RRP – of steers, galloping and jumping!

So those of you who have been following the journey of Howdy and I to the RRP know that we decided to try Working Ranch. That was a really fun journey and I learned a ton about the friendly and knowledgable people that do the sport in Iowa and now at the RRP I met people all over the country who do it. Howdy ended up being pretty ok at it. He had nice work like this in his Reining pattern:

We BOTH had fun in the steer work. If you ever get a shot at doing this, say yes!

We ended up 11th in Working Ranch on Thursday. Woot!

Friday was eventing day at RRP. We did our dressage test in the morning and his tension could have powered a small city in Iowa for a week, which, while an interesting concept from a global climate change perspective, was not overly appreciated by our dear judge, who gave us the score we deserved but was sweet about it, saying, “lovely type, give him time.” And look how cute he was when I told him he did fine after his halt at X.

Then it was a quick rest, water and hay snack at the stall for Howdy, and then a tack change into Xc gear. We did show jumping first and they encouraged riders to wear Xc gear to Showjumping because you went right from one to the other.

There was chaos in the warm up arena with rails flying everywhere and no flags on the jumps, so people were jumping them from either direction which was good fun in a bumper cars sort of way. But Howdy was as unfazed by this as he was completely overwhelmed by dressage. He warmed up like a rock star and jumped very well.

Showjumping was judged by last year’s winner, Cathy Weischoff (sp?) who was kind enough to write “nice lead change!” and “nice, brave, rideable” and “nice type” among some other good tips for improvement. I appreciate all of that, both the encouragement and the critiques. Cathy has always been a class act.

Then it was time to put on the Xc vest and super cool fox print-bunny-tail-ball-on-top-helmet cover that my friend Susan Brigham found for me on her trip to Scotland, and head over to the Xc course.

He warmed up beautifully and we were told we could head out on course. No countdown, no startbox, just pick up canter and go which took off a lot of pressure. Nice ūüĎć!

He jumped the first four fences in a nice rhythm and good form

There was a pretty substantial ditch which he took a tiny look at and popped right over and jumped the jump right after that to complete the half coffin. Then a downhill coop. He was jumping so well that I took the novice option there and for the rest of the course and he sailed them all, including the extra credit up bank out of water.

Following that we were to “show the gallop” and come back before the next fence and he did that really well.

Howdy’s score of 85 on Xc was the fifth highest of the 97 eventing horses. What a satisfying way to end the weekend!

If you are thinking about doing the RRP, let go of the handbrake, put the throttle down and do it. It is a great experience for horses and riders. The camaraderie is great. If you have questions about any aspect of it, I’d be happy help in any way I can.

Tomorrow’s blog: Better to ask forgiveness than permission: Helmet cam video of riding The Hollow at KHP.

Video of jumping phases

Working Ranch

IMG_0935Working Ranch competition was today at the RRP!  We were fifth to go.  He warmed up beautifully!  Our pattern was a mix of triumphs and a few moments of monumental tension.  His cattle work was pretty good Рwe got the boxing, the turning and the two circles done!  We ended up 11th!  Videos below.

Tomorrow is eventing!

Reining pattern:

Steer work:

We’re here and riding!

We were on the road to Kentucky early Tuesday morning!


The trip was nice and easy wth our new friends Jason and Deb Danley. ¬†Their daughter Megan is a 6′, 15 year old (nice!) who is showing a really cute grey mare, Abby. ¬†I’ll get a picture up for you ASAP. ¬†Howdy even drank water and ate some Purina Outlast on the road. ¬†Excellent!


We kept the horses at Crimson King Farm on Tuesday night so that they could stretch their legs in the bluegrass.  They were loving it!

Our rental house, Crimson King and the Horse Park are right next to each other!


We met Lauren Turner through my friend Bridget Bryson, who trains with her. ¬†Lauren won the Most Wanted Thoroughbred last year and is just sweet as the day is long. ¬†I told her about Howdy’s tension and she loaned us this acupuncture blanket that she won as one of the prizes for MWT. ¬†Howdy was loving it. ¬†Here he is enjoying it.


The below video starts with his hanging lower lip during acupuncture, as well as the slobber he is producing from bingeing on clover last night at Crimson King, LOL.  Jay also videoed some of our warm up in the covered arena.  Howdy was very tight, but settled down a bit and did some reasonable work.

Now we’re having lunch back at the house with the dogs! ¬†Back to the KHP in a few minutes to do a jump school in the jumper ring and maybe a little bit of a technical lesson with Russell Littlefield who is last year’s RRP Working Ranch winner!

Burwell practice

The day started early with riding Howdy in the Burwell rodeo arena. ¬†Peace and quiet and crisp air. ¬†He started out a little tight, but ended up pretty decent. ¬†We did a lot of cantering, which was what we needed. ¬†One could not characterize it as a “lope” yet, but it is getting a little slower anyway. ¬†Relaxed is in our future yet, however. ¬†LOL

After that we went for a little shopping trip to Dry Creek Western Wear which is a pretty nice store in Burwell:


Jay buying me a new shirt for RRP!

And here is the shirt:


Sometime during our shopping trip, I looked at potential curb bits for Howdy.  I was dubious moving him to a curb, and when I looked at the bits, it was a solid No.  Yikes, this looks like a wall of torture:


And this, I believe, is fencing material!


