Saturday my sister and I attended an Arabian horse show. My Boy's former owner is working for an Arabian training barn. Unfortunately we did not get to see her show (or win champion in her futurity class, on a client's horse!) but we did get to meet this little mare:
Then, the little mare was pinned grand champion in this class! That was exciting. Even more amazing is that we heard the story that her rider had suffered some injuries from a different horse at the Arabian show in Salem, Oregon. I guess her horse spooked and kicked her in the stomach (both hooves, full-barrel) and she sustained some injuries. So to be back in the saddle and win this class eleven weeks later was quite a feat.
This half-Arabian buckskin pinto reining horse had an amazing mane and quick spins and stops.
Here is another one of the Arabians from the stable My Boy's former owner works for, right before she was pinned top five for her hunter class. Isn't she pretty? That is a perfect white blaze.
We picked a good day to watch a show, as we got to see a variety of classes.
My night out with the girlfriends was fun. I did, however, begin to learn two country dances: the two-step and the cowboy cha-cha. Goodness, I felt like I had two left feet. I have done a lot of swing and ball-room dancing in the past, but it has been many years! However, the Wrangler-clad 60-year old dress-up cowboy wannabes that danced with us were very polite and helpful.
Yesterday, I attended a certified Parelli instructor clinic, level 3. I wanted to watch and see what every day riders were capable of doing at this level, since I have really only seen the Parelli's work at the Redmond Oregon tour stop.
There were five riders and a handful of auditors. When I arrived they were working on groundwork. Of course, this loud colored 14 year old Appy mare caught my eye. She has Secretariat breeding.
Here the instructor is demonstrating a task for the handlers to practice with their horses. You circle your horse at the trot, turn them towards you (keeping them trotting) and send them around the other way without breaking gait. Of course, in Parelli, this game has some name, but I can't remember it. He is using one of his own two horses here.
After lunch, the riders saddled up and worked in the arena. They rode a variety of patterns, working on circling their horses around a barrel at the trot, and then once betwee the barrel and the rail, slight bending and moving the horses hindquarter's the same direction as their nose was pointed (similar to side passing, except most people keep their horses nose pointed in the opposite direction they want their horse to go.) This exercise was really forcing the riders to get their horse's hindquarters over, using their seats, legs, and ribcage. Then, they worked on a drop-to-trot lead change pattern, as a precursor to flying lead changes. Later, they rode this same pattern without reins, using two carrot sticks, seat, and legs to direct their horses (all of the horses here were level three so they could be ridden without bridles.)
I was impressed with this clinician's style and manner. He was cowboy "tough" enough, pushed the rider's fairly gently, and used common sense and logic. I like how he had the riders ask question and share what they learned after each session. He really spoke to horses learning things from consistent patterns, and how to use the release. Really, he said rider's are the ones that need to be changed and most of the time we are releasing and rewarding the responses we do not want. Everyone at the clinic was friendly and one woman even loaned me one of her Parelli Savvy club DVDs to watch. She also knows of a group that meets to watch videos and talk and eat and drink wine. A kind of natural horsemanship support and networking group (like a book club?) So who knows, I might check that out.
Overall, my weekend involved a lot of driving, sunshine, dust, horses, and most importantly- learning! To me, it was nearly a perfect weekend. Just missing perfection in that I didn't get to spend enough time with My Boy. But I'm going to make that up to him today. We're hitting the arena and we're goin' to work!