Padame turns five

Brad's beautiful blondie turns 5 today! She is spending her birthday weekend at a horse show (Thur-Sun). We drove 2 plus hours north to watch her be shown in two classes yesterday. AQHA Ranch Riding Level 1 and Working Western Rail.

It was obvious to me that Brad's girl is growing up and has filled in since I last saw her. We walked up and I got handed Padame "can you hold her..." of course I said yes! I hardly get to interact with her. We stood in the sun together, enjoying each others company 
while she was drying. I could feel her sweetness come through. I noticed her mane was more multi colored than I remembered. Padame's sooty/dark palomino coat dried to a glisten. 

Brad had driven up the previous day and ridden Padame in the practice ring. He opted not to show her at this show. Brad has been so busy at work and hasn't been able to ride consistently. He always puts the horse first and didn't think it was fair. Brad will start showing her at the next show coming up later this month. Looking forward to seeing him show again!

Padame has struggled with a few things at past training shows. As all young horses do. I wrote about it earlier. Last year and at an earlier MN show this season (we did not go). 

Yesterday she was better about the judges, and also being alone in the ring. Our trainer was super happy with her improvements!! "This was the first show that Padame wasn't so scared that she couldn't receive information from me. She missed some cues, but last year at this show I had a horse that was scooting sideways and backing up". It appears Padame has turned a corner :) 

So many things have changed with AQHA Ranch showing since I last attended a show. It has been sooo long that I had to look it up. I love Blogger for this very reason! Apparently the last time I attended a horse show was in 2018, when Brad was still showing Cierra. Unreal! I didn't go to training shows last year, add the COVID gap and a transition year. The proof is in the post.

AQHA has added/changed Ranch classes and terminology, and guessing some rules too. I didn't dig into it that deep.

2023 Ranch Classes offered

It was sad to see how small the show has become this year. Some large group trainers have retired. Several others took their crews out of State, to a fancier show down south. In addition, they changed the show format. I heard some were not happy about it and did not attend.

Typically you show twice, once on two different days. This show was three days of one day classes. Showing once in front of four judges, on the same day. It's great if you are having a good day. Not so good if you are not. Personally, I like it ~ ha ha! Less back-n-forth. 

Ranch Riding Level 1 pattern

Ranch Riding Level 1
(2:56 min)

They came in last out of three, which is expected when schooling. Their score wasn't too bad. Four judges gave them 65.5/65/63.5/65.5 with two penalties. One was during a lead change and the other I think was a second right turn. Not sure what some abbreviations stand for. 

There were only two entries in the Working Western Rail class. The sequence is called out and there are placements (no scores). It is similar to Western Pleasure...I don't get it. Perhaps it was added so more people would be interested in showing Ranch.

Attendance should be higher for remaining shows. I learned that MN and WI are working together, their sanctioned show points qualify for both States.

Working Western Rail
(3:49 min)

I found out this morning that WI Quarter Horse shows have gone digital!! Whoot whoot! There is a company that enters show details (via scribes). Gone are the days of waiting around to take photos of score sheets and trying to decipher chicken scratches. As someone who used to do digital work for a living, WOW I was super impressed with their app!! This detail girl got so excited seeing all the scoring data mesh together! Brad thought I was totally ridiculous.

I almost skipped going to this show. It was another blazing hot day. I had errands and a zillion things to do. I am really glad I went! It wasn't too bad in the shade and it was so nice to see everyone. Especially Padame <3



Every turnout day is different for Cierra and Hope. So far between weekends/holidays/staycation days/our daughters help, we have managed to turn them out every morning. Brad frequently comes home from work mid-day (when he can) to help bring the duo inside. It is tempting for one person to lead them together, but we prefer to be cautious. Everything is going super well with Hope, and we want to keep it that way.

The day will come when morning turnout doesn't work and they will need to stay inside. We are in a stretch of horrid hot weather, with no rain. Afternoon turnout is just not an option.

Thankfully mornings are still cool-ish. By the time the sun is baking, they are ready and asking to come inside. It is refreshing to walk into the cool breeze of the barn.

Remember that lush pasture? One word = yellow. Our hay fields are spindly at best, and new planted hay fields cannot even begin to grow. The few rain chances we had/have do not materialize. Well, except for the three drops that fell yesterday. Just a tease. I swear the sparse rain drops dried up before they hit the ground.

On days we have a little more time, they get to stretch their legs twice. Outside and inside. The activity level is very different. Although both turnouts wear Hope out. Hope inside = run, act like a nut and get in trouble for eating sand. Hope outside = munch/sleep on fresh grass, put up with pesky flies and knicker to her humans to make sure we didn't forget about her.

Who could forget about Hope?! She has completely stolen our hearts!!

