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 👍!
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.