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Day 3 at LS Ranch

February 17, 2014

Today was a complete blast!  This was the 3rd and final day of the Ranch Versatility clinic.  The entire day was devoted to 4 classes – trail class, dry work, cow work and pattern work.  For the first class, we drew numbers to order the competitors randomly.  For this class, we had to follow a pattern that included transitions with walk/trot/canter/backup gaits.  The track wrapped around some round pens and had us maneuvering inside and outside of a large arena.  It probably took each contestant about 5 minutes to ride through the pattern and each transition and section was judged.  This was pretty fun!  I definitely want to set something like this up for my students.  Ricky and I were able to win this class.  He’s an excellent horse partner and very responsive to my requests for transitions.

The second class was the trail class.  Here, we were asked to show 6 of the trail obstacles we’d played with on day 1 and day 2.  My mount was great on everything except the drag.  Surprisingly, he’s not too crazy about feed bags being tied to ropes and chasing him around.  🙂  A few of the other obstacles we didn’t do as well, but that was only because I wasn’t exactly clear on the expectations.  My horse partner was superb and I take all the blame for any low scores.  I definitely don’t think we did as well in this class as we could have.

Dave and Matt keeping the score

Dave and Matt keeping the score

The third piece of the competition was dry work.  We had to ride a pattern showing lead changes (simple or flying) with concentric circles.  This one is especially fun because you’re challenged to lope for a long time, changing leads and varying your speed at the lope.  Ricky was again a superb partner for this.  We were able to get the high points in this class.

The last part was the actual cow work.  This was a tricky one because we were not being judged on stockmanship, but on horsemanship.  The judges wanted to see that we could maneuver our horses in a way to influence the balance point of the cow and not simply following the cow.  This one is tough because the cow could make or break your run.  We had to cause the cow to ride along 4 walls of the arena (it’s about a 200’x200′ arena).  The faster you were able to go while keeping the cow moving along the rail, the better your score would be.  Then, after the 4 walls were covered, you were to pen the cow in a round pen set up in the middle.  This meant using your horse’s zone 1 to cause the cow to turn into the pen opening.  Driving your cow into the pen from zone 5 would earn less points than driving the cow in from zone 1.  Our cow kept stopping along the rails and trying to turn the other way, which made it tough to get a good run down each rail.  Our penning was pretty good, though!

Ricky and I were the high point winners for the entire competition.  I was proud but mainly thankful to have such a good horse for the day and for the whole clinic.  He’s a hell of a horse.  He allowed me an opportunity to work on myself that I haven’t had in quite some time.  I’m typically developing the horse I’m on and it was a treat to be able to truly develop myself for a few days.

I got so much out of this day, but the biggest win for me was the ability to play with my own emotional fitness in a competitive environment.  I laughed a lot and had fun with it, but I struggled with nervousness before each performance.  My horse, thankfully, stayed on task in spite of my nerves.  It’s a challenge to lope around patterns or obstacles while a group of people watch.  I was able to play with forgetting about the audience and focusing on that moment with my horse.

Loping a section of the pattern

Loping a section of the pattern

If you’re a student of mine, get ready!  We are going to be having some fun with this over the spring and summer.  🙂

We finished late afternoon and I made sure Dave was ok with me going out with Ricky alone to play with some jumping.  Jody overhead that and offered to give me some coaching on western jumping.  Excellent!  We focused a lot on the approach and the follow-through, staying out of the horse’s way while flowing with the horse in the jump and figuring out a few good ways for me to weight myself and get deep in the saddle through the jump.  I used a night latch a few times but had more success putting one arm high in the air through the jump which pushed my butt into the saddle.  Super fun and I felt super successful.  Thank you, Jody!

Note:  When Jody and I got started, she reassessed the saddle position and moved the shims.  I felt way better with the new balance point of the saddle after the adjustment!  This definitely helped me with the jumping.

A great finish to a great 3-day clinic on Ranch Versatility at the LS Ranch.  Now, I’ve got 7 days of apprentice work with Dave and the other 2 working students on the ranch.  Time to hunker down and get serious.

More to come tomorrow…

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One Comment
  1. adriana oliveira permalink

    congrats tia. AWESOME!!!!!. Can’t not visualized all the things you had to do, i will have to come watch you with your more advanced students. Glad you are jumping, and feeling confident on your skills. Can’t wait to read some more tomorrow. everytime i read your blog i feel like going out and riding, not yet though, i have to be patient, but im not very good at.

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