Friday, July 24, 2009

It's Been A Good Year

Monday morning Chris and I packed up camp and headed back to town. Megan and I had to switch gears and get loaded up to head to the SD State 4-H Show.

This year, Megan has really switched gears in the events she likes the most. In the past Showmanship and Horsemanship have always been favored events. Strawberry usually does very well in them. He's kind of an eye-catching, cute little horse and he certainly has presence in the show ring. Everything he has accomplished and everything he is capable of doing is because of the time and dedication Megan has invested into him.

But since she has also acquired the big blue roan horse, Rip as a speed event horse, her desire to just look pretty in the ring has wained. Don't get me wrong, the time invested in Showmanship and Horsemanship is tremendous and doing well in those events is an art. But we are all about exploring as many events as possible and Megan's interests have veered into events she finds more interesting at the moment.

I don't know which face was harder to resist...

This guy was walking around with two Aussie puppies...showing them off. He had the whole litter there for sale. Megan wanted this one. I really wanted the guy to take his puppies and go away. I'm not a huge dog fan. Love the two I got. But have no interest in any more. But even I was getting melted by the soft, cuddly ball of fluff.

The roanie ponies settled into their stalls nicely. Strawberry is used to such things. As far as I know, this is the first time Rip has ever experienced living in an actual stall... Once you have been around Rip for awhile, you get used to his size. But putting him in a 10x12 stall makes you realize all over again just how stinking big he is. But he handled it pretty well and didn't even stock up very much. Strawberry on the other had, stocks up every year and Megan has to spend about 30 minutes walking him every morning and has even had to resort to running cold water over his hind legs to get them back down to normal size. Very strange for a horse who is on grass hay and just a few bites of oats. But it has been good experience for Megan how to learn how to take care of such things and she is very dilligent.

The first morning of the show was absolutely beautiful and the temperatures were lovely and cool. So unusual for that time of year in east river SD. Usually it is hot and humid from the time the sun comes up and then just get's hotter throughout the day. The weather really made our trip most enjoyable this year. Especially since we camp onsite.

Megan warming Strawberry up for Western Showmanship...

Meg just wasn't in the Showmanship mood this year. All she could think about was her reining and trail classes. But mom and I rather insisted that she show in the Showmanship class at state, as that is one of the requirements to earn her year-end Hi-Point Showman buckle. I told her next year she doesn't have to do W. Showmanship at the county level. That way someone else will have a chance at winning the buckle. She was so uninterested in the class that she left her silver halter hanging on her bedroom door. Any other time, that halter would have been the first thing to go in the trailer. Apparently Strawberry has started associating that halter with "showtime" because he lacked his usual spark in the showmanship class without it. He did his maneuvers but both he and Megan looked rather bored. They earned a blue. Purples are the best and then you get to come back for a finals round where a Grand and Reserve Champion are named.


That was it for the first day. So Megan got to spend the rest of the day riding Rip and Strawberry and hanging out with her friends.


The next morning was time for the two events Megan was really excited for, reining and trail. She went out to warm Rip up, while I watched some of the Western Riding classes. Finally I wandered outside to see how she was doing. Just in time apparently, Megan had been watching some other kids warming up their reining horses and she had Rip ALL jacked up. He wasn't stopping correctly and everytime she tried to spin him, she had him backing out of the spin. Oh boy, was I mad.


So we had a little "back to basics", come-to-jesus meeting. Megan got her head right and Rip went back to doing things like he was supposed to.
She still looks a little POed huh...
Yea, well in this family MOMMA is the boss and you do what she says if you want to show. I have no problem with kids experiementing with different training techniques. Nor do I have a problem with my kid having fun on her horses. But there is a time for that and it is not right before your class. Anyway, Megan and Rip had a very respectable reining run and garnered a Purple. Out of 21 reiners there were only 4 Purples. We were all pretty esctatic. Her first year of reining and she jumps out there and purples. Way to go Megan!!!


I tell ya, this big, blue horse has been such a good guy for Megan. He was a chunky, ill-moving, clunker when she brought him to town a year and a half ago and she has turned him into an easy moving, athletic looking reining, barrel and pole horse. I think barrels will go by the wayside for Rip. He just doesn't have the top-end speed necessary to be competitive. But he did a fanstatic job of bringing Megan out of her qualms about running all out. She is completely comfortable asking a horse to run now. She will continue to finesse his reining maneuvers and work with him on the poles...maybe add Western Riding. Not all of the reining maneuvers are easy for Rip though. He is straight-shouldered and pigeon-toed. Spins are difficult for him to do correctly with any real speed. But he is so willing, that he is perfect for Megan to learn how to get a horse to spin correctly. His stops have the potential to win classes. Megan is learning how to ask for them and get the correct response. I think by next year, they could quite likely be contenders for State Champs in reining. No harm in aiming high right?

