Day four dawned bright and early. My friend "J" wasn't feeling well and planned on leaving early. Another friend, Kim, helped keep "J's" horse, Britches, occupied while "J" got packed up and ready to go. Terri and I got Beau and Renegade out for a bit to move around and work out any kinks. Renegade's L hind was a bit puffy but he was walking fine. After moving around a bit, the puffiness went away. I think it swelled since he's not used to standing in a stall; he's used to being out 24/7 except in really bad weather.
After walking Renegade for a while, I put him back in his stall and went to sign up for an online spotlight but the slots were already full. Liberty spotlights had spaces open, but based on our liberty tournament results, I felt we weren't quite ready for that, so I skipped the spotlights altogether and decided I'd watch some spotlights later in the day. I went to get breakfast then went back and got Renegade. I decided to try a little liberty in one of the two outdoor round pens and to my suprise, we did wonderfully. I got some nice trot circles in each direction plus some nice changes of direction. We also played stick to me at walk and trot and did some changes of direction too. Renegade was "with" me and I kept everything slow and soft to encourage him. He responded well to this strategy. I was looking for quality in everything we were doing and I feel like we got it!! Also played a bit with drive and draw during COD, trying to do as little as possible, as soft as possible, and rewarding the slightest try/feel from my horse. I didn't even notice at first but Jerry Williams had wandered up and sat down a little ways away and when I did notice him sitting there, I thought he was reading something.
When I finished my liberty session, I went to speak with Jerry. I wanted to thank him for everything he's taught me as a student, how patient he's been while I fumbled around the last couple of years (I'm sure there were times he would have liked to give me a phase 4 with a carrot stick lol!!!), and how he never "gave" me the answer but helped me find it for myself when I was having a problem. Jerry told me he'd caught some of our liberty play out of the corner of his eye, and he saw some really nice things happening for us during the session. Boy, was I happy to hear that...it was what I was feeling, but it was nice to hear from a professional!! Jerry also said he's noticed big changes in Renegade and I both, and in our relationship together. He noted Renegade has a new softness about him that he didn't have last year or the year before. While it's hard for me to see the changes because they're small and everyday, Jerry is gone all spring and summer, the changes are large to him. It's nice to be reminded of that!!
I wanted to watch some spotlights so I took Renegade back to his stall for a bit and watched some spotlights in between running back and forth to the campground to begin packing up to leave later in the afternoon. I'm glad I was present for the wrap-up with Pat and the demo by Kalley, Zeus, and the two Gypsy Vanner youngsters. It was a beautiful thing to see, Kalley flying around the arena on Zeus with the Gypsy Vanners on each side, at liberty, matching Zeus stride for stride. I got goose bumps and had tears in my eyes. I remember Kalley from tour stops years ago and knew then she had a special talent. Little did I know then the extent of her talent and what I would witness today. Kalley is a master horsewoman!! She's also quite the show woman...Pat better look out...I think Kalley could give him a run for the money!!
After the wrap up, since we had finished packing up the campground, we went to load all the horse gear from the barn. It didn't take long and we parked the trailer in the shade to go say all our goodbys before loading the horses and heading home. I didn't want to leave, but all good things must come to an end and besides, I'd been missing my other three horses all weekend (along with my husband, dogs, and cat - not necessairily in that order!!).
By the time I made it home, it was getting dark. Renegade was ready to rejoin his herd and it was so cute when we went to the pasture. Li"Bert"y, a.k.a. Bert, was whinnying excitedly to Renegade and then had to sniff him all over, very gently. I think he was happy to see Renegade!! America, a.k.a. Meri, had a look on her face that said "oh, no...the little trouble maker is bbbaaaccckkk!!". I made sure everyone was o.k. and gave them some O&A hay and said goodnight to everyone. It was time to say hello to my husband and the rest of my furry kids!!
As much as I enjoyed camping and being at the Rendezvous, I was happy to be home, have a nice, long, hot shower in my own bathroom, and sleep in my own bed!! A perfect ending to a perfect weekend!!
I'll post more tomorrow about afterthoughts, impressions, suggestions, ideas, etc.