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Archive for the ‘Competitions’ Category

On Sunday I took Boomerang to his very first mounted shooting clinic. My mom and Blitz tagged along too – although they had been to one other shooting session before.

cowboy mounted shooting

The clinic was held in NJ by the Jersey Devils Mounted Shooters. We started off with a bit of gun safety and practiced firing from the ground at our balloon targets.

cowboy mounted shooting

Surprisingly I was a better shot from my pony than I was from the ground, ha!

cowboy mounted shooting

The guns we fired were fairly loud, so I wasn’t sure how Boomer would react. He’s pretty brave, but any horse would be scared if you fire a pistol from their back.

cowboy mounted shooting

To introduce our horses to the gunfire we rode around as a group while riders routinely shot off rounds into the air. The first few shots startled Boomer as I’m sure he wasn’t expecting it, but being in a group with the other horses that had all done this before – he was quickly put at ease. After a few laps around, and a few clicks and rewards from me, he seemed to hardly notice the gunfire anymore.

cowboy mounted shooting

Next we each took turns running through a pattern and firing at the balloons. In competition you are scored on speed and accuracy, and in my first run through I shot 8 out of the 10 balloons. I was really surprised Boomer hardly jumped at all – shooting next to the horse is much different than shooting into the air, because the sound is louder and they can see the gun out of the corner of their eye.

Below are two videos I put together of Boomer and Blitz running through the patterns:

Blitz is a little bit more of a nervous horse, but he improved greatly with each time he went.

It ended up being a really fun day and a great experience for both ponies. I don’t have plans to join the mounted shooting club (although I was really fun) but I did it as a way to introduce my pony (and myself) to something entirely new. All of the different things I do with my ponies are helping to make them better mounts. I think if the club wasn’t a two hour drive for me I might have considered joining, because it was fun to wield a pistol!

cowboy mounted shooting

And Boomerang was pretty proud of himself in the end, evident by his beaming smile!

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On Sunday I took Boomerang to a Judged Trail Competition at the Bucks County Horse Park. I’ve never been to one of these before but it sounded like fun. You ride a 4 mile long trail through the park and at certain check points you have to complete an obstacle. You are judged on your performance (and sometimes timed). Boomer was great, completing every one of the obstacles to the best of his ability. We encountered several obstacles that Boomer had never seen before, like a teeter-totter, dragging a boogie board through water, walking across a carpet in the grass, opening trash cans, playing mini golf, and a few others. I was able to film some of the obstacles – but I wish I had remembered to film all of them, I got caught up in all the fun we were having!

Here’s a short compilation of some of the stuff we encountered throughout the day:

We’re still waiting to hear the results, so hopefully we did well enough to place. But either way it was a fun experience and I hope we can make it out to another one soon.

Here’s a video of my mom and my sister’s mare, Jet, doing some of the obstacles:

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Last weekend we took the ponies to a mounted games competition in New Jersey. This is one of my favorite competitions of the year, because not only is it a short distance from our home base in PA, but it’s also an event that most of the riders camp at. I love camping, especially when I get to bring along the ponies AND the dog.

camping with ponies

We arrived just as it was getting dark and dropped two of the ponies (Blitz – who came along for the experience and more training, and Jet – my sister’s mare that my mom would be riding for the weekend) at the stables. We bedded their stalls and tucked them in for the night, all while Boomerang waited patiently on the trailer.

Then we drove Boomer up to the campsites where we set up his portable corral from Travel n’ Corrals. This was the first time I got a chance to use the corral at an overnight competition – and also the first time he had ever seen it. And did I mention it was dark by this point?

boomerang travel n corrals

We unloaded Boomer and put him in the corral while we set up the tent. He looked around for a second and went straight to eating his hay. I was pretty amazed at how he acted like everything was no big deal. His friends (who rode in the trailer with him) got dropped off somewhere else and now here he was up on the top of a hill next to a campsite, in a corral he had never seen, with not a single horse in sight…..just quietly munching his hay. Pretty cool pony.

boomerang travel n corrals

Well, he was pretty cool until about 1am when he ran out of hay. Ha. Should have known it would be too good to be true.

