a different show season

2019 proved to be a different show season for Brad, for several reasons. Mainly because it was just Brad & his trainer from the barn showing Cierra. Our Ranch buddy ended up not showing at all due to family illness. Other past attending Western/English riders from the barn either moved onto other trainers, or decided showing at lower levels was a better fit. A sweet young teen we've known for years (brand new to showing) got a schooling class under her belt towards the end of the season. Intimidating level to begin at, but she grew up around horses and is a good rider.

Brad agreed to go to five shows, adding a new one this season. At the last minute, they ended up pulling out of the very first show. Cierra has developed allergies and needed medicine. AQHA shows do random drug testing, and give penalties for positive results to both owner & trainer. They decided it wasn't fair to Cierra, and didn't want to take the associated risk. They ended up attending four shows after all.

new venue (to us) was the second first show

record hot humid temps made for a very small show
our grands came to watch Brad anyways

The first couple shows Brad placed near the end of his classes. His trainer didn't do a whole lot better. I guess there were positive things happening that they achieved. I would be remiss if I didn't say after endless years of non-stop training, it's hard to watch the same struggles in the same areas. Let me make one thing clear, it's not remotely related to winning. It's about what I see, and inevitably hear. With all that *not* being said, Brad continues to be happy with his choices and that is all that matters. 

I wish he would bring sweet Cierra home, to be a horse. She deserves it, and then some. I believe she needs to rejoin her family and breath fresh air on a regular basis. Of course that means he would need to buy another show horse. Sigh. It is completely his decision on when to "retire" her, and no doubt a hard one. If only we had a riding arena, Cierra could benefit from a change over the winter. I am supportive, really I am. I'm more then thrilled Brad is living his dream!! I even slap a smile on and attend all his shows. See :))))) 

Another difference this show season is that Brad is no longer showing Cierra in Ranch Conformation. For a couple reasons. It is always the last class making the shows excruciatingly long, and she is older now. Conformation is a young horses class.

Tank (7 months) at Brad's third show
Brad really wants our puppy to be a show dog. I brought Tank to a couple shows. It's hard being the new guy, when most dogs live at the shows. There are gazillions of dogs (many run loose) and Tank doesn't know what to make of the show dog madness. He did pretty good, but I end up watching only Brad ride from afar and leaving early. It's just too many hours. I missed Brad feel the thrill of putting it all together for the first time this season. He even won his Ranch Riding class under two of four judges (out of 11) at his third show. Impressive considering the majority of his competition are very seasoned talented riders, that show a lot.

AQHA Ranch Riding continues to evolve as a discipline in the Midwest. Class numbers have increased, judges are more familiar with requirements and patterns have become more difficult. Especially Ranch Trail. Sadly Youth Ranch classes continue to have little to no entries. A sign of the future. The young gal that showed with us went in Open, instead of being the only one in Youth. You have to be 18 to show in Amateur. 

Brads show season typically ends with a four day State Show on Labor Day weekend. The venue is closer to us, so I was able to leave Tank at home. Brad practiced and waited alllll day to show, into the evening. Waiting for endless hours is sooooo boring!! I felt so bad for Brad when he scratched, just before getting called up on deck. Cierras allergies suddenly flared up. It was extremely dusty, a lot of horses were coughing. Something to do with the shavings. Brad loves his horse, and made the only right decision. They loaded the two horses earlier then planned, and took them back to the barn between Ranch show days. Thankfully Cierra improved enough to show the last day. Brad & Cierra had nice rides, and ended the show season with positive rides. 

If you are interested, below are video clips from his last rides at the State Show. Ranch Trail is first (2:40 min) For reference, three judges placed him 3rd, 4th, and 5th out of 12. The second video is Ranch Riding (1:40 min) he got 2nd and two 4ths, out of 15 entries.

Happy that Brad was able to put things together and feel good about their rides!! They practice weekly (year round) and he really loves his beautiful girl. I love watching them together, they make a good team!


Linda said...

An indoor arena--yes, you need one. It would be great if you could bring her home. Sounds like Brad enjoys the competition and the preparation for it. I can see why. I kind of feel like every trail ride I take is a "competition." I get to see how our work has paid off. I do think the ranch riding is the absolute best of the best--because horses are doing what they love to do.

Grey Horse Matters said...

First of all Tank is a very handsome boy! Seems like Brad and Cierra did very well at the shows. He's a good rider and the classes look like fun.

It would be great if you could bring her home for the winter and let her see her herd. It might also help her allergies. Fresh air and a relaxing time do wonders for their minds too. There's no need for a riding arena, we ride our horses in the pastures and just make sure the rest of the herd is either locked in the catch pen or left in the barn while we ride so nobody gets bothered. It's fun to ride out of the ring and it's good for their heads to get out of arenas and explore. It's especially fun in the snow!

Shirley said...

Nice to see the videos. I can see a couple of areas he could work on to get better scores but what a nice mare, she seems quiet and willing. Has Brad thought of checking out Cowboy Dressage? Not Western Dressage but Cowboy Dressage, which focuses on the partnership and soft feel between you and your horse. I bet he would do well at it.
Those allergies seem to be an occupational hazard for horses who live in show barns and spend lots of time in arenas. Good for Brad for putting his horse first.

C-ingspots said...

They both look really good working as a team. But there are so many advantages to bringing the horse home to have mental time off, and to breathe fresh air and just be a horse. I believe it makes them better in the end.
Tank has grown so much! And what a cutie he is!
Glad to see you're all doing well and enjoying life.

aurora said...

Linda, I believe Trail Riding is the ultimate discipline. A combination of everything done in an arena, and much much more. The people who say "oh, you JUST trail ride" are either not trail riders, or need to try some new trails. There is a reason it's hard to find a good trail horse. I could go on for hours on this topic, but I know you totally get what I am saying.

Arlene, I can all but guarantee Cierra's "allergies" would disappear at our place. Let's just say I am not a fan of heated barns. I know what you are saying about pasture riding (we used to do it all the time) but Brad wouldn't be able to safely ride Cierra like he would need to. Especially in the Winter. He thinks it's harder on the horses that go in and out of training (aka shape, many go out to pasture or worse stand around) and I agree.

Shirley, Brad isn't interested in either Cowboy/Western Dressage. On the other hand I was, before it became a recognized discipline and way before they split. Many moons ago I took lessons and rode "that way" for a couple years. I was one of few riders in a Western saddle taking group lessons at a Dressage/Sport Horse barn. I absolutely loved it! It's where I learned to ride with a horse, not on a horse. Koda would have excelled at it, but it's not very prevalent around here.

Nice to hear from you Lorie, and I agree. At 10 months Tank is 76.4 lbs of pure puppy love. Non stop laughs, he keeps us on our toes.