Sunday, July 25, 2010

You've Come a Long Way, Baby!

Last weekend, the SWVA Natural Horsemanship Club hosted its annual Trail Competition. This was the second time that Guinness and I have participated in it together.

Last year, I was thrilled that we took 4th place out of 6 or so competitors in the "unmounted" division. (At age 2, he was the youngest horse there and the only one not yet under saddle.)

This year, I'm excited to announce that he won 2nd in the "mounted" division against 9 other teams! My L3/4 PNH friend, Alyssa, & her partner of 8 years, Delilah, won first place.

I have to thank Alyssa for her insights into both sideways game & directional backing (discussed in previous posts). They made it possible for Guinness & I to do as well as we did.

Here is this year's list of obstacles:
1. ground tie
2. walk in-hand then trot in-hand
3. join up & walk (no lead)
4. mount and be measured
5. sprinkler
6. rope gate
7. creek crossing #1
8. deadfall
9. 360 turn on tarp in box
10. back into stanchion
11. jump hay bales
12. weave cones
13. ground poles
14. bag drag
15. 3 gaits around roundbale
16. mailbox
17. back thru L (gate panels)
18. back thru 2 barrels, around 3rd barrel, back thru 2 barrels
19. large flag carry
20. creek crossing #2
21. back up steep incline
22. send onto trailer

Our two lowest scores were for turning a 360 & jumping the hay bales.

We had a very fun weekend and even stayed over the night before the competition, after helping to set up obstacles. Guinness met another Rocky, Lakota (age 5), and they became fast friends in the field - but surprisingly, didn't call to each other when with their humans.

We even cantered around quite a bit from place to place. Now that I know that Guinness isn't inclined to run off with me, I'm able to relax and enjoy it.

I can't wait until the trail classes at the Fair!

PS - Guinness had no right-brained moments, it was LB all the way.


Lisa said...

Rock on with your bad self!

Naturally Gaited said...

Thank you! I attribute almost all of his accelerated learning to a combo of his innate curiosity & high play drive, plus clicker training (with PNH providing the underlying structure of the training). I'm just trying to stay out of his way! ;-)


Lisa said...

I'm going to start with Cricket's CT next week. Since this week is going to be hectic, I'm just carving out small amounts of time to define my goals and do a little planning. Nothing like a solid LBI approach!

inchwormwv said...

Whoo Hoo! Way to go Clare! You are really showing passive persistence in the proper position. Thanks for setting a great example! I love that the top 2 were Parelli students :-)

strivingforsavvy said...

Awesome. What a great idea to have a natural horsemanship competitive trail ride. Maybe I'll try to put something like that together here. Was it only open to people that practice natural horsemanship?

Naturally Gaited said...

The Trail Competition is only open to members of the SWVA Natural Horsemanship Club, members of the Parelli Play Group of the Virginias, and a few invited guests. (This is partially due to the risks of hosting a public event on private land.) Combined, the groups have 50 or so members, but they are spread out over a wide distance.

Another event that we (the two groups) participate in is our local agricultural fair where we sponsor the two trail obstacle classes (mounted & unmounted). These are open to the public and provide a great opportunity to showcase NH to the local horse community. They are by far the most popular classes in the fair's horse show! :-)

Best wishes in getting a local event started!!