all that really matters ~ 3rd in trail course series

A break from frigid WI weather came just in time for the January Trail Course Challenge! We arrived late morning, and instantly felt the high energy. For some reason the energy was much thicker then previous courses. Koda's ears were on high alert. We tried to get acclimated to the obstacles, and not get run over. The host just smiled "this is the horse show, without being at a horse show". We focused on learning the new trail course pattern, instead of whatever was in the air that day.

Arena doors were open, the cool breeze kept the green & gold streamers a float, at times not so gently. The course decor theme this month was based on our NFL team, the Packers. The last obstacle was too cute. The hosts daughter had decorated two Packer posters to use as goal posts. We were to end the course by scoring a goal!

Packer fun with horses

January Trail Course:
Start: Walk over Bridge
Walk into Box, 360 turn to Right, Walk out of Box
At cone, Lope Left Lead into Chute
Side-pass left and back out of Chute
Walk to Gate, Go through Gate, Left Hand Push
Jog to spiral poles, continue over, Stop at Cone 
Perform a 360 Spin to Left
Right Lead Lope, over Pole, around Cone, over another Pole and Stop at Cone
Walk to Ball, use horse to Push Ball through Goal Post
Exit at Walk

January Course
Snapshot of how our horses did:
Our trainer took one look inside the arena before joining us, then had Cierra burn off some excess energy outside in the round pen. It was a good call. Cierra handled everything so much better this time! When riding more then one horse, they justifiably keep the higher score and toss out the lower one. Cierra would have placed otherwise, with our trainer.

Cierra & Trainer on course, making the tight lope over
Nemo (L)

Nemo was his usual rockstar, and placed first with Brad and second with our trainer. He is being remembered as the "white appaloosa" and is in first place running for high point with his owner, the horse whisperer.

Koda & I were having a smooth run until we got to the spin, my demise!! Our spin has gotten so dysfunctional. I don't know how/if I'll ever be able to get it fixed, without paying someone to fix it for me. Sad, but true. I tried not to over think the technical aspects, something I am frequently guilty of, but we spun right out and into the cone marker. Oops! What a sloppy mess that was. We got scored way too low on two other completed obstacles. Our trot over may not have been perfect, but neither myself nor our trainer could figure out what was incorrect about our lope over. We may have been scored low simply because those two obstacles were pre/post to our big spin flopola. Makes me no difference. Koda listened to everything I asked, all that really matters.

Young horse overcoming ball fear, with help from judge 
Nemo & Brad (L)

After days of cajoling from my hubby, I failed at placing higher then him on the course. Sigh. I even had a string of backers, but nope. I can come up with a whole list of excuses. For example, both his horses are ridden by a trainer blah, blah, blah. Nemo isn't in training, but ends up getting little tune-ups by default. Whenever Brad rides Cierra, they flip-flop horses. Let's face reality, it's really because he is a natural. Hence the horse whisperer nickname he has earned from more people then myself. I'll never do anything horse related even half better then my husband. Not that it's remotely important. After the show he endured some return commentary from the funny farm. Now what are we gonna do?! Next month we could bet if I win he makes supper, and if I lose we go out for supper ;)

Overall, the numbers and those attending were pretty similar to previous months. About 16 different horses competed, 20-ish courses ridden, and a handful of horses joining in during practice. It was once again a great learning experience, with good challenges, conversations & fun!!

Koda's new friend

Link-backs to the Winter Fun Trail Course Series to date:

November Trail Course

December Trail Course

Edited: adding photos from the January Course, courtesy of High Pines

Pow-Wow during practice by the Packer Goals
Brad on Nemo & me on Koda

Practice Time
Cierra waiting to do lope-overs


C-ingspots said...

Looks like a great event! Good to hear from you again. So, you're a Packers fan huh? We are rooting for the Hawks, of course, as they are the closest team to home we have. And your team has had more than their fair share of winning...our turn! :)

aurora said...

I've been around blogger, just not saying much these days...no particular reason. The hosts do a nice job setting the trail course, there is always something fun & unusual. I'm not much of a football/sport fan, unless my kid was playing. The show was the day before the Packers lost, guess they didn't count our goals ;)

Grey Horse Matters said...

This sounds like such fun. It's a great experience for the horses and riders too. So nice to get out and do something in the winter months.

Don't worry about not being as good as the horse whisperer, it doesn't matter as long as you have fun. I used to get the same thing with my daughter, also the horse whisperer and perfect rider. My trainer once told me I'd never be as good as her. I said I don't care I'm a lot older and it doesn't matter to me.

aurora said...

Riding in this winter series has made such a big difference for us, in so many ways. My horse whisperer is my biggest supporter, as I'm sure your daughter was/is. Good for you for knowing better & seeing the big picture. Me too.

Sherry Sikstrom said...

I like the way you wager, sounds like you win either way!

aurora said...

Yep, a girls gotta win somehow!