With his hay gone I think he looked around and realized “what the heck, where am I and what happened to my friends?” His ear piercing whinny woke me instantly. I think he would have eventually stopped calling too – had his big brother Blitz not heard him a mile away in the stables and called back. And yes, it was DEFINITELY Blitz – he has a VERY distinct whinny. Every hour or so they would call back and forth to each other – if I only knew what they were saying! At one point I even heard Boomerang lay down in his corral – yet continue to return Blitz’s calls. He wasn’t frantic, he didn’t try to escape (not that he could – these things are really well built) or do anything horrible – he was simply having a late night conversation with his big brother….on the other side of the facility!

boomerang travel n corrals

Hindsight, I probably should have set the corral up closer to the barns so that he could at least see another horse. But regardless of the fact that he stayed up all night talking I was still proud of how he handled the situation I put him in.

Not only was the corral a new thing for us at this competition, but it was also the first time I got to compete with my treeless saddle. I wish I had some pictures to share, but since my mom and I were both riding together we had no one with us to take pictures. If only somehow I could train the Dachshund to do it! Hummm. But, the saddle was awesome! No slipping, and both Boomerang and I were SUPER comfy in it. I even got to do some full out vaulting into it without any problems. I really wish I had gone treeless years sooner – I’ll never go back!

In between competition sessions my mom worked on training Blitz to tie (without his friends around). Blitz has progressed in leaps and bounds with all the training my mom has put into him, but he still has one major issue they are working on. His separation anxiety. He has a real problem leaving his friends and being alone.

This is what well behaved horses look like when they tie:

ponies tied to trailer

And this is what naughty Blitz looks like when he ties without his friends around:

ponies tied to trailer

Blitz spent a lot of time working on tieing in the woods by our campsite. It was very tough for him not to have his friends around – but my mom thinks she hopefully made some breakthroughs with him.

tieing ponies

With high-hopes of working even further on Blitz’s training on Day 2, we were instead hit with a nasty Thunderstorm on Saturday night. Camping proved to get a little wet – but atleast we were nice and toasty in the tent with our little heater named Ammo the Dachshund. Ammo is such a trooper, he’ll put up with pretty much anything – and any situation. Thunder & Lightning is no problem for this guy – I think he might sleep through a tornado if no one woke him!

ammo the dachshund

Sadly when we woke up the next day the competition had to be canceled. With no end in sight for the storms, they were forced to pin the divisions based on standings from the previous day. But we still came home with a second place finish!

ammo the dachshund second place

We packed up and headed home – only to be hit with one last road block just minutes from the farm. Luckily Peco was nearby and able to help us out before the ponies got too hot in the trailer. And next time I’m going to REALLY try to remember my rubber boots so I’m not stuck wearing soggy sneakers all weekend!

fallen tree

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Last month my mom took Blitz to his very first Mounted Shooting practice with the Jersey Devils Mounted Shooters Club. Neither my mom nor Blitz have done any type of mounted shooting – and Blitz is not the “bravest” pony – but they both survived! (And no one got shot!) It was a great learning experience for Blitz and I’m sure it really did a lot to help his confidence more.

Here is a video they shot – which has clips of my mom and Blitz in it…

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Last weekend we took Boomer and Blitz to an Extreme Cowboy Challenge about an hour from us at JC Cutting Horses. We had never been there before – and this is a different type event, not to be confused with Craig Cameron’s Extreme Cowboy RACE.

The Extreme Cowboy RACE is more a RACE, with emphasis on speed AND the horse’s willingness to maneuver obstacles. Extra points are given for above and beyond as well. The event we attended was a series put on by JC Cutting Horses, where they actually prefer you to do most obstacles very slowly. Scores are given based on the horse’s performance only – and how versatile they appear. You could also earn extra points for showing off extra maneuvers your horse might be able to do.

I had a little bit of a tough time remembering it wasn’t a race. Boomer is a RACING pony, so naturally our canter gaits are much faster than they probably should have been for this type of event. I also kept forgetting that unlike the Craig Cameron EXCR, you did not have a time limit to perform an obstacle.

I entered Boomer into the intermediate division and was looking forward to trying the open division and even the ranch riding division – which boasted roping a mechanical bull as well as more advanced maneuvers. Unfortunately we didn’t realize they didn’t have a food booth at this event, and by 2pm my mom and I were starving. So we opted to head home early – so we could get something to eat.