Meg didn't have much time to be really excited about getting a purple in reining, she had to get Strawberry saddled and warmed up for trail. Actually, I saddled, she took a breather and grabbed a snack. Then she went over to walk the pattern with the judge. As I watched her head out on Strawberry, I wasn't too confident she was going to get him warmed up in time. Strawberry was acting like he was on crack. Wow! Head up, tail up and screaming for his buddy. But Megan has been riding Strawberry for so long now, she knows what it take to get his brain right and she got the job done. They had a nice little trail run. A few bobbles here and there, but I thought a blue for sure....

Megan was happy to get through the pattern. There were 2 sets of raised poles, each set with the poles 24" apart and she wasn't sure Strawberry would navigate them very well. He did better than many of the other horses and only rolled the last pole out with the toe of his hind foot. Whew!! Oddly enough the other obstacle to give the other kids a hard time was the L. The horses had to trot over 3 poles into the L. Stop and then back through it. Walk out and lope off in the left lead. Pretty easy stuff really. But a lot of the horses struggled because the L was narrow and the kids were misjudging how far to back. I suspect because they were already IN the L. Strawberry bobbled a step, he wanted to step the wrong way, but he didn't hit any poles and Megan did a good job of correcting him and swinging his hips the other way.


When they called the class back in, I was visiting with another parent from my area. I really expected them to call Megan's name and say "blue", but when they called Purple, we were all whistling and clapping. Yay Megan!!! I knew she wasn't in the running for the Championship, but earning a purple in trail at state is hard to do. There is always like 50+ kids participating in that event.


So Megan did really well in the events she wanted to do well in. It has been a good year for her and her horses. There is only one more show for her this year and then her ponies can get a much needed pasture break and Meg can start working with some others.


12 comments:

cdncowgirl said...

Big congrats to Miss M!! I love camping on site, that's what Kimfer & I do at barrel finals.

Carroll Farm said...

Wow, that is just amazing!! Way to go Megan!!!

Sydney said...

Great job! See 4-H around here there isn't any kids with their own horses. Out of my 4-h kids I mentor I have had 3 in the past 5 years that I can remember that actually had their own horses :O

Kristen said...

congrats to Megan! Those horses are beautiful!

City girl turned Country Girl said...

Congrats to Megan!!! And to mommy for raising such a well disciplined girl!!! She works hard and it shows!!

Did you get the puppy?!?! We have 5 Aussie pups right now LOL!!!

Mikey said...

Good job Megan!! I always had a hard time with the L in trail. I always had to practice that at home. Tough to do!! You go girls!

Leah Fry said...

Yay Megan! I had to laugh when you said, "Pretty easy stuff really"" — didn't sound easy to me. I'm such a sucky rider.

Melanie said...

Way to go Meagan!!!!
I remeber my 4-H years like they were yesterday....
That's pretty cool that she can use two horses. Around here, you can only use one, with the exception of gaming. You can have a gaming horse and a performance horse, but they are not shown at the same time. Weird, huh???

Go purple!!!! :)

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Melanie-When we lived in AZ, you could use whatever horse you had turned in a "project" paper on. No restrictions on the number that I can remember. In SD, you can turn in ask many horse project papers as you want, but can only use two horses for the horse show and then you are required to use the same horses at state. Barring injury or death, then they will let you use a substitute horse.

They have seperated the rodeo and the horse project in 4-H now. As far as I know there is no project papers required to be turned in on rodeo horses and you can use however many horses you want.

We've always tried to have two horses prepared. Strawberry can't do the speed events, due to whatever happened to his stifle prior to us getting him(it pops and sometimes he drags a toe slightly). Megan tried when she first started using him, but it was obvious it bothered him...plus he is not terribly fast, even though he likes to pretend he is sometimes-LOL.
We have finally figured out Rip is not all that fast either. But he has worked out really well in the reining.;)

CGTCG-NO puppy! Gahhh-can't imagine spending $350 for a dog. I know people do, but I just can't bring myself to do that. Might let Megan have a "freebie"...hint, hint. LMAO(hope you know I am just kidding!)

BK said...

Hi there! Nice blog ya got, I wandered over from Horseshoing Housewife. You guy are doing what I want to do but since my family is NOT into horses at all (which is crazy since we live on a ranch) I'm on my own. I went to my first show this year and we STANK! But I have fun riding on the ranch so I guess my ole 16 year old horse will never make it to the winners ring ;) Oh, and where did you get your show blankets, did you win them? ALL the kids at the show had them... so naturally I WANT one! LOL jk

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

BK-I picked the black blanket with the tooled leathers up off of ebay. That has been a while ago, but it wasn't terribly expensive.
Thanks for stopping by!:)

BK said...

Oh, and I meant to mention we HAVE one of those adorable Aussie puppies! He's growing up fast but when he was a puppy he was SO CUTE! Now he's a teenager and he's kinda boring lol