with him considering where we are post injections. We've been doing a ton of walk/trot and extended trot so all of that was great.  Our lope work felt a bit out of control, or at least it felt rough.  I sadly didn't get video so I don't feel like I know how it really went.  I was surprised we placed at all in the Riding and Horsemanship patterns, but since it was a schooling show, lots of riders had problems, too, and several of them chose to go 2-handed to school so they weren't placed.

I was especially proud of the Showmanship class.  As far as I could tell, he'd never been asked to set up or pivot or trot with a handler before I got him. He did really well and set up really quickly. Our two flaws were that he trotted off with his hip out and backed crooked.

This past weekend was our August Ranch Horse Show.  Huck's been holding steady since the schooling show so I was trying to stay positive and not let my anxiety about all the "what if's".  Will he get sore?  Am I doing to much?  I've been working mostly in walk/trot but we've been loping more and trying a few stops and lead changes.

We hauled in on Friday and I decided to school in the arena when it was warmer because there were fewer people than would be later when it was cooler.  He.  Was. So.  Good.  Very unlike the May show when I felt like every time we loped he was trying to do a rundown.  He was a little concerned about the tarps and cows, but didn't do anything big, just some twitches.

Friday night it poured down rain so Saturday started with a VERY wet arena.  They'd added new footing since the last show and now every hoof print was full of water.  I took Huck in to school during the cutting class just so I would know what he'd think of the arena.  When I took Junior to this show in 2013 we had wet footing and that arena baby just couldn't deal.  Huck was a trooper.  He didn't seem to mind the splashing at all.

My first class was Walk/Trot Ranch Riding.  It's really Ranch Pleasure 'cause it's just rail work, but since American Ranch Horse Association (ARHA) is still calling it Ranch Riding we do too.  I opted for the Walk/Trot since we've been doing mostly that for a while.  There were 17 in the class.  Huck worked really well.  His transitions were smooth and he help a nice frame.  We were faster than a lot of other horses so I stuck a bit to the inside.  His extended trot felt awesome.  When they called the placings (we place to 10) and got to 4th place I thought I hadn't placed, but I was still happy with the ride, so it was okay.  We ended up getting called for 1st place!

Notice the splashiness of the footing?
Reining was next.  I was trying so hard not to be nervous, but our last reining run was such a disaster.  Our lope circles were poorly cadenced, partially because of the footing, and partially because we are still working on loping more in our schooling rides.  But we got our two lead changes, three stops, two roll-backs, and our back-up and our single spins. (Ranch does fewer spins than usual in reining).  He stayed with me and didn't rush around or try to decide what we were doing, and best of all, he didn't flip out like the May show!  It was a huge change from our run in May so I was thrilled.  I couldn't believe we ended up with 2nd place with a 71.5! There are so many things we still have to work on, but I finally feel like we're somewhat on the right track to get there... probably shouldn't say that out loud...

Next class was the Green Boxing.  We hadn't been on a cow or even the practice flag since May.  I did stand in the line during the cutting for a bit so I could watch some friends do their runs and so Huck could watch the cows a bit and remember what they were.  Some of the cows were just so dead and some were total runners.  I ended up with a great little bald-face and Huck worked really well, especially for not having done so much as work a flag since May!  We ended up winning the class with a 74!  We even beat the people from the big cowhorse barn!  I'm sure there's a million things wrong with my ride, but for our 2nd time out I'm really happy with him.  He's very "cowy". ;)

Last class was Conformation at about 11:30pm.  We won!  I could not believe we won THREE classes and were 2nd in our fourth class!

Recap for those of you who are scrolling:
1st Ranch Riding Walk/Trot
2nd Green Reiner
1st Green Boxing
1st Conformation

Now the bad stuff, 'cause with this horse there seems to always be a bit of bad with the good.  Three times on Friday while I had Huck tied to the trailer, he jumped backwards.  He's jumpy anyway so I didn't think too much of it. He didn't pull away or freak out, just jumped back like he got stung or something. I check over everything but I didn't see anything that looked sharp or weird. But on Saturday, one of our friends was leaning on the trailer and realized he was getting an electrical shock from the fender!  We're still not sure what was causing it, but the trailer was hooked up to the RV which was plugged in to the RV elec. hookups, so there might be a faulty ground wire somewhere.    I accidentally let him get shocked one more time (though you think he'd stop touching it after the second time) while I was tacking up for my boxing class so we stopped tying to the trailer after that.  It's nice to be able to keep all of our tack in the trailer and tie there to tack-up rather than hauling all the tack into the barn. The door to the barn is just behind the trailer and our usual stalls are right there by the door.

Before we realized there was an issue... he stood quietly like a pro. :)

So Sunday morning he refused to load.  He's not been a good loader yet, so we'd spent the week before the schooling show going in and out of the trailer multiple times every day. Ledger was already in the trailer but Huck would NOT go in and got more and more agitated about going near the trailer.  I tried all the same quiet methods we'd worked on but he got more and more upset and eventually started kicking out.  I took him into the arena to lunge him and he was bucking and kicking on the line.  I made him work until he was asking to stop.  I didn't sweat him all up, but just got the edge off so he stopped offering to buck when I asked for the lope.  We ended up having to get two guys with a rope behind him to help encourage him and he finally jumped in and then was fine.  I HATE when that happens with a bunch of people watching.  Guess we'll be doing a lot more trailer loading  practice before the September show!


  1. Congrats on two AWESOME shows! You should be so, so proud and excited for your future together <3 Trailer loading is tough -- it takes so much time and patience to get right, especially if you have a horse that doesn't like it or has had a bad experience in the past.

    1. Thanks! We've been working on loading almost every day... when it's not raining...

  2. Congratulations on your results! :)

  3. Wow! You guys look amazing. I still WISH we had local ranch shows like that. What kind of saddle pad are you using on him?

    1. Thanks! The shows are awesome and there are more and more popping up around Ohio. I should do a post on my pads! Stay tuned!

    2. Yes, I'm curious! I recently did a post on saddle pads because I'm in the market for a new one. They're so expensive, so I'm trying to do my research first.