Hope has become even sweeter. Cierra's demeanor seems to have passed onto her. Hope never wants us to 
stop interacting with her or leave. She appears to be very smart and catches on quickly. Mimicking her mama. Even the not so good stuff. Hope also watches our every move. She is very curious and trusting. I think Hope is going to continue to be a fun horse to teach new experiences :)

Some outside images:

Hope wakes up like I do

the sticky spot

evidence that I do work with Hope

Side note: I had no idea Brad was taking video of us. Also, Cierra did not spook she tripped over the shifting terrain (concrete lip). I told my kids I have eyes in the back of my head, but I really don't. Shhh!

We switched to me doing all the haltering & leading with Hope. Brad really wants me to connect with her, me too. However, she is a baby learning when it is okay to let go of energy. I can barely hold Hope when she pulls. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. See video below. Unfortunately, I am wired with morning grogginess. Not a good combo for leading Hope at 6-7am, with a torn rotator cuff. Lately Brad leads Hope outside and I take the easier (and awake!) lead inside.

getting walked around after being rushy

Some indoor images of a second afternoon turnout:


Sorry Hope, indoor turnout is for more than zoomies

Hope at 6 weeks (and one day)


Hi-ho Hi-hope...

...outsi-ee-ide we go! What a wonder-filled day the first outing was, and continues to be. After Hope's first brief encounter with the wild outdoors, she has been turned outside every day with Cierra.

We decided to set up panels in the upper pasture, where we can see all the horses from inside our house. It takes two people to walk Cierra and Hope in hand. There is partial shade briefly in the morning. Turnout time and length varies depending on variables. 

Hope has been handling the outdoors very well. She completely surprised us by how well she walked in/out in-hand!! Especially the first few days. Brad said it was as if she puffed her chest out, proudly walking past the other horses to show them she was a big girl.

It is not the easiest walk to their paddock. There is varied changing terrain of concrete, gravel, grass, at an incline/decline. There is also lumpy freshly dug dirt ('er sand) from removing trees to create a new entrance to the upper pasture. Sometimes Hope gets sticky feet for a bit in that area (yellow arrow).

We walk between trees, and under a canopy of branches. Through the pasture, to their moveable paddock. We have already relocated panels once to a new spot with fresh grass in the pasture. 

entrance/exit to upper pasture

view from the concrete barn patio)

The tall pasture grass must tickle and the urge to run is 
real. We also walk past the big horses calling out at their gate. The first few days they created a lot of energy. They want to be in the lush upper pasture and meet the newcomer.

you are leaving us here?

exploring the new digs

view from our deck

calling her fan club (16 sec)

testing out the footing (24 sec)

As you can see, Hope does stretch her legs in the paddock but doesn't get the zoomies like she does in the indoor arena.

sassy pants kicked her mom (25 sec)

I went back inside for my camera. Hope kept coming over to me. That doesn't work well for taking photos with a long lens! There were also weird pockets of half shade and sun. Not to mention the constant fencing. I consider all of these outdoor photos as memory photos.

Hope has been doing well with daily haltering, but it is still tricky to get on. Once she see's mama start leaving the stall, she usually gives into our ask and stands still-ish. For now it stays on during turnout, but not in her stall. We are almost past evasive moves and insta-backing. Almost. 

first turnout day

Cierra was sooo happy to be outside!

It is close to impossible to take unobstructed photos in a paddock. R
egardless, I took a few more photos with my camera on their second turnout day. 

second turnout day

what Koda thinks of them eating lush grass

Hope at almost 6 weeks old


stretching and leading

On May 15th Hope was 5 weeks old. I did not take any good photos of her from the 14-19th. This stretch of days was all about getting her to give to pressure/lead. The goal was to be able to walk her out/inside safely, in hand. We did not want to do the "baby will just follow momma thing" for various reasons.

It was also about getting both horses to do something besides stand at the indoor gate. 
Especially Cierra. Brad started light lunging, just to get her moving a little. It also provided a visual for Hope on how Mama behaves, as well as a distraction from attempts at eating sand.

What I did take was video snippets of Hope's progression. She is a very smart cookie! I helped with leading Cierra. 

Day one:

morning stretch
5/14/23 (20 sec)

first lesson was early evening
5/14/23 (37 sec)

5/14/23 (28 sec)

5/14/23 (11 sec)

a lot of progress for one day
5/14/23 (27 sec)

Day two: Brad continued short sessions of working one on one with Hope. 

our son helping lead
5/15/23 (26 sec)

Day three:

more stretching
5/16/23 (34 sec)

more leading
5/16/23 (45 sec)

We did more stretching and leading inside on the two 
days that followed. Hope's first time outside was short and sweet:

what is this green stuff?

It was sweet to see how quickly Hope came around to Brad's sage communication! She is now being led in/out of her stall, like a big girl.

Hope could not have behaved any better

Disclaimer: The way Brad works with Hope may not be the way everyone would teach/train. I encouraged him to forget the (edit) endless video training chatter (edit, edit) and do what you know from past experience having/working with foals.

This has been an unforgettable experience! My heart is full of hope.