unexpected obstacles

We went on our first ACTHA Ride for the Mustangs at Ukarydee yesterday. We rode as buddies of our trainers client/friend, and loved it!! Our trainer Patty was suppose to come with us. She so wanted to do the ride herself, just as much as she wanted us to do the ride. However, unexpected serious family matters came up. Just as we were pulling off the interstate headed to her place in the wee hours, we got the call from her.

Before we could suggest turning around, she said "take my truck & trailer, I'll call my friend and let her know you are on your way". Wow...talk about obstacles...take away the comfort of a trainer, put yourself in a truck you've never driven, in a larger horse trailer then you're used to hauling, without your trailer stuff, taking young horses to their first large group ride, to a competition you've never done, with people you've never met, to test a brand new saddle. All I can say is, we are very honored to have our trainers full trust in more then one way.

Nemo & Koda upon arrival, pretty unconcerned with their new surroundings.
We were greeted with a very warm welcome. Have I mentioned lately, I can't believe how friendly horse people are? We met new friends, let our horses settle in, and listened to the rider/obstacle intro before heading out on the trail. Both hubby & I agree ACTHA is a very friendly welcoming group, who's focus is on enjoyment and safety. Buddy Riders are not judged, but are allowed to do the obstacles as long as competitors are not waiting - a great way to find out if this type of competition is for you, and if your horse is ready. We had previously done a pleasure ride at Ukarydee, it was our first traveling trail ride ever with our boys a little over a year ago.

We were the first group to head out, down the road we went. The obstacles were challenging, but a lot easier then expected. Our young horses were more then ready to overcome unexpected obstacles, and apparently so were we. The first obstacle was a rope "gate" that we would have liked to have tried, but alas rider's were behind us. Koda backed up to meet the new horse from the group that was suddenly inches from his butt, with raised ears. He could have listened to my never mind/forward cue sooner, but I can't entirely blame my curious boy. Most riders would not have approached so closely... We continued on and found out, the approaching group was not part of the ACTHA ride. Who knew? We moved on, enjoyed the scenery and tried other upcoming fun obstacles.

Our ride included a combination of grassy area's & woods.
Brad & Nemo are ahead, along with Peggy & Chris on their respective mounts.
...we rode through pines...
...through open grassy area's...leading to trail obstacles...
...Chris and her Palomino just completed the mounting obstacle...
Brad & Nemo looking up at the hat on a stick.
They completed the hat obstacle, in a super fast 5 seconds!

We were all successful! Koda & I only took 10 seconds (35 was the max).
...Koda thinking, it's sooo hard to wait our turn...

The ride was not without it's challenges. We ran into the aforementioned group at another key point, where Chris's Palomino wound up to kick the very same horse that Koda had looked wonky at...weird...97% of the ride was calm and very enjoyable. Considering the large number of horses at this event, we didn't run into a lot of other riders. 

Being the experienced rider that Chris is, she spun her horse around and avoided confrontation (aka kick). The strangest part is, at the very end of our ride while heading back on the road "to camp" these folks were upon us once again. They rode up on the other side of the road. Let it be known they were very nice, but as soon as that same horse & rider approached, Koda began to act up. He started to do "the jig & hunch" I asked "what are you doing" he stopped, but hunched again, with a little rear lift this time, to which I replied "knock it off" and then, he gave a larger hunch with a pony kick/lil buck ~ and I dismounted. It could have been a bug biting him, or his youthful self not knowing what to do with whatever energy/dislike the approaching horse brought. So odd...over the hours we were approached by other horse & riders, with nothing more then a glance from any of our four horses.

I found out after the fact the approaching horse had been doing circles (Brad & Nemo were watching) no doubt creating/dispersing energy. It may be unrelated, but it was odd the only trouble we had involved that horse. No excuse for silly behavior. That guy was a concerned rider, that stopped to ask if we were okay. I was, I had chosen to dismount. It caught Koda by surprise, he backed up a few steps and stopped. I've seen that face before. I let him know it was okay, not praise, but nothing to fear. We defused for a short while and I hopped back on, to end our ride on a good note. 

I will be curious to hear what our trainer says about our ride in general, and specifically about the last part...my instinct was "she's not going to be happy with either of us, I should have stayed on, Koda can't do that" but both Peggy & Chris said "Really? we think Patty would be proud of you". I think they are right. Regardless, I did what I had to do to feel right - and honestly, I was fine. They made me feel better, joking I did an obstacle and they didn't even get to watch. Gotta love it :)

Altho we missed sharing this ride "of firsts" with our Frainer (trainer/friend) Patty, we really had fun! Koda & I tried all the obstacles, with the exception of the rope gate. Too bad, that was one we had practiced. Peggy & Chris were great, we are thankful to have had the opportunity to be their buddies and look forward to future rides with these great gals! We plan on joining ACTHA in 2012, for more fun on the trail!!


fernvalley01 said...

Sounds like a great outing. And stepping off, was probably the best thing for you and Koda this time, a winning outcome, and no wreck!

Leah Fry said...

It does sound like a great outing. I'm all for whatever it takes to avoid drama or injury. Getting off is always an option. Good for you!

Jeni said...

Good for you for going and having a great time.

Aurora there is no shame in dismounting - remember that. I did it the other day trail riding.

Dreaming said...

It all sounds wonderful! I'm glad you went ahead, despite the hoops you jumped through. The 'first' of anything is tough for me, too.

juliette said...

Your ride sounds really great. The photos are amazing - it looks beautiful there. Glad everything worked out. You do wonder what kind of energy horses are giving off and why do some horses dislike certain others. Sounds like dismounting was the very thing to do because it worked out well for both of you.

Dreaming said...

Thanks for stopping by an commenting. I have to admit I agree with you. I love fall. I love the colors and the crisp mornings (OK, maybe below 32 is too crisp!) I love the first snowfall and the first honest-to-goodness blizzard. But you can take the rest of winter and shove it! I want the longer days and the promise of spring that comes on a warm breeze (not the gales that we have here) - OK maybe I'm being too picky!