It ended up being a really fun day, and we met lots of nice people. I’m very much looking forward to coming back to their next one – and I’m dying to give the mechanical bull a try, I’ve even been practicing my roping.

I’m not sure what we ended up placing – as they only announce 1st & 2nd (the jackpot winners) – but we more went for the experience anyway. Even Blitz participated in the schooling session with my mom – I’m going to work on a short video of him soon, showing just how much progress he’s made in the past few months. His transformation is amazing and my mom has put so much effort into making him a nice pony.

Here’s a short video of the highlights of my ride with Boomer.

We’re hoping to pick some dates for the farm to have a gymkhana/extreme cowboy type event soon. We’ve been gathering some ideas with all the places we’ve been going to lately and can’t wait to host our own show at the farm!

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On Sunday we had a mounted games event at the farm. During these events we also like to add on a fun jackpot obstacle course for everyone. It’s great experience for the ponies & riders, and it’s fun to challenge yourself to try something new. Each time we have them the course gets bigger and better, and the riders that participate begin to grow. We’re hoping that this will turn into a popular event – as it really is a blast!

Here’s a quick video of Boomerang and I doing a run-through of the course before the show. We ended up making a few modifications, like taking out the “gate” which inevitably ended up being too much of a challenge. 🙂

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The winner of the 2011 Extreme Cowboy Race at the Horse World Expo was Wayne Yoder. He was actually the only rider to be undefeated the entire weekend too!

After the preliminary rides he was in first place, with me tailing right behind him by about 10 points. But after his amazing ride in the finals he jumped to a huge lead on his Stallion, Ornery.

Boomerang was fortunate enough to be stabled next to the winner in the barns, which meant I got to learn all about his “story”.

Wayne is a horse trainer from Ohio, where he trains between 12-14 horses a day with his business partner at Lonesome Hollow Stables. He works with problem horses, as well as starting young horses under saddle. When he’s not training horses his favorite thing to do is compete in Extreme Cowboy Races. Wayne said that at the Horse World Expo he was going on his 9th competition.

Wayne actually had his own rescue Stallion that he used to compete in the races, but a few months ago he died unexpectedly. He later discovered the horse had an abscess in his stomach, something that probably developed when he was malnourished years earlier.

Wayne’s friend Morgan, a horse chiropractor and masseuse, decided to offer him use of her Stallion, Ornery. The palomino stallion’s registered name was something like TC’s Golden Mist – but I can’t remember for sure, Morgan calls him Ornery or “Orn” for short. Orn’s story is also a rescue story as well. He was in a situation where his owner’s were not caring for or feeding him, the owner was forced to surrender their horses, and Morgan rescued the now 15 year old Stallion.

6 weeks ago Wayne started working with Orn, who’s previous experiences were mostly in trail riding. And this would be the stallion’s very first Extreme Cowboy Race.

I was immediately impressed with how quiet Orn was. He had never been around the applause and cheering (like most of the extreme cowboy race participants), yet when I saw the horse experience it for the first time – he was nearly unfazed.

Unfortunately I don’t have any videos of Wayne competing, but through most of his rides Orn was just as steady as ever. But what I was most impressed with was Wayne’s initiative to better himself and his horse through this competition. After the preliminary rounds, Wayne realized that there were some areas he could improve in with his horse while at the Expo. He set out and found a riding instructor that agreed to give him a jumping lesson after the expo closed for the day. So the night before the finals this cowboy attempted to learn the proper way to release his arms over the jump so as not to catch his horse in the mouth. And when I saw him take the big jump on Orn in his western saddle the day of the finals I was so happy for him.

Wayne, if you ever read this, I think you deserved this win! I know you were just as nervous as all of us, as we all huddled in the arena entrance breathing deeply. I wish you much success in your Extreme Cowboy Race endeavors, and I hope we meet up again soon!

Here’s an article I found on Wayne and his efforts to organize an Extreme Cowboy Race in his area.

Photos curtsy of Black Rock Photography.

Find out on monday what I did to better my horse and myself at the expo! I’ll give you a hint, it involved a lariat! 🙂

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