In the afternoon we fox hunted in the sand hills and I snapped a bunch of pictures. ¬†They are uploading to the cloud and I’ll post them later tonight when they get there.

Arriving in Burwell

A beautiful day for a drive, and in the passenger seat I was reading the anniversary edition of The Chronicle of the Horse and came across this image:


Yes, it has nothing to do with Howdy or the RRP, but what magnificence!  Look at how beautifully Dr. Klimke sits!  Look at the confidence in Ahlerich!  Huzzah!

On the way over we also listened to the “Wine and Questions” podcast put on by the organizers of the RRP where they literally drank wine like Kathy Lee and Hoda and answered questions from Facebook as they came in live, and also outlined details of the RRP. ¬†It was hilarious and informative. ¬†Loved it.

Meanwhile, Howdy and his companions, Bravado and Sammy, who will be hunting this weekend, traveled well. ¬†When we got here we gave them a leg stretcher in the paddock. ¬†Then I tacked up Howdy and rode him in the Burwell Rodeo arena. ¬†Burwell had gotten a lot of rain this week and even in the sandy soil, things were a bit wet, but not too deep anyway. ¬†We worked a lot on stop and stand tonight because he was a bit nervous in the new environment. ¬†It wasn’t terrifically impressive, but small progress was made, despite Sammy whinnying like a foal being weaned in the nearby paddock, even though he had Bravado with him. ¬†Sammy is 15. ¬†Goof. ¬†Howdy, to his great credit, did not answer him.


Howdy had on his new (borrowed) bridle, which is on loan from my working student, Aubrey, who happened to have a simple western bridle which is exactly that I was looking for.  In spirit it perfectly matches my saddle, in that it too is borrowed from a friend.  It takes a village to get this eventer girl geared up for Working Ranch.  Thank goodness for the kindness of friends!



Yes, it has been a month since I’ve posted, whoops, sorry. ¬†A lot has happened. ¬†So I’ll catch you up in bullet points and then we’ll move on to the details of the RRP next week! ¬†I am right excited. ¬†We might be having almost daily updates over the next two weeks, fair warning.

Since we have last chatted, Howdy:

  • went to the hunter pace at Catalpa Corner in mid-August and jumped everything, but acted kind of goofy and more tense than he should have
  • went to a xc schooling in Kansas City where he was VERY tense and jumped crooked and oddly (though it should be noted that he did jump everything).
  • inherited Betty’s lovely bridle, which he looks smashing in

Howdy Betty bridle

  • cut his left front pastern deep enough that he should have had stitches, but I found it too late for proper stitching, so I cleaned it out and treated and wrapped it every day for 3 weeks and, thank all that is good, it healed beautifully. ¬†He was never lame on it.
  • had a good eye checkup – stable again!
  • started ulcer medication
  • subsequent to ulcer medication, started being less tense under saddle
  • schooled xc in KC and was much better than last time
  • completed a one day event last weekend – dressage, showjumping and xc – and finished with no jump faults and in fourth place. ¬†Whoop!
  • changed his bit to a mylar snaffle with tongue relief, which he seems to like better than the french link

So, after that whirlwind of activity, we are looking forward to the RRP next week!  We actually leave for  Burwell, NE this week to foxhunt.


Bravado showing off his appreciable “standing like a boss at the check” skills

Howdy won’t be foxhunting, but will be going along so that I can work with him every day on his working ranch skills. ¬†I can’t think of a better setting to do it in than at the Burwell Rodeo grounds! ¬†All that history, and the footing is perfect.


Nebraska’s Big Rodeo Arena is going to become “Howdy’s Big Working Ranch Arena” this weekend.

They posted the reining pattern! ¬†It has rollbacks, flying lead changes and spins, oh my! ¬†My ride time for Working Ranch is 11:03 on Thursday 10/5. ¬†I am hearing rumors about a live feed on the internet, but I don’t have details yet. ¬†Will post them when I do.

The following day, Friday 10/6 we basically do a one day event.  The dressage test is considerably more sedate than the reining pattern.  It has um, walk, trot and canter.  Woot.  LOL

Then we go on to showjumping, followed nearly immediately, the schedule implies, by xc.

If the show was tomorrow, we’d do acceptably. ¬†Two weeks ago, I would not have said that because he was very uncomfortable with his ulcers, and thus acting like a goof, but the treatment appears to be working and things are looking up. ¬†The next week we’ll be putting the finishing touches on things. ¬†“Finishing touches” is a relative concept as we are talking about a horse who was racing on the track about a year ago, so we aren’t yet to the finer point of splitting frog hairs here, rather making things flow a little better. ¬†In Working Ranch at the RRP, you can ride in a snaffle or a curb, with a shank length limit of 4.5 inches. ¬†Right now he is going pretty well in his mylar snaffle, so I might not mess with that. ¬†The next week will be all about him allowing himself to be “willingly guided” as the reining horse rulebook says.

Regarding the eventing phase training, they’ll be on hold until after Working Ranch. ¬†He knows how to jump the bright poles and do banks, ditches and water and he won’t forget that if I change the topic for a week. ¬†And as far as dressage goes, reining done right is just western dressage, so no time wasted. ¬†The spins do not translate at all. ¬†Nope not one bit, and a rollback looks an awful lot to me like a refusal without a jump, but I’ll not mention that to Howdy. ¬†ūüėČ