Monday, December 13, 2010

Obstacle Challenges . . .

After many trail adventures, it was time to take Bucky to a few clinics to work on our skills. So October 24, we attended the first clinic at West River Stables . . . the first major obstacle, was keeping Bucky calm and focused in a ring full of horses!

There were about 15 horses at the clinic and Bucky was VERY well behaved and kept his cool as we practiced turn-on-the-haunches, turn-on-the-forehand and other skills needed to maneuver obstacles on the trail or in the show ring.

Jerilyn & Tana

We worked on backing up on an 'L' and also tricker obstacles like this horse-eater. A board on two barrels that you have to move on end attached to a rope while keeping the other end on the barrel. Jerilyn & Tana demonstrated this for us, Bucky got as far as moving the board, but we did no t complete the obstacle. It will take some time to get used to something attached to us moving!

Angie & Doc working the gate

We also practiced opening / closing a gate from horseback, a very useful skill and something we have also worked on at home. Overall Bucky is very good at this and let me latch / unlatch the gate patiently. I did get a big ole bruise on my knee at home though when we went through the gate without leaving room for my leg - ouch!

Then in December we attended the second obstacle clinic at Crystal Gait, and were able to use their gorgeous heated indoor arena. It was very nice to be in this ring while the wind howled outside and temperatures dropped!

Bucky adapted nicely to the indoor and was very good with the other horses in the ring. Sometimes I forget he is only 5 years old, having many adventures has definitely made him a more reliable mount.

There were a variety of obstacles to work on including this horse eating "teeter - totter" which Bucky thought was pretty scary. We did go over it (and leapt off) a few times, but ended with a positive experience. Bucky also LOVED the big ball to play with, herd and chase. I hope to someday introduce him to cattle work, which I suspect he would love.

We also got to do a mini "cowboy race" which was fun and Bucky was very good. Now it is time for him to have the winter off and get ready for more adventures next spring!