SATURDAY, October 22, 2010
Day three started early although I did sleep in a bit; I had trouble getting to sleep the night before thinking about the day and how to best get and keep Renegade's attention. Bless my friends that fed and watered Renegade so I could sleep a little longer!! I really wanted to try a tournament or two and a spotlight or two, so after coffee and breakfast, I went to sign up. The online spotlights and tournaments were already full so I signed up for a liberty tournament and a freestyle spotlight. After signing up, I went to the barn to get Renegade.
Imagine my suprise when he met me at the gate, nickering happily. I haltered and saddled him and we went out to mosey a bit, look around, then warm up online. Renegade was really connected to me online so we did a bit of liberty in the round pen. That went o.k. but not spectacular so I figured we were in trouble for our liberty tournament and I was right!! I didn't know the only thing we could use the round pen for was the circles, everything else was OUTSIDE the round pen!! Had I know that beforehand, I probably wouldn't have signed up for it, but since I did, we went to do it. I started in the round pen and our circles were great so I thought I might get lucky with the rest outside the pen. Well, it wasn't meant to be...Renegade left me twice! He didn't go to the far end of the arena but I had to play the catching game to get him back. I know he was playing with me because he came back at the trot!! I decided not to push it after that and our three minutes were up so I stopped there rather than take the extra 20 seconds.
I went back to playing online with Renegade a bit and it went well so I decided to mount up and ride around. I happened upon the gaits and distances tournament and no one was waiting to do it so I gave it a go. Renegade and I did it at a fast walk and our time was 3:36; the big QH ahead of us did it at a fast walk in 3:33. I think our time was pretty good for my little pony boy!! The nicest thing is the second half of the pattern we rode off feel and focus, NO REINS!!
By the time we were done there it was time for our freestyle spotlight so off we went to the arena. I had hoped to do an online spotlight to introduce Renegade to the arena environment with all the noise, music, people in the stands, clapping, etc. but didn't get to do that since they were all full. The best I could do is have him near the gate while the last of the liberty spotlights finished up.
I'm very grateful my friend, Tinker, was with me. Her humor and conversation helped me get my mind settled and my butterflies in formation. She also held all my extra stuff, like my lead rope and carrot stick, etc. I was suddenly feeling like I just had too much stuff to manage. Bless Tink for being there to help me!!
Before we went on, I was asked if we had music we wanted to use. I didn't know we could do that and it wasn't listed in any of the applications, etc. so I asked them to play something by Josh Groban and something country and western. They chose "My Confession" by Josh Groban and "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw. I couldn't have picked better music for us; I love both of those songs and the tempo was good.
When it was time for us to enter the arena and they opened the gate, I felt like I was on a barrel pony. Renegade was a bit excited and I thought we could run a barrel pattern in 17 flat lol!! I flexed him a couple of times and disengaged his hq a couple of times and he got focused and we entered the arena. I had decided to stick to patterns we know and can do well so I started with FTR at a walk. Renegade did well but had a couple of bobbles where there were alot of people in the stands and about 1/2 way down the arena were there were some gates with a screen on them; he wasn't too sure about them. I think he's seen too many gladiator movies and thought the lions were going to come out of those gates lol!!! After a couple of passes, he was fine with them so I asked for a trot FTR. His trot was a mix of relaxation and a bit of tension in a few spots (same ones that were problems at the walk), but after a couple of passes he was much more relaxed.
There were some cones set up in the arena so we did a weave at the walk up, back, and up again then went to push the big green ball. We did that at a fast walk and Renegade pushed it for quite a distance. I asked Renegade to walk over a tarp and he spooked in place a bit when the dirt made a funny sound going onto the tarp. I asked him to try again and when he put a foot on the tarp, I left it for a little bit. When we came back to it to ride over it Renegade did great; went straight over it.
I had thought if everything went well and Renegade felt really relaxed, I might try a canter FTR but while he felt relaxed, I felt if I asked for the canter it might just be too much for him so rather than sacrifice everything that went to well, I quit while I was ahead. I'm getting smarter that way...sometimes, no...make that most times...less is more!!
I had asked when we entered the arena if everyone could hold their applause til the end since I didn't know how Renegade would handle it. When we finished, I got off and when the applause started, Renegade didn't even flinch. He stood quietly near me while I collected our ribbon and he was loose, I didn't have a hold on him. I was trusting him to stay and he did!!
Even better than getting our ribbon was the complement Dave Ellis gave us when he said "he's a nice little pony"!! I was over the moon right about then!! When we exited the arena, Tink was there and so were my friends Ingrid and Bob. Ingrid and Bob hugged us and congratulated us, Tink had tears in her eyes and that made me tear up too. It was emotional for me because I realized just how much my horse had just given me in that arena. It may not have looked like alot to an observer, but knowing where we started from, he had just given me 310%. Renegade was also yawning like crazy while we were standing there so I know he was a bit "up" in the arena. That also told me I did the right thing by not asking for the canter in our spotlight. We stretched ourselves without overwhelming ourselves and that is a HUGE success!!
Of course, we had to go show off our ribbon and Liane got some nice shots of Renegade with the ribbon on his halter!! I took Renegade back to the barn with the intention of unsaddling him then having some mosey and undemanding time but he wanted back in his stall. I think he was tired both emotionally and physically and was ready to just rest. Besides, it was past his normal afternoon nap time!! I figured it was just as well since it was about 2:30 and I was hungry...I hadn't had anything to eat since an early breakfast.
I gave Renegade some hay and molassas water and I went back to the campground to have a snack and decided to celebrate with a beer!! After hanging with my friends for a bit, having a snack, and drinking my beer, we decided to watch a couple of spotlights then get ready for dinner out with Jerry and Bonnie Williams and members of our Jingle Group. I think I'll cover dinner out in another post since this one is getting pretty long!!